As COVID-19’s impact spread across the country in March, the stock market declines started in February accelerated downward before recovering a bit in the last week of the month. With volatility across all the financial markets, lenders began tightening underwriting standards and some buyers found they no longer were approved for a loan. Massive layoffs also shook the economy with 3.28 million initial jobless claims filed in a single week—the highest in history more than four times over.

But sometimes, life can’t wait. Even now, people may need to move or have reasons to buy a home in San Diego. While it is more challenging, safely buying is still doable.

Can people still get mortgages?

Lenders are sending out affidavits making people prove that their earnings have not been reduced. For those who had a reduction in income, lenders are not okay with that—they won’t take the risk of that person not going back to work.

How do I see a potential home?

Showings should be done virtually, if at all possible. Only a single agent and no more than two other individuals are to be in a dwelling at the same time during a showing. If other persons are necessary for a showing, they should wait outside or in their vehicles to observe the social distance guidelines. Sellers are to be advised that they should not be present within a dwelling at the same time as other individuals. Sellers are to be advised that they may remain on the property or in the common area of an HOA but not in the dwelling unit itself while agents, buyers, inspectors or others are viewing it. If a seller insists on remaining on the property, that seller is to agree to the terms and sign the declaration (see below) that is required for persons entering the property. Any person entering a property shall provide by declaration that to the best of their knowledge, they are not currently ill with a cold or flu; do not have a fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath, or exhibit other COVID-19 symptoms; have not been in contact with a person with COVID-19; and will adhere to and follow all precautions required for viewing the property at all times.

Is there protection in case I sign a purchase agreement, but then run into financial trouble?

The California Association of Realtors has come up with a clause known as the “coronavirus amendment” that postpones the close of escrow by up to 30 days or more to accommodate unforeseen circumstances or hold-ups due to COVID-19. At that point, either party can withdraw from the deal, and your deposit will be returned.

How will closing work?

Like everything else in the housing market, parties are getting creative to keep closings functioning. Title companies and notaries are deemed essential, but people are still trying to do things with as little contact as possible.

If you are looking to BUY, INVEST here in San Diego, give us a call at (619) 663-7139 today!