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Buying a home during Covid-19

From virtual tours to COVID-19 contract clauses, buying a home today is different from 60 days ago.

SIDE NOTE: Every market is different. Hire a local professional in your area to give you up to date advice

The coronavirus is impacting every aspect of life. If you worked in an office, you are now working from home. If you worked at a restaurant, chances are you are now laid off. Some of us are even living under stay at home orders.

When it comes to buying a house, what should you do now? How has that changed?

The home buying process changed drastically over just a few days. Interest rates fluctuating, canceled open houses, and home sellers not wanting to show their homes have left people wondering what is next. This is a situation; no home buyer has ever experienced.

For some, the pandemic has stopped their home search cold turkey, while others who didn’t expect to be in the market for a new home are now moving because they’ve lost a job or need to care for a family member who lives elsewhere.

Buying a home right now is made more daunting by a volatile stock market, historic unemployment, and fears of a widespread recession that some call depression era level. Buyers who were hoping to enter the market this spring—traditionally the busiest season—are wondering what home buying will look like later in the month, as spring turns to summer, or even in the next year. Some have even stopped the home search cold turkey.

SIDE NOTE: Stock market and housing market are two different things

If you want to continue with the process, here are our key thoughts and recommendations.

1. Owning is Safer than renting: We get that home ownership has greater expenses than renting. However, renting comes with a landlord. Landlords do not have to be understanding and compassionate. Off course it is nice when they do, but their job is to collect rent. If they have a portfolio filled with renters who may not be paying, who knows what collection measures they will implement. Home ownership on the other hand means you have a mortgage. Mortgage companies have you for 15-30 years. There are policies and procedures in place just in case you must miss a month or two. Landlords will be calling on the 5th.

2. Mortgage rates are low: Yes, it is true that mortgage rates have been jumping up and down. Even with that, they are still lower now than they have been in years.

SIDENOTE: We had a client close on a 5 bed, 3 bath, $270,000 home and they have a mortgage for $1218, all thanks to a really low interest rate.

3. Embrace Technology: With many properties passing on showings and open houses being cancelled, virtual tours are becoming an industry standard. In fact, it may help you sift through some of the maybe properties. Make sure you hire a real estate professional that can utilize social media, Facebook messenger, Zoom and any video chatting platform

4. Find an agent who is aggressively dealing with the pandemic: Now is the time for real estate professionals to go above and beyond. Make sure the person you hire has a plan for your safety throughout the entire process. This includes digital closings and more.

Buying a home is a personal experience based on your personal needs and circumstances. Always think of you first, block out all the noise. Home ownership promotes safety and security while giving you a piece of mind. If owning a home was goal of yours, continue your search. Navigating the home buying process has always required a steady hand and experience. Now more than ever, rely on help of industry professionals.

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