By Amy Wadas

ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) – The boxes are piling up inside Jason Mignanelli’s duplex in Ross Township.

His family of three is waiting to make the big move to their first home. They’re scheduled to close on their home in McCandless May 28. The problem is they still need to get it inspected. Home inspectors aren’t working right now since they’re not deemed essential in Pennsylvania.

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“I don’t think anyone would want to purchase a home when they weren’t there for the inspection,” said future homebuyer Jason Mignanelli.

When Governor Tom Wolf ordered the closure of non-life sustaining businesses, home inspections, appraisals, final walk-throughs and in-person title insurance activities fell into that category.

However, he did order that in-person activities were allowed with proper social distancing guidelines only for potential homebuyers who signed a contract prior to March 18. The Mignanelli’s missed that deadline by about ten days. Their deal was done March 27.

“We were literally negotiating at that time. We hadn’t signed the papers but were in negotiations and viewing houses at that time,” said Mignanelli.

The Mignanelli’s are concerned that if they can’t get an inspector into their home by the time they’re supposed to close next month, they’ll have to push it back and run the risk of losing the 3 percent mortgage rate they locked in.

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“There is a Pennsylvania Association of Realtors form, a COVID-19 form that allows either party to extend the contract by an additional 30 days without any kind of notice or warning or issue,” said Holland Mortgage Advisors Managing Partner Jonathan Freed.

Freed said flexibility also depends on the mortgage company. There’s also a lot to consider when it comes to interest rates.

“Rates have been all over the map up and down. They seem to have stabilized in the low threes but it’s still a very volatile market,” said Freed.

As for getting that home inspection done during the COVID-19 pandemic?

“Ask them to be first on the list or second on the list and then as soon as those restrictions are eased you’re in line for your inspection,” said home inspector Brian Mishler.

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KDKA’s Amy Wadas asked Governor Wolf’s office if they foresee restrictions easing up for the real estate industry by May 8 when the state starts to gradually re-open. They said “not at this time”.