You may have wondered if COVID-19 restrictions on travel and business make it impossible to sell or buy a luxury property in Hawaii right now.  All events associated with the real estate transaction process, including home inspection, valuation, and escrow services, are important in its businesses.  It is important to professionals take care to maintain the health and safety of themselves and others.  During COVID-19 the basics of real estate transactions remain unchanged mostly due to the adaption of technology in transactions.

The real estate industry works in a virtual environment nowadays.  Apart from the closing documents such as the deed and mortgage note that have to be notarized rest of the transactions can be done electronically   Fifteen years ago, if you had bought a luxury home in Hawaii, you might have gone out looking for a day, then sat down at a coffee shop with your agent as you filled in and signed the offer.  But nowadays electronic signatures have been permitted in real estate transactions in Hawaii.  Digital signing platforms and smartphones have made it easy to learn, sign, and submit transaction-related paperwork without anyone needing to contact paper or head to office.  The mortgage lender transfers the financial records to a safe database and gave you paperwork to register online along the way.  All documents and funds shall be processed by the escrow.  It is quite normal to see an escrow if both the buyer and seller are out of state at the time of signing.

Hawaii state and county offices, including the Bureau of Conveyances and the tax offices, are “open for business” although most of the staff are working virtually.

Measures Followed During the Lockdown Restrictions

  • The first thing you will notice that is special when you list the property or ready to submit a bid at a home is an addendum intended to address the problems relating to COVID-19. On the listing side, the regular contract contains language requiring sellers to allow entry for open houses during appropriate hours.  The COVID-19 addendum states that there will not be open houses and will be screened before agreeing to show to buyers even though the home is vacant.  It is common sense that MeloMelo prefers to show the luxury home virtually rather than run the risk of transmitting the virus.
  • COVID-19 addendum to the purchasing contract effectively ensures that if there are any contingencies or commitments under the contract that cannot be met within the timeline stipulated by the COVID-19 limitations, such contingency times are immediately prolonged and the count starts after the contingency constraints have been lifted.
  • All real estate professionals including inspectors, appraisers, and escrow firms are taking action to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. This means that the inspectors and appraisers wear protective gear and disinfects as they go through the house.  The escrow companies are offering drive-up signatures, where you can have your documents notarized without getting out of the car.  If you arrange a sign-in person the room will be disinfected before and after and the physical distance will be maintained by all concerned.  At the point, no congratulatory hugs!

If you are registering with a mobile notary in another state check on the restrictions imposed on notary services by your own state.  Some states have implemented regulatory protocols for online notarization.  Allow ample time, because these practices can find it challenging to sign in front of a notary and overnight the notarized documents to Hawaii on the same day as they are sent for signature.

Escrow firms have told their clients that they would fill the gap coverage because if for some reason Hawaii decided to shut down the Bureau of Conveyances due to the pandemic.  While it may not be business as usual the buying and selling of luxury property in Hawaii is still going on.

The MeloMelo Residence is a luxury villa with 3060 sq. ft of air-conditioned space and 925 sq.  ft of covered lanai outdoor living space in one of the greatest neighborhoods of Kona-Palisade, Hawaii.  Contact us for property visit (302) 601-1247.