Buying a home is already a stressful experience, and the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the dynamics of the real estate market at a rapid pace. If you’re currently in the market for a home, it’s important to know how the pandemic has affected buyers, and what to expect in the future. Read on for some helpful home buying tips that will inspire you to find the home of your dreams, despite the current news of the day.
Virtual Tours Are on the Rise
With social distancing guidelines in place across the country, seeing a home in person is becoming a rare thing. Many real estate agents are opting for virtual tours where potential buyers can view homes remotely.
These new virtual home tours are partially due to peoples’ hesitation to let strangers into their homes like they normally would during an open house. Other reasons may be that the agents themselves are hesitant, or that buyers would rather see things from a distance.
In April of 2020, a survey from the National Association of Realtors found that 63% of respondents said they took clients on home tours, as opposed to 98% just in February of the same year. Since then, the numbers continue to drop as worries about the COVID-19 pandemic continue.
If you’re looking for a new home, ask about a possible Zoom or Facetime virtual tour. This will allow you to view the areas of the home you’re interested in and ask questions in real-time. 3D tours online are also becoming more popular so buyers can see rooms in detail.
Pandemic Home Buying Tips: Make an Offer Quickly
If you need to move fast, it’s important to make a decision faster than you might have in the past. That’s because home inventories are low, and buyer demand is still high due to low-interest rates.
In some markets, homes are getting offers within days or even hours of being listed. This is great news for sellers, but it might not be so great if you’re a buyer since competition is fierce in this new COVID-19 real estate market.
Make a list of the features, location, and other components of a home that are most important to you. Use this checklist as a guide when you shop for property so you’ll feel confident when you put in an offer.
While not every real estate market is piping hot, the demand for housing, in general, is extremely high. Be ready to put in your offer fast or you run the risk of losing out to another buyer who is waiting in the wings.
Some buyers are making offers on homes sight unseen. This means people are ready to move, even if they haven’t visited the neighborhood or even set foot inside the home.
Think about how important it is for you to buy right now before you take the plunge. Just because the market is busy, that doesn’t mean you can’t wait until things slow down later if you can.
Rates are Super Low
If your credit score is good and you have a decent down payment saved, it’s a great time to consider home buying during the pandemic. The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to extremely low levels, and those rates are still hovering at historic lows.
Many people are refinancing their homes thanks to these ultra-low rates, which also plays a role in the low inventory you see. If you’re a new home buyer, talk to a lender to find out how you can take advantage of these incredibly low rates yourself.
When you get a mortgage with a low-interest rate, you’re paying significantly less each month. This is a great time to buy a new home, especially if you meet all of your lender’s other qualifications.
It’s important to note that not everyone will be able to lock in these historically low rates. If your credit is mediocre or you have other issues, you might not get some of the rates that you see advertised in news stories and on lender websites. Make sure you get several quotes to ensure you’re getting the best rate possible before you commit.
The Future of Home Buying
There is little doubt that the pandemic is causing a significant shift in the way people buy and sell their homes. So, what does the future of the real estate market look like in this new environment?
Markets are constantly changing, so it’s almost impossible to predict where we’ll be in a year or two. However, you can expect house prices to drop as mortgage holders go into default and landlords cannot pay their mortgage due to renter nonpayment.
If you’re willing to be patient, you could find a beautiful home for a fantastic price. When you ponder these home buying tips, keep in mind that your home should be a place you’re happy with for years into the future. Don’t jump into something on a whim unless you’re certain it’s the right home for you.
Real Estate and COVID-19: A New Future Awaits
While the market may change due to COVID-19, some home buying tips like maintaining good credit and saving for a down payment remain. Talk to a lender about mortgage rates, and consult with a local real estate agent who can help you navigate these uncertain times.
If you need home financing or have any questions about the lending process, please visit our website and contact us today for more information.