Ready to Don Your Mask and Go House Hunting?

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California, Inc. CA DRE #01490977

Ready to Don Your Mask and Go House Hunting?


Now that you’ve made a decision to buy your first house, or a new one, I bet you’re ready to put on a face mask and go house hunting.


Hold on, just a moment. There are some important matters to address before setting up appointments to see the homes you like.



This goes without saying. Can you realistically shop for a home when you don’t know how much you can afford, or even know that you qualify for a mortgage?


  • Do you know what loan program is best for your financial situation?
  • How much down payment do you need?
  • Are you aware of your estimated closing costs?
  • Are there credit issues you don’t know about (it happens!)?


Also, you may be asked to provide a written pre-approval letter before a showing can occur, or is even approved…at least in my market. Sellers and their listing agents want to feel comfortable that the buyer coming through the home is qualified to purchase the home. No pre-approval letter, no showing.


If you are fortunate enough to be using cash for your purchase you will likely be asked for your proof of funds (POF) prior to your showing.



You need to decide what you want in a houseIt’s more important than ever these days to know what you really need in your new home, including lifestyle issues (e.g., proximity to shopping and dining, schools).


Once you know what you can afford you can better focus on your particular needs…and not on a long wish list.


With limited choices for many buyers, consider what’s really necessary for you, and be aware of the need to trade off features that, while desired, are less important or non-essential.


Be flexible where you can…do you need 4 bedrooms or can you get by with 3 bedrooms? How about 2 full baths instead of 2 ½ or 3? Could you live with a home with a kitchen that needs upgrading and take care of that at a future date?



Looking at homes for sale onlineI expect you know housing inventory is tight these days, and there are plenty of buyers who are also searching for a home, and you may be competing with them for the same properties.


As a buyer, what does this mean?

  • Multiple offers on a property (sometimes 10, 20 or more)
  • Over-asking offers not just full price
  • Making a decision quickly in order to not miss out
  • Making your best offer up front due to the competition (you may not get a counter)
  • Realizing that despite your best efforts you might not get the house, and more



Wearing a mask is not the only protocol to follow when showing homes in our market. Buyers and their agents are to observe the 6-foot social distancing guidelines at all times, and generally only 2 buyers (from the same household) plus their agent are permitted – no children, friends, or relatives.


Everyone is encouraged to avoid touching all surfaces (counters, door knobs, light switches, etc.) and wear disposable gloves. Your agent can open doors and turn on lights if needed, although many sellers now are leaving doors, blinds and shutters open, and lights on.


As noted above you likely will be asked to provide a current written pre-approval before your showing is approved, and buyers and their agents will be asked to sign the Property Entry Advisory and Declaration for Visitors form (PEAD-V) before the showing (this is easily accomplished using electronic signatures coordinated by your buyer agent).


Advance appointments are required and showings cannot overlap. You may have attended open houses in the past but they are not permitted during the pandemic in our area.



Commonly there are plenty of opportunities to see what homes offer before making your appointments. Take time to look at photos, read all the information about the features, and check out any videos. Some listings are also including 3D and drone/aerial videos. Check out information online about the subdivision/community where the home is located. And be sure to ask your agent for information. If schools are important investigate the school district websites.


It might also be smart, if time permits (say the dates for showings is in the future), to check out the area in person first, especially if location and views are important and when you are not familiar with the area. But you probably do not want to delay setting up a showing appointment as soon as possible since many homes go off the market very quickly.



Given the market, and the competition, flexibility will be important in order to be successful. First, there may not be many homes that fit your budget and other criteria. Focus on what’s REALLY necessary in your new home, but be flexible to get the home you want (e.g., trading off certain features you can add later, such as changing a loft area into a bedroom; doing desired upgrades in the future rather than requiring them up front).


While you should focus on what’s really important, keep in mind those issues that will rule out a particular home for you, such as a long commute, road noise, or location. But again, be flexible!


Scheduling showings these days can be tricky so be prepared to be flexible here, too. You may not be able to get an appointment at the time that works best for you. Sellers may limit available showing times, plus you will be competing with others who want to see the home(s), too.



Give me a call at (760) 840-1360 so we can discuss your specific housing needs, your budget, the inventory and local market conditions that will impact your decision-making, and any questions that you have.


We’ll talk more about how you can be successful in this competitive market, including addressing the seller’s needs with a great offer price, terms and conditions. Lastly we can create a strategy that will help you find and purchase the home that best meets your needs and budget!


Carlsbad home search linkYou can search the complete inventory of homes for sale in Carlsbad by clicking on the photo to the right.


Be sure to sign up to receive listings as they come on the market (the MLS updates 24/7) to you are always up to date and won’t miss a listing that might be THE ONE, especially since some homes go off the market quickly.


