How to Inspect a Property during the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world. While the virus has inflicted millions, there have been many unfortunate deaths as well. Just like every other industry, the property market has been badly affected by the pandemic. Despite that, the industry continues to function. The agents, sellers, and buyers are encountering new challenges that are bringing about drastic changes in their lives. Changes need to be made in how the industry is functioning, considering the uncertain circumstances we live in now.

In this context, the latest technology like thermal imaging is helping property owners carry out inspection and maintenance safely. Thermal imaging can help conduct tests to check things such as leaks without physically touching anything. Handheld thermal imaging cameras can go a long way in preventing the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

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Given the Covid-19 pandemic, ana inspection of properties has undergone a paradigm shift as several stringent measures have been adopted to prevent contamination and the spreading of the disease. No matter how serious the Covid-19 situation is, people will always need a roof above their heads. Thus, an inspection of properties using the latest tools like thermal imaging cameras is emerging as the new normal.

People are hunting for accommodation only when it’s an absolute necessity and real estate agents across all the states are arranging inspection only when there’s an urgency to do so. However, all the parties involved must take the utmost care to ensure that they adhere to the safety norms laid down by local health authorities.

The use of thermography not only makes inspections more effective, but it also helps raise safety levels helping avoid physical contact with the equipment being tested as we’ve already mentioned.

As no one is supposed to have visitors now, confusion abounds when it comes to inspecting accommodations. Such inspection should be done only when it’s unavoidable. Open inspections are banned so private inspection is the only option left for people looking for properties.

Here’s some vital information on property inspection while the Coronavirus pandemic is still at its peak.

Private Appointment Inspections are Still Allowed 

Inspections arranged through private appointments can be carried out but not more than a couple of visitors are allowed. A person looking to have an inspection arranged should not show any of coronavirus symptoms like a sore throat, fever, cough, or breathing difficulty. It’s also vital that proper hygiene is maintained before entering the property. Carrying sanitizer while going out for property inspection is expected. Washing your hands for 30 seconds is also a must. One should note that an overwhelming majority of properties are now being inspected through this option.

Thermal imaging cameras help in the detection of elevated body temperature. That would help screen the visitors and check if they show any symptoms. The use of these cameras would serve the dual purpose of both inspecting the premises and screening the visitors.

The agents themselves must make hand sanitizers available to those who have come for the private inspection. None of the fixtures or fittings inside the home should be touched. It is also important to maintain a distance of 1.5m as stipulated.

During the inspection, the occupants should not be present. Should they fall ill before the scheduled inspection, their property manager has to be informed at the earliest so that the inspection can be postponed until they recover.

Visitor details including name, mail ids, and phone number should be maintained for all property inspections. It is also important to note the date and time. These details will come handy in the event of an outbreak.

Carrying Out Routine Inspections during a Lease

Virtual inspection should be your first choice, though routine inspections in the presence of the property manager and the landlord are still being allowed. This involves viewing the property on a video. During a physical inspection, due care should be taken by the inspectors who visit the property and the tenants. Thermal imaging cameras can be used during these inspections to gain the trust of the buyers as they provide accurate and reliable results.

Ensuring that neither of the parties shows any coronavirus symptoms is mandatory. Tenants must not be present during an inspection. Tenants must be issued a notice beforehand informing them about the inspection. This will ensure one can enter the property safely.

Maintenance and Repairs

Tenants should still report any maintenance or repair issue that may arise inside the property. Repairs that need immediate attention can still be carried out; however, it is desirable that anything, which can wait, is attended to only after some improvement in the pandemic situation. Thermal imaging can help decide which repair needs urgent attention and which doesn’t by helping judge its seriousness. That’ll reduce the risk of those in the trade being infected and also the chances of the virus spreading.

A Peek into the Existing Situation

Those looking to change accommodations must move into their new home as quickly as possible and this can be facilitated by organizing early private inspections. Whether there is indeed a pressing need to purchase the property should be decided early. A potential offer must be made before the actual auction day.

It is also desirable that one takes prior information about how the auction is conducted, by phone, or online, after checking with the agent. In the case of an online auction, you must be well conversant with the technology and tools. Be prepared to show up on webcam after you have installed either Zoom or Skype and then open an account on either of those two programs.

