Closing Real Estate Transactions During a Pandemic

As of this moment, we have no end in sight for how long we’ll be asked to stay home, only make critical trips and social distance whenever we are around other people.  

Still, homes in California are being bought and sold, albeit under the California Association of Realtors guidelines of no face-to-face meetings, no in-person listing appointments and no home inspections or appraisals with multiple parties present. 

Here are a few ways that people involved in the transfer of real property are getting things done safely and efficiently in these uncertain times.

Home Tours – Rather than welcome buyers into your home, walk them through your home with a FaceTime tour.  

While this requires some coordination and trust — giving a complete stranger your cell phone number — there are ways this can really be beneficial.  If the buyers’ agent and the sellers’ agent vet both of their respective clients, and pass their direct phone numbers along, it can be as safe as leaving a key in a lock box for strangers to walk through your house.  

The agents can work with their clients to set up a time for the tour and establish who will be calling whom.  

Once the connection is made, the seller (or designated family member also staying home) can start at the front entry, come in the front door and walk through the house.  

As the tour progresses, buyers, (watching from their home with their family members) can ask questions, ask for a closer look, or ask for a different angle. You might even want to ask for measurements to see if your furniture will fit where you’d like to put it.  

At the end of the tour, the agents can communicate with each other about how to proceed.

Home Inspections – While there is a directive against face-to-face interactions, the home inspector can go to the property alone and inspect the house.  

Then he can FaceTime or hold a Zoom meeting with all of the parties before he leaves if there is something significant that everyone might need to look at. He also can include more than the normal number of photos in his report for extra clarification.  

For a vacant house, this is very straightforward, especially if there is a combination lock box or a key under the door mat.  

For a home where the sellers are still residing, and now likely cohabitating with their kids who are home from college, you’ll need to leave the door unlocked and everyone needs to go for a long walk, appropriately socially distancing from each other.  

The home inspection can take from two to four hours, so plan accordingly.

Lenders are still accepting loan applications, banks are still funding loans, wire transfers are still getting from point A to point B, and escrow officers are still at work.  

We can do this, people.

Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is an agent with Realty One Group. She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or