Or explore homes for sale in other communities in North County San Diego that interest you.


Better yet, let’s talk about your housing needs and budget, then I can create an automated search specific to you directly from the MLS. Give me a call at (760) 840-1360.


And when you find some listings you like, we’ll don those masks and go take a look.

Posted by

Jeff Dowler, CRS
Certified Residential Specialist / Realtor®

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Comments (40)

Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

These are great tips for those who want to purchase a home in today's inventory-tight, pandemic-rule environment.

Mar 02, 2021 05:20 AM
Doris Freeman
Zach Taylor Real Estate - Gallatin, TN
Broker/Agent, 615-961-7799

Some great tips, but here in middle Tennessee we haven't been required to wear masks for a while.  

Its up to the client/customer weither or not to wear one while showing

Mar 02, 2021 06:58 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson 

It's competitive for sure, regardless of the Covid restrictions that are in place, and a tough market for many buyers.


Mar 02, 2021 07:36 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Kat Palmiotti 

Even without the pandemic restrictions it's a challenge for buyers because of the competition and limited inventory!


Mar 02, 2021 07:39 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Doris Freeman 

Interesting how different things are in other areas! Masks have been required for showings here since the pandemic started and I don't see that changing.


Mar 02, 2021 07:55 PM
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Thanks for sharing Jeff! Most important question!!!

Can you realistically shop for a home when you don’t know how much you can afford, or even know that you qualify for a mortgage?

Mar 03, 2021 04:21 AM
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

Great post! Thanks for sharing!

Mar 03, 2021 04:50 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thank you Sham Reddy CRS  That IS an important question anytime, but it's particularly important these days if a buyer wants to compete successfully.


Mar 03, 2021 10:10 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

Congrats on the well deserved feature!!!

Excellent information for anyone looking for a new home!

Mar 03, 2021 10:29 AM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Jeff Dowler, CRS, well-deserved feature. Buyers shouldn't get discouraged with multiple offers,  if they are prepared to act, they will secure a home. Masks are not required here, however, I haven't had a single buyer oppose to wearing one.

Mar 03, 2021 12:46 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Joe Jackson  Thank you!

Sharon Tara  I appreciate the kind words. It's an important topic and some buyers may not really be aware of what the market is like.

Beth Atalay It's a tough time for buyers!! Interesting how requirements vary from state to state.


Mar 03, 2021 01:03 PM
Melissa Jackson
Century 21 Alliance Properties - Azle, TX
Helping You Make The Right Move

Excellent post for both parties. Our market is crazy right now and buyers really need to be prepared.

Mar 04, 2021 07:46 PM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Good post.  I am sharing for others to see.

Mar 05, 2021 11:25 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

When I meet up with new buyers I am cringing inside...if they haven't heard what a competative market is out there right now, I have to gently tell them what is going on and what to expect.  It's depressing in a way, knowing I will be showing them many many homes before they finally "win" a house--it is like a game out there.  Even with excellent credit, a local lender and a substantial down payment--buyers are getting beat out by others who waive appraisals and inspections.  I feel buyers have to know all this up front.

Mar 05, 2021 08:47 PM
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

Great tips Jeff, we have a specific set of Covid guidelines we send to the BA as well as the LA and of course the clients. We've had a couple close calls with sick sellers not telling anyone they were infected until we got to the inspection. Lucky for us they did leave a note on the door, but were surprised we didn't want to still come in anyway and do the inspection. NOPE. 


Mar 06, 2021 04:30 AM
MaryKay Shumway
The Kellstrom Ray Agency, Inc. (Est. 1948) - Sister Bay, WI
Door County Wisconsin's Real Estate Expert

Great post Jeff!  Absolutely the top things our buyers can do in these "still challenging" times (and that 10-20 Offers is, unfortunately (or fortunately) no exaggeration!).  

Mar 09, 2021 05:51 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Melissa Jackson  - Preparation is key these days. And having an understanding of what's going on.


Mar 09, 2021 08:16 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thank you Ginger Harper 

So true Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR  Even when you tell buyers it doesn't always register until they have some experience in the market. It's hard to compete against dozens of other buyers.


Mar 09, 2021 08:18 AM
Esperanza Butler® 818 926 5425
Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - West Hills, CA
Homes For Sale in West Hills, Ca (818) 926-5425

Great post Jeff Dowler. Thanks for sharing 😀


Mar 09, 2021 11:58 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Jeff Dowler, CRS  I missed this great post, just to be clear we needed more than a Mask, Proof of Funds with Preapproval... now we need proof of either that you do not have Covid or Vaccination Papers... Endre

Nov 22, 2021 11:21 PM