Can You Buy or Sell Real Estate During the Covid-19 Pandemic?
The pandemic may be slowing the real estate market, but it hasn’t ground it to a complete halt. The short answer is you may absolutely buy or sell a property at this time.
The question is whether it will be advantageous to do so, and how you can protect yourself while you do.
Closings and showings must be virtual.
This means sellers are limited to marketing properties via Zoom or Skype, and buyers are limited to seeing them via these venues, or via 360 degree property tours. This can mean it will be difficult to spot hidden issues that you’d see clear as day in person.
If you’re a buyer, it’s important to be aware of this extra element of risk, and to account for it.
The market is under the weather.
If you’re a seller you might want to wait until later, because opportunity buyers who are looking for a big bargain are the most common buyers right now. Most buyers are staying put.
If you’re a buyer you should only buy if you know the pandemic will leave you financially stable enough to make the deal a good one. We’re only just becoming clear on the ways the real estate market is going to be impacted as this crisis continues to unfold.
You can still get an appraisal or an inspection.
Appraisers and inspectors are considered “essential workers.” Since you won’t be able to view the property in person before you buy it they’re especially essential to you. They can find all the issues you might not spot on that Zoom tour.
Do not skimp on using either one of these professionals, even if you are paying in cash.
Deals may stall or fall through.
If you are going to try to conduct real estate transactions right now it’s important to be resilient. For example, if you’re a seller who is dealing with a buyer who needs financing then it’s highly likely that financing could fall through.
Banks are likely to be extra careful right now. You can expect last-minute checks on financials, especially in a climate where they might be frozen out of foreclosure or on collecting on mortgages as the crisis worsens.
Both buyers and sellers should make sure they have strong contingencies in their real estate contract. Protecting yourself in the event that the deal goes sour is going to be paramount.
Consult with a Real Estate Attorney
It’s more important than ever to consult with a real estate attorney. The Law Office of Sami Perez is working remotely right now. If you’d like a consultation, call (516) 216-5060.