Home inspections are going virtual
Typically homebuyers accompany their inspector during the home inspection, but a number of home inspectors are now using live video chatting apps like FaceTime or Zoom to let home buyers tag along remotely. This keeps buyers at a safe distance for home inspections, Seal says.
Lenders are cutting back on in-home appraisals
More appraisers are turning to computer algorithms to value properties instead of sending appraisers to inspect homes in person, says Skylar Olsen, director of economic research at Zillow. That’s partly because Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the government-backed mortgage giants, recently directed mortgage lenders to reduce the need for appraisers to inspect the interior of a home for eligible mortgages. The caveat? For non-conforming mortgages, such as FHA loans, an in-home appraisal is still required, says Olsen.
Final walk-throughs are still taking place
Most purchase agreements allow home buyers to do a walk-through of the house shortly before closing to make sure the home is in good condition—testing appliances, windows, doors, outlets, and other items—and double-check any home inspection repairs that the seller made. But, Seal says home buyers are taking safety precautions in the wake of the coronavirus. “Some buyers are asking sellers to leave all doors and closets open so that they can see the entire house without taking their hands out of their pockets,” she says.