Orders are in. House hunting/listing begins. FREEZE! COVID-19 takes the country by storm and PCS season is halted. You all…we feel your pain. We understand your sadness. We know the uncertainty this is bringing to our already chaotic PCS season.
At MILLIE we aim to bring you “Calm during Chaos” (for real…that’s our tagline of our Baseside Chat Series). So you better believe we’re going to give you a few ideas to help you survive this PCS season when it comes to social distancing and travel restrictions.
1.) Ask for virtual home tours.
Already an often-used practice by military couples facing an overseas move, this option allows you to do a walkthrough and ask questions in real-time and potentially see more properties than you could during a whirlwind in-person visit on house-hunting leave.
If you’re the seller, be proactive and offer to host a Facebook Live option for a previously scheduled open house event. Being flexible may pay off in earning you more views by potential home buyers.
2.) Thoroughly clean your house before and after showings.
Be on the safe side and make sure to wipe down all surfaces before and after a showing. It’s better to be over-cautious when it comes to germs this PCS season.
3.) Be a socially conscious seller.
In the event you do have to show your home in person, put potential home buyers at ease by having easy access to hand sanitizers, wipes, individually wrapped snacks and bottled drinks, and leave doors open so that they can walk through completely hands-free. Ideally, the only people present in the home during a viewing should be the buyer and their agent.
4.) Make sure your home is one of peace when being viewed.
Make sure you don’t have the news channels on in the background (even if it’s on mute). Before you leave for the showing put on some jazz/smooth jams. (Yes…we said jams.)
5.) Go to great detail in any offer to protect you in the event of changes.
This is a critical time to practice diligence in your paperwork. Working closely with your real estate agent and legal advisor, you should outline important dates and clarify in detail what will happen if either side needs to delay closing due to military travel order restrictions, for example. While the Service Member Civil Relief Act can protect military homeowners in other specific ways, it’s up to you to spell out certain details in your home offer or seller’s agreement.
If the seller is agreeable to it, you may opt to set a more distant closing date in the sale documents and say you will close “on or before” that date. This allows some flexibility for you to close sooner than the final date in the event you can both do so.
You can also have a contingency that allows for renting the house to the current occupants, if they still need some time before they can move. After the closing date, you have the option of renting the house to the current owners for a period of time, and a rental agreement would be spelled out accordingly in a separate agreement.
Just be aware that many mortgage companies require you to take occupancy within a certain period of time after closing, which will vary from state to state. Before drafting up any agreements, check with your mortgage company to see whether they have restrictions on how soon after closing you have to occupy the home. Title companies are bound by state rules; they can clarify important timeframes and how different scenarios impact the interest rates you qualify for as a homeowner occupying immediately, versus the home being considered an investment property that you rent out to someone. (This can affect your homeowner's insurance rates as well, so you’ll want to pay careful attention to the guidelines.)
6.) Consider a remote closing if possible.
Many mortgage lenders and title companies can provide you with online access so you can complete every aspect of home buying or selling, including uploading documents and electronically signing papers, without ever having to set foot in an office.
For the closing paperwork signing process, you can use a mobile notary. They will come to an agreed-upon location, such as your home or a public business, to meet with you to sign important documents.
7.) List your home with us for FREE.
Go to our website and list your home for free. MILLIE wants to help during this time of need and we’re offering our paid service FREE to military families to help you through this PCS season.
Hopefully, these tips give you some peace of mind and help you continue with searching for a home or putting your home on the market during this PCS season. Find a flexible and supportive real estate agent who is willing to work with you. Don’t forget we have AgentHeroes on standby ready to help and our Scouts are ready to be your boots on the ground when needed.
Stay well and know This Too Shall Pass.
This article originally appeared on the Millie Journal.
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