House hunting has never been easy. This is especially true if you live in an area with a hot market with lots of competition. On average, it can take around four or five months to buy a home.
When you also add in the complication of a pandemic, the problems can multiply. So what can you do when you're home shopping during Covid-19?
The good news is that you can still go house hunting and buy your dream home! Read on for your guide to buying a house in today's new normal.
How COVID-19 Changed House Hunting
There have been a lot of adjustments to daily life in the age of COVID-19. Wearing masks, disinfection, and social distancing has become part of our everyday lives. Following these basic guidelines can stop the spread of the virus and keep yourself and others safe.
In the past, buying a house meant lots of visits to different homes, meeting with your realtor, and in-person closings. But in our present world, this has had to change.
For example, if a seller is still living in their home, they may not want strangers in and out of their home. They may need to disinfect after each visit or feel uncomfortable with the idea that an infected person could be in their space. Likewise, a home buyer may not want to enter into someone else home with so many unknowns.
Some recent changes include virtual showings and closings, restricted physical access on home tours, and scheduled visits. Open houses aren't possible in many places, depending on local ordinances restricting the number of people in one area.
As people have spent more time at home, both working and with their families, they've become more aware of what they really want and need. This had made looking for a house more specific. For example, a space for a home office may be more essential now than it was before.
Pros and Cons of Buying a House During a Pandemic
There are a lot of benefits to buying a house during a pandemic. During the economic downturn, interest rates were at record lows. This meant that the amount that was borrowed will have less interest, resulting in a cheaper mortgage overall.
However, this has also resulted in an extremely competitive housing market as buyers are looking to take advantage of these low rates.
In many places, it's also a seller's market, which means that there are more buyers looking for a home than there are houses available. This drives up the price, which can price many potential homeowners out of the market.
It's no secret that the economy has been struggling and many Americans have been out of work. This has resulted in a lot of uncertainty with lending. If you're not sure your job is secure right now, then home shopping is likely best left for when you have more confidence in a regular paycheck.
How to Buy a Home During a Pandemic
There is a lot to get through when buying a house at any time. But when it comes to our current reality, things can become more difficult. Below are some of the top tips to help you navigate the process during COVID-19.
1. Get Your Mortgage Pre-Approved
With all the ups and downs of the job market, take some time to get your mortgage pre-approved. Not only will this help you set a realistic budget, but it will also help the process of making offers and closing much smoother.
Contact a mortgage lender that has a good reputation and is trustworthy. Take some time to shop around before going with the first company you contact. Make sure you know what paperwork and documents you'll need, such as W-2s and pay stubs.
Once you're ready to move forward, make sure you keep copies and notes on everything to help you track where you are in the process.
2. Prepare Yourself for Virtual Tours
It's likely the first glimpse of your future home is going to be done virtually. Sometimes realtors will post videos of walk-throughs or you can schedule a time for a tour via Zoom or FaceTime.
If you've decided to move forward, there may be time for you to physically tour the home. However, make sure you're following the guidelines and protocols that your realtor will communicate. This may include wearing gloves and masks, using hand sanitizer, or even only visiting part of the home.
3. Move Quickly
If you've found a home that you want to make an offer on, don't hesitate. Many houses move quickly and you need to be ready to make a strong, competitive offer.
This may be leaving out any conditions on your offer or offering more than the asking price. But also make sure you're not turning a blind eye to serious issues such as mold or foundation issues. These are serious issues that can lead to costly repairs down the road.
4. Be Willing to Compromise
Make sure you're not being too picky, though. In a seller's market, it's not always wise to write conditions into your offer. Especially if they're receiving multiple offers, the sellers may reject yours if a better one comes along.
Be willing to overlook minor cosmetic flaws and preferences. After all, the goal is a new, comfortable home!
5. Work With Someone You Trust
Make sure you choose a realtor who you trust. Especially in a tight housing market during a pandemic, you want to make sure whoever you work with will help you achieve your goals.
A good realtor can help educate you on the market, write a strong and competitive offer, and advise you on various homes. Choose wisely, as their input can be influential on your future for many years to come!
Yes, You Can Buy a House During COVID
House hunting during a pandemic may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. As long as you know what to expect, you can prepare for shopping for a home in this new manner.
We're here to help you! Contact us today to help get you the best price on a home you'll love. Your next home is within reach!