Welcome to The New Virtual Home Sale where I’m walking you through every step in the UPDATED Southern Maryland Home Sale process. This is one of my longest posts, but stick with me, it’s worth it! If you’d rather listen, click on each of the 4 videos and I’ll read it to you!
Times are changing… I’ve worked from home since 2013, implementing online systems and processes to streamline my business and my customer experience. But now, with the current health crisis, I’m also “homeschooling” and working alongside my husband who is teleworking. We’re all being thrown deeper into the digital world. My daughter is taking piano lessons via Skype and receiving instruction from her elementary school teacher all online. Regardless of the state of the economy or other outside influences, people need to buy and sell houses. So, that’s what’s we’re doing.
It’s common for your home search or selling research to start online and we’ve used electronic methods for contract signings and negotiations for years. So, let’s take this online concept and walk through what a virtual transaction will look like when key processes are replaced with online technologies.
Note: If you are selling, skip down to the second half of this post!
Buying a home virtually
Let’s dive into the step by step process of buying a home using all digital methods.
Before we go any further, look at what Ashley said. I helped her and her husband secure a new home this week! The entire process was completed virtually, from the comfort of our “stay at home” order.
Step 1. Agent Consultation
The agent consultation is the first step towards buying your first home. We’ll connect over the phone or through video chat and we’ll discuss the steps in the process, what to expect, as well as your wants and needs. Nothing here has changed except that we’ll meet virtually instead of in person!
Step 2. Financing
After we create a plan based on your needs and wants, it’ll be time to get pre-approved. Your pre-approval is the first step towards securing your home loan and this should be done prior to starting your actual home search. The entire process of applying for financing and processing the loan can be done electronically. So easy!
Step 3. Home Shopping & Selection
Home shopping can be fun even when you do it from your living room, promise! (Maybe more fun because you don’t have to brush your hair or change out of your yoga pants…) This is the part of the home buying process that changes the most when doing a virtual transaction. Instead of visiting each home, we’ll check out homes online. We’ll review the listing details, all available pictures and video and check out the video tours. I’ll thoroughly research the property so that you have all of the information that is available and can make an informed selection. We’ll walk through the pros and cons of each house and narrow it down to a winner just like we would after in-person tours.
Step 4. Offers, Negotiations, & The Contract
Once you’ve selected a home, I’ll prepare the offer paperwork electronically. You’ll sign the packet from your email. This is so easy that it can be done right from your phone or ipad. Once signed, I’ll submit the offer to the seller and begin negotiations. Once all parties agree, you’ll be under contract!
Step 5. Inspections & Appraisal
There’s still no need to leave home. The listing agent will give access to our inspector and the appraiser so that they can complete their reports quickly and without having any face to face encounters. The inspection report, complete with pictures, is delivered to us through email. We’ll review and negotiate any repairs that need to be made. The appraiser will deliver their report to the lender. Doesn’t it all sound so easy? That’s because it IS!
Step 6. Repairs & Proof of Completion
After the inspections are completed and we agree on any necessary repairs, the seller will begin completing those repairs. Once they do so, they will provide any paid receipts and reports explaining what was done. We’ll review and, in some cases, we ask the inspector to complete a final inspection to ensure all repairs were done.
Step 7. Closing
This is the day that it becomes YOURS! On this day, you’ll sign all of the final loan documents and you’ll receive the keys to your new home.
While Maryland just passed a bill that allows the use of electronic notaries, this process is not yet fully implemented and approved by all title companies and lenders. This means that the ability to complete “settlement” or “closing” electronically is very close to being a reality, we aren’t quite there yet.
For now, you’ll complete your settlement at the title office and every precaution possible will be taken to keep everyone socially distanced and in a safe environment. Only essential people are permitted in the closing office, things will be cleaned regularly, no one will sit too close or shares pens, and everyone will spend as little time as possible in the building.
In & out & it’s all yours!
