Buying A House In Nevada w/ Social Distancing Changes
The New Normal
Buying a home right now has to be different than it used to be. Because people will always have to move, we as Realtors have had to adapt. There are ways to buy a home during these days of social distancing and a pandemic. Creativity and service are what we offer to our clients- we take this seriously. Our goal is to keep you safe!
Things start the same as they always have. You still choose a Realtor however, you’ll want one who has a social distancing standard practice. Next, you talk to a lender unless you’re paying cash. You don’t have to physically ever meet with a home lender.
After you know what price range you want to stay within, it’s time to go shopping online. Always search for homes on a Realtor’s site if you’re a serious buyer. At this point, accuracy makes a big difference. Because there are sites that inflate the results of available properties, you’ll want to steer clear of them.
The reason to search for a home on a Realtor’s site is that companies like Zillow and Trulia are in the “lead selling business.” They sell leads from available and pending sale properties to Realtors, so they don’t remove homes until the sale is final. About 1/3 of the homes on their sites are not for sale anymore. While they might be first with search engines, if you’re looking to move shortly, you’re wasting time by looking at their listings.
If you are looking in Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada, use our website, www.HomesForSale.Vegas and save your favorites in a private box. After researching by reading information sheets, viewing videos, and floor plans, select as few homes as possible to investigate further.
The biggest change we’ve seen this summer is the number of virtual tours posted online. In the old days, Realtors would take pictures and put them in motion. Currently, we see all prices of homes with a professionally photographed home tour.
The most popular tours are Interactive ones. These vary a little, but in general, you can put your mouse on a spot in the video that’s either inside or outside the home and see in a circle when viewing on your computer. You even choose which room you’ll go to next. Others shoot in 3-D and still pictures. Still, other companies have floorplan mapping programs that come with their videos.
In Las Vegas, most people bought their homes within the last 20 years, so they often have a floorplan uploaded. The problem with that is that some people just cannot visualize a floorplan in their minds.
For some people, virtual house shopping is great, and for others, it’s not enough. Virtual house shopping won’t show 3-foot weeds in the back yard of the house next door or scuffs on the walls and baseboards. You can’t see settling cracks, and realizing the size of rooms may be difficult for some people.
Viewing Homes: Virtual vs. In-Person
Whether you’re buying a new construction home or a resale, you’ll then have two choices once you have 2-4 homes chosen from touring videos. You can buy a house through “In-Person House Hunting” or “Sight Unseen House Hunting.” There are advantages and problems with both methods. Nevada homes are seen by appointment only.
In-Person– Meet your Realtor at a property in separate cars and caravan to see additional homes from there. Wear masks and gloves. We offer clients booties to wear at each door. Before viewing a home, we verify that the sellers are not home when we arrive and ask that they spray their house with Lysol before leaving.
Hopefully, each property’s interior will have all of the lights on, and every door and cupboard door will be open, so touching is minimal. Maintaining the six-foot minimum social distancing distance between us. If there are questions after leaving, we go back to the home for you, and if needed, we’ll video. Some questions can be answered by the seller assisting, so don’t be afraid to ask. Any option to avoid additional exposure to you is worth trying.
Sight Unseen– If you choose the “Sight Unseen” method, know that seeing a video tour won’t show you everything. Every home purchase should have a home inspection, however, let us be your eyes and go there for you. Kurt was a structural engineer in Nevada (P.E., C.E.) and looks for flaws while walk you thru the home by phone video.
If you choose not to see a property in person, it’s always a good idea to have a representative view both the interior and exterior of the home and then the perimeter of the property for you. Home inspections typically do not cover cosmetic issues. If you are the type of homeowner who expects to paint all the walls and replace flooring anyways, “Sight Unseen” might be the way for you to buy a home.
Contingent To Viewing Offers
Once you have your favorite homes chosen, an in-between third option for buying is to make an offer contingent upon you or a representative viewing the property within X days. You will then have the price and terms locked in and you’ll know that you looking is not a waste of time.
