Monday April 13, 2020
In these trying times of social distancing and economic uncertainty, many might think that buying a home during COVID-19 is a far-fetched idea. However, with mortgage rates currently favoring buyers and all the down time on people’s hands right now, making a move might actually be a good idea.
Thanks to technology and innovative safety measures, it’s still possible to virtually tour homes, secure a loan, and actually complete a new home purchase while observing social distancing guidelines. Here are some helpful tips for navigating the potential challenges of home buying during COVID-19.
Get Started with the Buying Process Now
There is no need to wait until you’ve actually found the perfect home to begin dealing with lenders and real estate professionals. Quite a few processes can take place online or via phone and Internet communications. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a smart move, as even during ‘normal’ circumstances, some home sellers won’t even deal with potential buyers without a pre-approval letter from a lender.
Starting early with lenders is highly recommended during the COVID-19 crisis, as an influx of refinancing applications has many companies overwhelmed, hence slowing down the approval process for new loans. Other slowdowns in the buying process may occur within the realm of appraisals, as many of these pros are asking for quarantine clauses to be installed into contracts and are taking extra precautions that can cause delays.
Be Prepared for a Virtual Buying Experience
A good deal of the home buying experience takes place in the virtual zone already, but COVID-19 has forced even more work to be managed online. Appraisers are more often working with virtual tools, and many open houses are held exclusively online.
Digital tours mimic the experience in a sense, and if you have an agent online with you during the tour, they can help you with answers concerning materials and condition as you move from room to room. Serious buyers will definitely want to work with companies offering these 3-D home tours to avoid putting themselves at risk of falling ill.
Avoid In-Person Tours Until You’re Serious About Buying
Some people simply won’t feel confident in their purchase if buying a home sight unseen and will require an in-person tour. Depending on the social distancing guidelines in the community that the home is located in, reserving a tour can present challenges and require certain rules to be followed.
For example, you might be required to use hand sanitizer, wear protective gloves, don a face mask and foot covers during a showing. Some real estate agents are taking extra measures by opening all doors and cabinetry to minimize the need to touch handles while looking at the home and it’s amenities.
Pay Attention to Mortgage Rates
With historically low rates, now is a great time to buy but it also makes getting pre-approved more essential. You’ll want to lock in on some of the currently unprecedented rates, but you’ll also want to remain flexible as the rates are constantly fluctuating during COVID-19 and could drop lower (or go higher) at any time.
Give Yourself Extra Time to Move
Keep in mind the funnel effect of COVID-19, with cleaning services, movers, donation places and contractors changing the way they do business. You might need to be more flexible and allow extra time for these service providers to get you scheduled. If any lesson is learned from the pandemic, it’s to expect the unexpected.
Our real estate teams are well prepared to handle your home-buying needs from a safe distance. Take a look at Landmark 24 Homes' move-in-ready homes or get started with a virtual tour from the privacy and safety of your current abode.