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How to buy a luxury house in Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic

Exterior design of a house with trees and a pool

The coronavirus pandemic has yet to pass, but thanks to public ordinances and local initiatives, Los Angeles is slowly opening its doors once again. The same goes for real estate. There will be adjustments to the home buying process in light of the new normal, but with the right real estate agent by your side, you can still search luxury homes for sale in Los Angeles and, eventually, make one your own.

What is happening in Los Angeles?

Before we proceed, let’s familiarize ourselves with the current situation in Los Angeles.

The Safer At Home order has been replaced with Safer L.A. Like the previous order, Los Angelenos are still advised to stay at home unless needed. Safer L.A. also outlines some guidelines that will help Los Angeles reach the third stage of the city’s reopening plan

As of the time of writing, Los Angeles is on the second stage. That means low-risk businesses can now resume operations. Arts and cultural spaces such as museums can also open. Outdoor recreation is allowed, but social distancing should still be observed. And to curb the spread of COVID-19, everyone is advised to wear face masks. 

Now that we’ve established the state of affairs in Los Angeles, let’s move on to how you can still buy your dream luxury home even with a pandemic going on. 

The new normal in home buying

The home buying process remains the same, more or less. We just have to make a couple of adjustments here and there to ensure everyone’s safety. Here are several things you can do while observing Los Angeles’ stay-at-home orders.

  1. Get pre-approved

    If there is one thing that hasn’t changed in home buying, it’s the fact that mortgage pre-approval is as important as ever. Some sellers use this as one of the requirements before they entertain home showing  appointments from potential buyers.

    Unfortunately, mortgages are massively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have yet to get your pre-approval letter from your preferred lender, you might be in for a couple of challenges. Some banks and lenders are requiring higher credit scores (a minimum of 700 in some places), while others are demanding bigger down payments.

  2. Go online to search for listings

    Searching for real estate listings online isn’t new, but for the meantime, it will be the sole method as everyone stays indoors. Real estate websites such as Realtor and Zillow remain operational, as do realtor websites (like this one). You can do your initial search using these tools and save the properties you like for later viewing. Do take note of the online listings that offer virtual tours.

  3. Check out the virtual tours

    Anticipate home sellers to restrict personal viewings these days. As such, before you call one to schedule an appointment, take the time to check out the virtual tours. These can come in the form of replayable videos or 360-degree website plug-ins, allowing you to glimpse ceilings to floors. Some sellers and their real estate agents also do live walkthroughs. To be sure, ask them if they offer this.

    Once you find homes you do want to see in person, pick up the phone and call the real estate agent to make arrangements.

  4. Anticipate e-closings and prepare for them

    Real estate matters are considered essential, but since everyone is still advised to stay at home, you might encounter lenders or banks that would rather do e-closings. It’s practically mortgage closing, but your signature can be affixed to documents electronically. E-closings are not done completely remotely. They still require in-person meetings. But since documents can be signed electronically, these meetings can be shortened. 

    Remote online notarization is not allowed in California, so anticipate the e-closing to either be a hybrid process or an in-person e-notarization (IPEN). The former requires you meet with the lender to sign some of the documents traditionally, while the latter still requires you to meet with the lender but sign documents electronically.

    You can read more about e-closings here.

Everyone is trying to adjust to the new normal. The home buying process these days might take longer than usual so it’s important to be patient and flexible. And since the situation is fluid, it’s best to stay updated with the latest developments.

If you’d like to learn more about how to buy a house in Los Angeles or explore the latest listings such as houses for sale in Beverly Hills, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 310.927.2777 or Estates(at)FlorenceMattar(dotted)com