Selling Your Home in the Age of Covid-19
Updated: Apr 19, 2020
Can you sell your home in todays Market? Of course you can. Many sellers have put a hold on their plans to sell due to the uncertainty created by Covid-19 and Governor Cuomo's halt to non-essential businesses. This is certainly the appropriate course of action, but are transactions still happening? Absolutely. The most beautiful quality about New York is it's ability to constantly reinvent itself. The same goes for the real estate industry. The challenges created have triggered us to get creative and offer our clients innovative solutions.
Carefully choreographed video tours, 3D walk-throughs, architectural cross sections, zoom meetings and face-time calls are the new norm. If your home is already on the market, sit tight. People are home and on their devices more than ever right now. You may be getting less 'showings' but trust me, buyers are still looking at your property & saves are going up. We have been in a market where more than one showing is expected. Virtual showings are the first step in the door and the foundation for a potential sale.
Once you have an offer, we can guide you to closing. Our recommended attorneys are still working around the clock to get deals done virtually. Each scenario is different depending on if you are selling a condo, coop, or townhouse. Most management companies have their offices closed and are working remotely. This slows down the process but a buyer's attorney can still obtain the financials and offering plan. Typically they will need to review the meeting minutes in person but management companies are being more flexible given the circumstances.
The managing agent can complete the questionnaire remotely and move the deal forward. It is most important to assure that the building is in good standing with no red flags. This is why it is critical to have an agent that is as knowledgeable and transparent with the buyer from the get-go, eliminating the possibility of any surprises. You should be smooth sailing to
a signed contract as long as there aren't any hidden assessments, maintenance increases or building-wide projects that break the budget.
If the purchase involves financing, the next step has evolved in the age of Covid-19. Once the loan docs are completed you still have to get the bank to confirm to value of the property through an appraisal. Lenders are using alternative methods, most commonly "drive-by” or “desktop” appraisals that don’t require a physical inspection. Another method is the “curbside” appraisal, in which the homeowner virtually shows the property to an appraiser through tools such as FaceTime. The state is permitting some forms of virtual notarization to prove that key bank documents were signed.
Thankfully most buildings in New York have adopted 'Board Packager', a secure digital platform designed to complete, assemble, sign and submit board packages for purchase.
This makes it easy for a buyer to get to the next step, an interview with the board. Unlike old times where the buyer meets members of the board in an apartment or common space, board interviews are now being done on Zoom or Skype. It has changed the whole dynamic but we are still getting board approvals.
Lastly, once all parties are satisfied and ready to close the bank attorneys exercise their power of attorney, bank wires are arranged and the closing is done remotely. This is also a time where Zoom or Skype meetings replace the conference room meeting with the managing agent. To conclude, there are certainly new obstacles that have surfaced due to the pandemic but they are manageable to overcome as long as you are prepared digitally. With the right agent and attorney by your side anything is possible. Please reach out if you have any questions about selling your home in this market.