13 May You Can Still Buy or Sell Your Home During COVID-19
The world has changed since our last blog post, and it’s fair to say life is very different as we make our way through the coronavirus outbreak. Every industry in America (and the world for that matter) has been impacted, including real estate. Illinois has deemed real estate an essential service, which means people can continue to buy and sell homes, albeit differently. One sweeping change is that many real estate brokers and homeowners are replacing open houses with virtual tours. With social distancing and sheltering-in-place, what will the rest of the transaction process look like?
Title Companies Are Open For Business
Mortgage lenders are still requiring original signatures on loan documents and title companies have enacted safety measures for buyers. Title company offices are limiting traffic and giving the option for buyers to sign documents curbside.
Remote Signings Are Possible
Many title insurance underwriters are implementing the use of Remote Online Notaries (RON) to allow closings of real estate and mortgage transactions in response to COVID-19 restrictions. Illinois is offering this capability as part of the Governor’s recent Executive Order, and it may soon be the law of the country. According to JD Supra, “The American Land Title Association (ALTA) is working with Congress to pursue federal legislation that could expand RON availability nationwide to help enable the real estate and mortgage markets to continue functioning in the face of COVID-19 social distancing protocols.”
Impact on Contracts
How does a pandemic affect purchase contracts? It depends on the details, and this is where you really need to leverage your real estate attorney. Chicago Association of Realtors has recently developed a COVID-19 Contract Addendum to assist with this situation. Attorneys for both the buyer and seller should work together to allow for leniency.
Previously, we wrote about what to expect during the closing process. Closings are still occurring but under different conditions. Typically, the attorneys along with the buyers and sellers would all meet at a title company. Today, amidst the pandemic, Sellers are pre-signing their closing documents and the Sellers’ attorney is assisting the closing remotely. The Buyers are still attending closing, as mentioned above, and their attorneys are assisting them via skype, or good old fashioned telephone.
The real estate industry is working hard on creative solutions to make it through this unprecedented period of time. Continue to follow our blog for updates, and you can also find more information from The Illinois Association of Realtors.