Finding Shelter During the Pandemic

We sift daily through the jokes and GIFs about how to share your space with a partner, children and pets during this time of sheltering at home.  Most of the humor centers around keeping your distance from those you love, and who annoy you the most, because those are one in the same.  But if you were already in an unhappy and disintegrating relationship before we were directed to stay at home to save lives, those aren’t jokes.  You may have been contemplating divorce, or had just filed, but hadn’t yet moved out.  The question is how you can safely move from your current home when the real estate market seems to be in turmoil, and there is no end date in sight for lifting current social restrictions.  Real estate agents admit that this social distancing has dramatically changed how rentals and sales are conducted.  But the bright spot, if there is one, is that rentals are being made, and homes are being purchased.  There have been modifications, but finding a new home during this pandemic can happen. Commit to on-line.  On-line listing services have always been the first stop for people perusing the housing market.  Now, that on-line research will be your best, and perhaps the only way to get you to your next residence.  David Greene of Compass in Chicago uniquely offers Virtual Agent Services.  Not only are you able to see a virtual walk-through of the property, but you can also see a 360-view of the potential neighborhood, and a video tour of the amenities in a high-rise.  Realtor Betsy Phillips of Baird Warner in Glenview noted that many people are reluctant to list their homes right now, as each day on the market counts.  But she can work with clients and prospective sellers to get a virtual tour of a home that has not been listed, once she knows what you need for space, location, comforts and conveniences.  Showing a home now means the owner has to vacate – but to where? - and the prospective buyer has to wear protective clothing and not touch anything.  The realtor has to make a special accommodation to secure an on-site visit from both parties for everyone’s safety.  A walk-through is now reserved for the buyer who has done the virtual research, and is close to committing.   Portal/remote.  Most of the paperwork necessary to complete a real estate transaction can be done from remote.  From signing a contract to buy to signing the mortgage at closing, no one has to be in the same room.  Real estate is considered an essential service, so even moving companies will give a virtual estimate, along with protocol for protecting your belongings and you during a move.  Before you move.  From a family law perspective, we urge you to make some very important decisions before you Docu-sign a real estate contract and receive your new keys:

  • If you have children, do not move until you have a parenting plan in place and filed with the court.  This is for your protection, and your children while the courts continue to be closed, except for emergencies.  We do not want you to be an emergency.

  • Do not move until you and your spouse have agreed about handling joint financial matters on a temporary basis.  This includes paying any joint debt, and financial responsibility for children, pets, cars, etc.

Our firm is available to work with you on addressing how you can move on with your life while everything seems to be standing still in these times. 

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