Buying and selling safely

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Even with the more dangerous delta variant causing a rise in COVID infections, it’s still possible for you to safely search for the perfect home. Here are some rules to follow:

First and foremost, protect yourself.

By initiating your search online, you can get a glimpse of a property right from your living room. This way, you can safely learn if you want to know more. The key is knowing what to look for and noticing what may be hiding. The online photos are meant to grab your attention and highlight the home’s best features. Open floor plans, updated appliances and newer cabinets are features that might grab your attention, but be sure to also look for what isn’t there. If the listing isn’t showing you pictures of the interior, there may be issues that need addressing. Perhaps it needs structural work, maybe it needs an aesthetic update. The only way you’ll know is if you ask the agent.

One way to continue to gather information on a property safely, is to ask if the agent has additional photos or videos that they didn’t share online. Another remote option is to ask if they will walk through the property while using a video sharing service such as Zoom, Google Duo, or FaceTime.

Touring a listing

Those who are fully vaccinated and who aren’t high risk may feel comfortable visiting a home in person. Here are a few ways you can continue to stay safe during a property tour.

Your most basic line of defense against getting sick is to follow all CDC guidelines regarding hand sanitizing, mask wearing and social distancing. Additionally, you could consider asking the seller to leave closet doors, cabinets and drawers open so you don’t have to unnecessarily touch handles or knobs. You can also ask that your broker wait outside while you survey the interior. The two of you can converse via cell phone while you have a look around. Lastly, you may want to consider only visiting those properties that have never or do not currently have any occupants. This further limits your exposure.

Buying site unseen

In the event a visit is simply not possible due to local restrictions, changes to showing policies, personal health factors or just a matter of choice, buyers can purchase a house “site unseen.” This may feel risky but has always been an accepted practice in real estate. In fact, 63 percent of homebuyers in 2020 made their initial offer without having physically seen the home. Buying site unseen may even save you money, as it’s often faster than traditional means and avoids price jacking that sometimes occurs during bidding wars.

While you protect your health, let a real estate lawyer protect you in the buying process. They will know how to navigate the contract and which clauses to include, such as the Force Majure Clause, which states that under certain uncontrollable circumstances a party may be allowed to exit a given contract, as well as the Time is of the Essence Clause to ensure timely transaction completion.

Don’t let Delta deter you from your house hunting. Put these tools to work for you. Right now is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of this hot market and find just what you’ve been looking for.

To contact me, call 708-583-8300, e-mail gz@zerillorealty.com or visit www.zerillorealty.com.

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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