Can You Still Close on a House During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Posted by Ben Nicolas on Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 at 4:44pm.

As states begin the slow process of reopening, there remains plenty of uncertainty about how to approach the process of buying and selling homes. 

After all, the coronavirus has impacted every industry in the U.S., and that includes the real estate industry. This is why many homebuyers have wondered whether it’s even possible to still close on a house during the coronavirus pandemic.  

The good news is that you absolutely can—you just need to be a bit more flexible and prepared than perhaps you would be during normal times. 

Here’s what you need to know.

You’ll want to get a coronavirus addendum in your contract

One of the most critical home buyer precautions to take if you’re closing on a house during the pandemic is the need to protect yourself in case of a COVID-19-related event that keeps you from closing when you’re supposed to. 

That event could be related to quarantine, travel restrictions, a COVID-19 illness in yourself or in a family member whom you need to care for, or something economic, like job loss or a cut in hours due to the pandemic’s economic effects. 

The addendum offers contingencies for these, as well as for delays due to the virus related to home inspections, appraisals, or title companies. It also provides for a return of the buyer’s deposit should it become impossible to close due to a virus-related event. 

Talk to your title company about social distancing during the actual closing

A typical closing—in the pre-pandemic world—generally involves as many as seven or eight people in one room to sign the closing papers. 

During COVID-19, that’s obviously no longer possible. In some states, it’s possible to sign everything electronically, which makes it easy to close on your home without worrying about social distancing. 

If your state requires in-person signatures, however, you’ll need to call your title company to ask them what kind of precautions they’re taking—disinfecting their offices, limiting the number of people in the room, providing for the proper distance between each person, etc. 

You may also want to ask whether they’re requiring clients to wear masks.

Decide when and how you want to move

A final consideration when closing on a house during the coronavirus pandemic is moving. Will you be doing a DIY move? Hiring a moving company? You’ll have to check whether moving companies are open and taking clients in your area. If they are, you may need to book them farther in advance than usual, as there’s a good chance they’ve got fewer workers than normal. 

If you’re moving into a condominium complex, it’s a good idea to ensure they’re allowing people to move in when you’re planning to move. Some complexes have limited move-ins and move-outs due to concerns about new owners bringing the coronavirus in with them. 

Closing on a house during a pandemic will certainly require some flexibility on your end, but by taking the right precautions and working with a great real estate agent, you’ll have the keys to your new home before you know it! 

Since there's nothing stopping you from closing on a house during this time, let's get to work on finding your new home! You can email us or gives us a call at (323) 412-9060. 

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