Home Buyers Seek COVID Clauses in Contracts
Real estate agents, racing to keep home sales from falling through, are writing special coronavirus clauses into offers and extending contracts as more than 100 million Americans from California to New York are ordered to stay at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Stay-at-home mandates have expanded from just a few counties in Washington and California to entire states on both coasts and Illinois, encompassing the three biggest cities in the U.S. and many of the country’s luxury housing hubs. The rules have seriously disrupted home sales, which often include face time among multiple parties and stakeholders, including buyers, sellers, agents and lawyers.
Many deals are in a state of limbo if appraisers can’t appraise or inspectors can’t inspect ahead of a scheduled closing, or worse, if one of the parties involved in the sale gets sick. To mitigate the overwhelming uncertainty, buyers are now adding clauses that allow them to postpone closings or even back out entirely from deals without penalty should Covid-19 derail the process.