Covid-19 has impacted the way every aspect of our lives has operated to some degree. It has affected the way people buy and sell houses in several ways. But now that businesses are reopening, we’re starting to get an idea of what the new normal for doing business in the “new normal” is going to look like. Surprisingly enough, not all of the adjustments we made during lockdown are going to get put aside and that’s a good thing.
General Real Estate Protocols
Because we’re real estate lawyers we rely heavily on the State Bar of Georgia’s Covid-19 updates to comply with the mandated protocols. But from what we’ve seen there are more than a few things that will be staying long term we suspect.
- Getting sellers to disclose restrictions and preferences they have before the listing goes up and people are ready to look.
- Encouraging buyers and sellers to disclose when they’ve been exposed to Covid-19 and making adjustments to schedules to ensure everyone’s safety
- Some realtors have made letters of pre-qualification mandatory before going on showings
- Being selective of in-person showings and using photos and virtual tours more heavily to eliminate more houses before going on in-person showings and tours.
- In that same vein, being more thorough with your listing photography and encouraging more sellers to invest the time creating the virtual tour.
There are a few smaller things that will definitely vary from situation to situation like having the homeowners open the interior doors and cabinets for the showings. Having the owner/resident turn the lights on before leaving was another helpful change during the first showings after lockdown. Things like that you can reasonably expect to continue.
Closing Specific Protocols
The biggest takeaway is that now remote closings over Zoom or other real-time audio visual communication technology (“AVCT”) are a consistently viable option. Even as we move away from totally virtual, it’s still good to have the option available. If you’re preparing for a virtual closing we went over the best practices and advice on how to prepare in a blog post from earlier this year. The long of the short of it is to make sure you have all the paperwork in order and a good and stable internet connection. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re familiar with the program you’re going to be using before the last minute.
Virtual closings are just as safe and legal as one done in person. In person ones are happening more and more frequently with social distance rules in place depending on the place closing is happening at. Asking questions of your realtor and closing agent is the best option for ensuring that you have a smooth, safe, and legal closing on your home.
Ready to close on your new house?
Closing can be a complicated and nerve wracking process under the best conditions, during a pandemic it is even worse. We are experts in the field of Georgia Real Estate Law. If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate and give us a call! At Frank B. Pallotta Law we are licensed Real Estate Lawyers with 20 years of experience helping our clients in Georgia navigate the closing process. Reach out to us with your questions. We’re demystifying the closing process one question at a time.