Know that we are here for you and we will do the footwork for you. Driving down a street and reporting what we see is normal. Sometimes we go into homes with clients on the phone on facetime or messenger. We’ve been to most model homes and can tell you what we like about a tract, builder, or a house. Terri and I are excellent resources- use us!
New Construction Homes
In Las Vegas, every new home builder has a video tour of some kind for their model homes. Tracts are open but you’ll need us to have an appointment to go inside a home. Tract agents are also filming things for you if you have a question.
With a brand new home, online shopping can be hard. Are you able to read floorplans and visualize the home? Some people have a hard time visualizing a reversed floorplan when the orientation is flipped. The biggest problems we’ve seen are with the viewing of lots.
Typically after viewing a model home you like, we drive by and walk available lots. It’s difficult to have someone do this for you as there may be unknown factors but we try. Some lots have abnormal shapes and you probably want to see what the neighboring homes look like. One-story or two, views, busy street or not, where’s the park, those kinds of things. This is where driving is a good idea.
If you choose new construction, can visualize a floor plan, like what you see on the video, and know what you want for upgrades, buying a home that needs to be built is considerably easier. Meeting your Realtor at the model with a camera and masks on is the new normal. We suggest early in the day for any tract visit. Because I monitor construction for you, you can make your upgrade choices by video chat and sign papers virtually and online.
Inspections During Social Distancing
Inspections For Resale Homes– After there is an accepted offer on a home, an inspector will inspect the house within a week and provide you will pictures or videos of any found issues. If there is anything you’d like to have measured or pictures taken or video taken, we can do this for you while the inspector is there.
Inspections For New Construction- As your home is being built, I do weekly construction monitoring and send pictures and video to you if applicable. I do a framing walk-through for you (or with you) to verify that all of your options and upgrades are there before the drywall goes up. Upon completion of the home, the best new construction inspector in town will check every system and feature of your home. Having an inspection of systems leaves you free to learn systems usage or not attend a new-home orientation.
Some builders are choosing to skip the Homeowner Orientation however, there is a liability factor that they may not want to give up. They may still want to show you the home features from 10 feet away maintaining social distancing at all times. We are willing to go for you and facetime or messenger with you- to us- it’s about your comfort level.
Nevada’s new construction homes have a one year front to back door warranty covering everything except cosmetic damage. The inspector checks the windows, the attic, roof, and systems so your repair list can possibly be completed before you move in.
In-Person Contracts and Signings
Virtual contracts and online loan applications have been a normal way of operating for a few years. Due to the possibility of fraud, notarized signatures must still be done in person. Most title and escrow companies in Nevada have Covid-19 Standards that they adhere to. These standards include rooms with good ventilation that are sanitized between all signings. You will be given a new pen if you did not bring one. The person doing your signing will wear a mask and sometimes gloves since they touch papers before you do.
With almost 4 months of experience and testing what works, the companies and businesses we’ve dealt with since March have been excellent. Our goal as your Housing Protectors is to always look out for you, including protecting you during Covid-19. We are here to keep you safe and to provide you with the best customer service possible.
Taking Possession Of Your Home
With social distancing in mind and germs, when we write offers, our standard verbiage has been to have the seller have the entire home professionally cleaned after sellers vacate and before closing. Cleaning to include all appliances and hard surfaces. The inside and outside of all cupboards and drawers, windows, screens. Baseboards and wipeable window coverings are also to be included. All doors and door jambs are to be sanitized. We also request all floors to be steam cleaned and sanitized.
To avoid a walk-thru before the home is completely sanitized, are asking for pictures of the front of the house, the interior of the home, the garage and the backyard. From the time the sellers move out until you move in, the property will have multiple days of self-disinfection. It’s important to us for you to feel safe upon entering your wonderful new home.
We Sell Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas
Let’s work together to find you the right property in the fastest and safest way we can. Give my office a call for a housing consultation so we can get to work for you- 702-750-7599.
This page was written by Kurt Grosse at Realty One Group. Kurt joined his wife/partner Terri selling homes in Las Vegas in 1996 and has been protecting buyers and sellers and their investments since. With their experience, technology and innovative ways to protect their customers, their services are invaluable.