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Those looking for a fast sale to fund their next deal are sure to find the situation stressful. It’s bothersome to have multiple people dropping by at the property when the intention is to self-isolate to protect oneself from the pandemic. Thermal imaging tools can be used to screen visitors and agents so that a scheduled inspection can be preempted if any of the parties involved show symptoms like higher body temperature.

Sellers are advised to have faith in their real estate agents and remain patient. If there is no deadline in place, a seller should remain confident about picking an agent. The agent should be given the liberty to do his job as well as he can while adhering to the standard safety norms.

If a seller were to push his agent for a quick sale, the sales results are likely to be lower. While the situation on the ground has changed drastically, an experienced agent would still know a thing or two about property negotiations and the ways to deal with a buyer.

Organize Your Finances

It is a must that the finances be organized well by both the buyers and sellers during the pandemic. With rising unemployment, scrutiny of each application will be far stricter with income and employment being major areas of concern.

One should be prepared to furnish letters as proof of employment to convince the lender that the job situation is stable. The application documents should be arranged as quickly as possible and there must be a decent record of making considerable savings.

Also, it is quite likely that the tenants the property is being acquired from have struggled to pay for the rent due to loss of income during the Coronavirus pandemic. This a possibility that has to be taken in the stride, it has to be accepted.

With conveyancers and mortgage brokers working from their homes, meeting them for one-on-one consultations is difficult. That’s why having the finances arranged during this pandemic can be a tricky affair as some property documents need physical signatures in the presence of witnesses.

Some mortgage brokers have designed processes that keep social distancing norms in place. These processes help arrange finances without any face-to-face meetings being necessary. Online lenders who are tech-savvy offer a great deal of relief during the virus outbreak.

The Role of Technology

Without the advent of new communication technology and its adoption by the real estate sector, things would have come to a grinding halt. Electronic communication has made sure that the sector continues to function. Employment details and assets can be verified remotely on digital platforms these days.

The new technology provides 3-D tours along with live-chat. Video tours and robust photos are also arranged. That makes virtual inspection of properties by buyers possible. Once a video tour is filmed, it can be promoted on social sites, YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram. The videos can be made to look and sound more appealing using a good camera and adding some music to them.

Thermal imaging has made virtual inspections more reliable with its accurate results. These results can be trusted.

A checklist must be prepared which shall include questions that need answers. Notes should be taken when the video tour is on so that what is seen can be confirmed later with the listing agent.

A video chat rather than a video tour is recommended as questions can be asked during chats. Chats being interactive, specific queries can be answered to remove any misgivings. Virtual tours with floor plans and photos being displayed have now become common. These have now become more important than a physical tour.

Inspections and Appraisals

Physical inspection in person is a must for appraisers and home inspectors. Temporary appraisal alternatives such as those on desktops relying on technology have been put in place for property evaluation. It is bringing them home to the appraiser and not the other way around.

New tech tools carrying important information and live photos have come up that protect from fraud. Desktop appraisals can be made which have made visiting the home unnecessary. Avenues to have automated valuations done for some properties or to have an appraisal done away with altogether have been arranged. While home inspections would typically involve the buyer visiting the home, today they are being done by the inspector only. The results are being shared online.

Closings

Closing is the most challenging aspect of a real transaction to be carried out without any human contact. It is a country’s rules and laws and technological progress made by it that decides how much of electronic notarization can be implemented there.

While in some locations, closings can entirely be done digitally, in some areas some workarounds can be taken advantage of to make a closing. Sanitization of the rooms is mandatory while the pens used are all new. We again recommend a screening of the visitors by thermal imaging. Physical touching of things is also kept minimal. Only those whose presence is necessary are present during the closing at an office.

Mobile notaries have emerged as a viable option. That involves a notary passing the papers out of his car’s window to get them signed. Signatures that require no notarization are being done by adopting new software like DocuSign. Customers can also be protected against fraud and theft of identity using technology that already exists.,/p>

While the real estate sector has traditionally been people-oriented, the current situation with the virus still spreading has influenced companies into implementing digital transactions faster. Remote appraisals can bring high-quality valuations when done well.

Conclusion

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about major changes in how the real estate sector functions. Inspections on virtual platforms have become increasingly popular as have transactions on digital platforms. Video chats have made inspections of properties possible without any physical presence of the buyer or the seller. Thermal imaging cameras can help boost the confidence of the parties involved in the transaction with their reliable and accurate results. It is hoped that the entire industry shall increasingly take to the new emerging technologies and help prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

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