There’s a major question that sellers are asking right now: Can you get a home inspection during COVID-19? The answer is, yes. You may be wondering how to make that happen, when, unlike a home showing that can be done virtually, a home inspection is typically completed in-person.
Getting a successful home inspection now means being aware of some precautions that you need to take, and knowing what the rules and options are in your county or state for this type of work, including virtual appraisals. We’ve outlined some key factors below for you to be aware of to help answer some of your questions about how to list a house during the coronavirus.
First, is an inspection possible?
It depends on where you live. Get in touch with a reputable real estate agent in your area to find out how shelter in place rules are impacting real estate processes. The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has declared “title search, notary, and recording services in support of mortgage and real estate services and transactions” as well as “residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services” essential.
But does that mean home inspections? Again, it depends, because CISA is advisory — it’s not a federal mandate, meaning states, counties, and municipalities create their own rules.
How can I keep my family safe?
A home inspection during COVID-19 looks a bit different than a typical home inspection because there are some precautions needed to ensure everyone’s safety. The inspector should walk through your house alone, unaccompanied by a buyer, agent, or you, as the seller. Inspectors should wear gloves and a mask for protection, and you can make safety a top priority by opening any doors, panels, and cabinets that they will need to access, ahead of time.
You want to minimize the surfaces that they need to touch to protect them and yourself. After the inspection, you’ll want to clean all high-touch surfaces, like knobs and handles in the areas where they focused their inspection.
Can I have an alternative appraisal?
An alternative appraisal is another option to consider. These appraisals do not conform to the standard Fannie Mae 1004 appraisal, because the inspector does not enter your home. However, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has permitted alternative appraisals to be used in lieu of a full appraisal through May 17, 2020, as a result of the coronavirus.
These alternative appraisals include exterior inspections, previous home inspection reports, or video walk-throughs hosted by your agent to assess your home’s quality and condition. It depends on the type of inspection that you need, but the alternative appraisal is an option to be aware of if you are selling a home during coronavirus.
If you are selling your home now, all of the processes to close the deal will look a little bit different, and might require some extra planning. But the key is to not worry and work with your agent to be aware of the alternatives to follow to get the necessary inspections taken care of.