Is it Safe to Shop for a Home Right Now?
Up until the middle of March, there were numerous questions facing prospective buyers. Each open house or private viewing required those searching for a home to ask whether or not the square footage was acceptable, whether the proximity or distance from schools was desirable, if the back yard was big enough, drained well enough, received enough sunlight, if the basement was finished, if there were cracks in the foundation, if the windows/roof/water heater needed replacing. Each of these questions propelled those looking to purchase a home into lengthy conversations, debates, and, hopefully, the selection of the house that would fulfill their needs in the best possible way.
Again, this was up until around a month ago when suddenly, the COVID-19 pandemic ripped its way across the world, sowing fear and confusion everywhere it touched. Now, while the above questions haven’t vanished from the home-buying conversation, they have all been superseded by another one.
Is it safe to shop for a home right now?
We would be remiss if we came out right off the bat with a resounding YES, but a NO is similarly misleading. What we want to do today is simply provide you with two things. The first is a short back-and-forth of pros and cons to contemporary home-purchasing. The second is the validation that the question is an important one, absolutely worth making.
The biggest fear right now is that contact with others, even surfaces touched by others, will lead to exposure to COVID-19. As we watch the steady rise in cases, it is impossible to say that this concern is unwarranted. While open houses have largely vanished, private showings are still available in specific cases. Certainly the number of people walking through a space is now limited, but, as shelter-in-place orders have made abundantly clear, leaving the home for anything and going anywhere means putting yourself in potential risk.
As a result of the dwindling appeal of appearing in person, more and more real estate agencies are providing in-depth 3D virtual tours of the homes they are working to sell. This means that you can still search through a house, look through the rooms, examine measurements, and get a fairly good feel for a space without ever stepping foot out of your home. While this doesn’t completely replace the benefits of an in-person look, it does provide prospective buyers with additional insight into the home without any of the exposure risks.
We hope that this cursory glimpse into the current state of home-shopping will provide you with helpful information you can use in your own home search. Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not your home search should continue during this time is up to you.
And remember, if you do decide to go in-person to see a home, follow the safety guidelines set by the CDC (masks and social distancing), and don’t go if you are feeling at all unwell. The health of us all rests in all of our hands.