What to expect when buying a house during a pandemic

Posted on March 2, 2021

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Posted By Chrisie Berry
Home with a sold sign beside it

Chrisie Berry // Prince George Airport Authority

Who buys a house during a pandemic? Apparently, we do. 

Trading in vacation plans for housing hunting

The original plan for 2020 was to go to Disney World in September; however, the universe had other plans for us. When it became obvious that a trip to Orlando in the fall was not going to be an option, we switched gears and used our holiday savings as a basis for a down payment on a house. We were unsure what house hunting during a pandemic would look like but were up for the adventure. 

New rules for viewing houses

For starters, we had to fill out and sign COVID questionnaires for each house that we entered. We were not supposed to bring others with us, although we were granted a few exceptions by homeowners to have our parents present to help us look for any issues we may not have known about. They too had to complete COVID questionnaires and we could only enter the home two at a time. Kudos to our realtor for helping make this happen. We were also not allowed to touch anything, which included opening doors. Our realtor was responsible for this and opened doors with a cleaning wipe. 

It’s definitely a seller’s market

We looked at many houses and then in July found the house we ended up buying. One thing we learned was that the housing market in Prince George is quick. By this I mean that houses that had been listed for less than a week already had accepted offers. The house we ended up purchasing was listed on a Thursday, we looked at it on Friday, and put in our offer on Sunday (due to the seller’s request). There were two offers on the table and lucky for us, the other potential buyer didn’t want to compete. Our offer was accepted and we moved to the next stage. 

Complications with the house inspection

COVID complicated the process for inspections for multiple reasons. The first is that due to closures that occurred at the beginning of the pandemic, most inspectors had a backlog, which didn’t match with our timeline. Second, was having additional people outside of our core bubble needing access to the house during the pandemic. It also made it difficult to be in attendance during the inspection, but we were able to come at the end to have the inspector recap his findings for us. We were required to wear both masks and gloves during this visit. 

Ensuring a smooth move-in-day

Fast forward to the moving process. We took possession a week prior to the date we moved. During this time, we went into the house daily to clean and sanitize and get it ready. We were lucky that it was summer and that COVID numbers were low. We opted to hire movers to reduce the number of people present during the move and also to make the process less stressful for us. Two people moved our entire house and then we were able to sanitize items and start unpacking. 

A lot of things that needed to be done in short order of moving in included tearing out smelly carpets, replacing the hot water tank, and removing some unhealthy trees from the property. Again, we were grateful for low COVID numbers as these things meant more people needed to have access to our home. You really don’t think about the number of people involved in the process of purchasing a house, moving, and upgrading a few things until you are in a pandemic and actively trying (and sort of succeeding) to follow the rules. We spaced out appointments to allow for some time to pass to monitor ourselves for any potential symptoms. We were also lucky to have family (part of our safe 6) that could help with some items. 

Finally, time to settle in

We have now been in our home for 5 months and are so far loving the farm life. Since moving with our cat and dog, we have adopted another cat, a dog, and two potbelly pigs. Living out of town has given us a unique opportunity to still be active in our everyday life without too much worry of COVID as we are not around others. All of our neighbours are at least an acre away which makes social distancing easy. This winter we started renovating our space and continuing to make it our own. 

About the Author: Chrisie Berry is the Executive Assistant at the Prince George Airport Authority and a certified SuperHost instructor. Her past work experience has always been customer service based in a number of industries including social services, finance, and retail.  She has a BA from the University of Northern British Columbia with a major in English. In her spare time, she enjoys horseback riding, playing board games, and sitting outside around a fire.