With the coronavirus now a full-blown pandemic, many businesses and even major companies have turned to remote work in order to keep everyone safe and healthy. While the nature of their business might allow this to be a viable option, how about those whose businesses do not? One, in particular, is Real Estate. While much of the transaction coordination and other tasks can be done virtually, there are key steps in the process that may prove difficult not to do in person such as showings, open houses, etc. The good news is that there are ways to get this done remotely and doing so is not so completely foreign.
Selling and closing remotely is not a newfangled idea by any means. Many home sellers and buyers have successfully finished transactions remotely for many reasons. Closing could be from your home in another state, a hotel lobby if you’re traveling, a coffee shop, really anywhere…
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In guidelines issued by the National Association of Realtors, agents have been encouraged to propose alternative marketing opportunities for their sellers’ consideration such as video tours and other methods to virtual tour a property. This isn’t really new is it? All your properties for sale are already online anyway, so now all you have to do is find a way to make your marketing and advertising more interesting and most importantly, more detailed.
There are many new methods, programs, and other tools that have come into the market recently and now might be the perfect time to test them out. Instead of your traditional virtual tour or photo gallery, you might consider looking into 3D walkthroughs or even hosting live video streams instead of an open house where you go through a home for sale, sending invitations out online before you do it. You can have your virtual assistant or someone on your team moderate the live video where you can address specific questions and accommodate requests to see specific areas or features of the home. The best part is that you can have the video up for people to watch later and you can continue to engage with any additional questions or comments that come in even after the live stream.
Closing remotely can be really easy if you plan ahead and make sure that you accommodate for the time it may take for any documents that need to be mailed over and the like and that all parties that need to be informed are aware that you are using this route.
Angie Spangler, a Realtor from Fort Collins CO, recommends the following steps:
-Find out from the title company if they have an office in proximity to the buyers/sellers. If they don’t, the closing paperwork must be taken to a notary to sign. The buyer/seller will want to review the closing paperwork prior to signing with a notary. It is a good idea to schedule a time to review the documents with the Realtor to answer any questions prior to signing.
– The buyer/seller needs to confirm with the title company how they will deliver the closing documents. Will they send them to the buyer’s home or office via FedEx? Email everything? Emailing the documents can be an easy and quick process, but this also takes a lot of printing. After the buyer has signed the documents they cannot be scanned and emailed back because the title company must have a “wet signature”, meaning the original signature with a pen rather than one that is copied or scanned.
– Make sure to clarify deadlines of when the title company needs the documents returned to them, what time the local FedEx overnight drop-off times are and if the buyer/seller is in a remote location (Alaska) accounts for possible delays in shipping.
– It’s a good rule of thumb to sign the closing documents and overnight them back to the title company 1 business day early to allow for any delays. For example, once the date of closing is confirmed with the title company and they need the documents by (Monday) May 23rd, notarize and overnight the documents back on the (Thursday) May 19th so they arrive at the title company on (Friday) May 20th.
– In the process of coordinating the mail out, the wire transfer to the title company must also be scheduled! Each title company is different and they will provide instructions on how to wire funds. Following these instructions is very important to ensure a safe and successful transfer.
Requirements are different state by state. Always confirm with the title company or attorney in regards to specific requirements when closing remotely. Some states allow closings via facsimiles while others do not. To avoid confusion, mistakes, and any problems the buyer/seller must do their research; know what it is expected of them and all parties involved from the very beginning.
If you MUST physically show a home or take a buyer to visit a property NAR reminds you to be mindful of the following precautions set by the CDC:
The CDC urges individuals to take these measures to protect themselves and others:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Practice social distancing by staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
- Stay home if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or any other cold or flu-like symptom.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
Additionally, to help prevent the continued spread of coronavirus, on March 15, 2020, the CDC recommended that for the next 8 weeks, all in-person events consisting of 50 or more people, such as conferences and assemblies, be canceled, postponed, or modified to virtual events On March 16, 2020, President Trump announced new guidelines, advising that individuals avoid groups of more than 10 people for the next 15 days. Avoiding these in-person gatherings is an effective measure that will reduce your risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus.
When an infectious disease, such as coronavirus, is associated with a specific population or nationality, fear and anxiety may lead to social stigma and potential discrimination. REALTORS® must be mindful of their obligations under the Fair Housing Act, and be sure not to discriminate against any particular segment of the population. While the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, that does not provide a basis for treating Chinese persons or persons of Asian descent differently.
Lastly, suddenly taking all your responsibilities online can be a challenge. This may be the perfect time for you to hire a Virtual Assistant to help you manage all your responsibilities. The best part is, they already work remotely and can help ease you into the new norm we all have to adapt to. Make sure to book a GoRemote with MyOutDesk Virtual Assistants Strategy Session with us today. Stay safe and healthy!