B to B Home Inspections’ Response to COVID-19

Ed is even donning his mask up on the roof tops!

Many of us are hunkering down amid the coronavirus pandemic.  The majority of South Jersey is following the Governor’s orders to stay home and maintain strong social distancing efforts when out and about for essentials.  As we are more than aware, the months ahead are uncertain.  Without a crystal ball, the powers that be find us in a “between a rock and a hard place” situation in the battle for public health and saving our economy.  The real estate community is deemed essential in New Jersey and those working within the industry are getting quite creative.      

Before this shut down hit in New Jersey, many homes were under contract or just about to be in contract.  Closings are still happening with a bit of creative thinking.  Drive-thru closings – if you ever thought that was possible – are now a thing.  Title company arrives in one car, buyers, sellers and realtors show up in their own cars. Everyone brings their own pens and 6 feet is maintained by all while donning masks and gloves! Let’s just hope it’s not a windy day!! But hey, it works. 

Home inspections are an integral part of the real estate transaction.  While some home inspectors are inspecting homes today in a business as usual fashion, B to B Home Inspections has made fundamental changes to protect all parties involved. 

In the beginning of March, as discussion was swirling that schools might close in our area, Ed Lawton, licensed home inspector at B to B Home Inspections stopped shaking hands with clients and realtors.  He began doing the elbow bump.  He considered the “Wuhan Shake” but he didn’t want his big boots to accidentally bruise a shin.  He did get some funny looks and disgruntled clients who took it personally, but now, surely, they are grateful for that level of protection. 

March 13th, Ed’s middle-schooler was told that school would no longer be in session, while his high school freshman attended his last day to learn the process of this new online learning.  It got real, folks! Gone are any type of formal greeting, limited to a nod of acknowledgement from at least six feet away.

His wife, a retired nurse with a background in infectious disease, was eyeing how quickly Coronavirus was spreading.  Battling Crohn’s disease, she also knew that she was considered high risk for complications.  News reports of individuals in medically induced coma’s were flashing across the screens. That was all Ed needed to hear and he decided to wear his respirator and don gloves EVERYWHERE, regardless of the goofy looks and smug comments from many in the community at that time.  We could not order n95 masks, none were to be found.  He had one in the garage and used it for as long as he could. But he did have his double-sided filtered respirator that he used when inspecting crawlspaces.  A good scrubbing with Clorox wipes and a fresh box of gloves, Ed has not left the house since without wearing the two pieces of personal protective equipment.  And hand washing – well he has been doing that so fervently, his hands are dried and cracked.  Apparently, real men don’t use lotion! Ha!

Ed with his one and only n95 mask before it wore out!

He has turned down a few home inspections since.  But he has been busy performing inspections in vacant homes for absent buyers and realtors.  In return, he has been on the phone with buyers either during the inspection or after the inspection – a buyer’s preference. 

So, in a nutshell – Ed Lawton of B to B Home Inspections is still providing inspections with the following adjustments >>

  1. Home to be inspected must be vacant, as in, the seller or renters are not residing within the home.  Update: As of 5/1/20, Ed is now inspecting occupied homes, however, the seller must leave the property in advance.
  2. Buyers are asked to not attend the inspection for the safety of all parties. Update: As of 5/1/20, Ed is permitting buyers to attend, however, when Ed is inspecting the exterior, the buyers may go inside. When he is inspecting the interior, the buyers must go outside. A review of the property will be discussed outside the home at the end of the inspection. All buyers must wear masks.
  3. Ed still dons his respirator and gloves for each and every inspection.
  4. Clorox or Lysol wipes are used to wipe his way into a home and wipe his way out.  For example, he wipes the lockbox, the key, the doorknob, the counters in the kitchen and anything else he touches such as light switches, doorknobs, faucets, toilet levers, etc.  He gets a new wipe and exits the same way he entered. 
  5. Contracts must be signed and emailed back before the home inspection. Update: As of 5/1/20, contracts can be signed online using Docusign.
  6. Payments can be made via PayPal – and you do not have to have a PayPal account to pay. 

Wiping Everything, Masking Everywhere

It is Ed’s desire to keep you safe while he also keeps his family safe. The adjustments are subject to change in the future but for now, this is the plan.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ed directly by calling or texting 609-287-7605.