Selling a home virtually
Now, let’s talk about how you can SELL your Southern Maryland home using Technology to create a more efficient process. You can sell your home even when face to face meetings aren’t ideal and showings are frowned upon!
Step 1. Agent Consultation and Home Preview
Our first meeting will be over the phone or through video chat. We’ll take this time to get to know each other and to discuss your plans and goals. We’ll talk about your home, the marketing plan, and the process of selling your home. All of this can be done electronically, including the initial tour of your home!
Step 2. Home Tour
This will likely be the same call as your consultation. They go hand in hand. We’ll use tools like Facetime, Skype, or Zoom so that you can take me on a tour of your home. Just like in an in-person tour, you’ll show me each space, the layout, and my recommendations for things to do in preparation for sale. This tour will help me to create your pricing strategy and find creative ways to market and sell your home.
Step 3. Listing Contract
Once we have completed your consultation and home tour, I’ll send you the listing documents. These are sent electronically and signed through your email. It’s all incredibly easy!
Step 4. Photography
Having excellent photographs and videos will help to attract potential home buyers through the advertisements I strategically place online. One of my professional photography partners will schedule a time to come to your home. You will prepare your home for this meeting and you’ll leave for the photo shoot to be completed, taking your family and pets with you. They’ll let us know when they finish so that you can return.
Step 5. Sign & Lockbox
The sign will be installed by a professional installation company. Miss Utility comes prior to this appointment to check for utility lines. Once they get the all clear, your sign will go up. A lock box will also be installed on your door.
Step 6. Marketing
The marketing is my favorite part! This is where I take all of the photos, videos, and tours and insert them into all of the marketing materials and campaigns that I’ve created to showcase your homes best features and attract the buyer that will want and love your home.
Step 7. Showings
Most showings will be “virtual”. See the discussion on showings in the section for home buyers (Step 3) to get a better understanding of how I complete virtual tours of your home for buyers. I can do it all without ever entering your home! There are still some situations were in-person showings occur, but it’s not completely necessary in all situations.
Step 8. Offers, Negotiations, the Contract
We’ll collect offers, negotiate the best terms, and secure a contract all through electronic methods. This part hasn’t changed much in the last few years as electronic documents, signatures, and storage are all systems we have in place and make the process so so easy!
Step 9. Inspections & Appraisal
Inspectors and appraisers will gain access to your home through the lock box, without you home, after getting approval from you regarding the date and time of their visit. Once the buyer reviews the inspection report, their agent will submit a list of the repairs that they want you to fix. Again, we’ll receive this and negotiate the terms all through email.
Step 10. Repairs & Proof of Completion
After the repairs have been negotiated, you’ll complete them and we’ll provide paid receipts and any accompanying information by emailing it to the buyers agent.
Step 11. Closing
This is the big day where you hand over your home to the new owners.
While Maryland just passed a bill that allows the use of electronic notaries, this process is not yet fully implemented and approved by all title companies and lenders. This means that the ability to complete “settlement” or “closing” electronically is very close to being a reality, but we aren’t quite there yet. For now, you’ll complete your settlement at the title office and every precaution possible will be taken to keep everyone socially distanced and in a safe environment. Only essential people are permitted in the closing office, things will be cleaned regularly, no one will sit too close or share pens, and everyone will spend as little time as possible in the building.
In & out & it’s all DONE!
The Virtual Sale Wrap Up
While we aren’t currently in a position to complete a fully virtual transaction, we are very close and the ability to do so is right around the corner. The business world has been on a continuous shift towards online systems and processes for years. While it is important to maintain a very personalized customer service experience and to closely connect in order to fully assist you in the sale or purchase of a home, we have the technological capabilities to streamline the process, become more efficient, and work through situations like this where traditional methods of completing tasks are not possible or no longer efficient.
Please reach out to me with any questions that you have. While this information should provide you with an overview of our current and future capabilities, each situation is unique, and I would love the opportunity to discuss the best ways to achieve your goals.