What to Know About Buying a Home During a Pandemic
So you want to purchase a home, but the coronavirus pandemic has turned life upside down. Many non-essential businesses are closed, people have been advised to remain close to home, and social distancing is ideal when interacting in person. Not to mention, with unemployment rates continuing to rise, banks have changed regulations to try and reduce their risks.
From the outside looking in, it would seem that buying a house is impossible. Fortunately, that’s far from the truth. Though there are a lot of changes to the homebuying process in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, you can still make your dreams come true this year. Below is a look at some of the things you should be aware of:
There Are Mortgage Programs Available
It’s true that some banking institutions and private mortgage companies have changed the eligibility requirements for borrowers. With people losing their jobs during the pandemic, lending companies are worried that borrowers may find themselves unable to pay their mortgages. To reduce their risks, they have requested that borrowers have higher credit scores, larger down payments, and a “solid” job.
The good news, however, is that there are other options for those interested in buying a house during the pandemic. You can still find mortgage programs with very affordable interest rates, reasonable eligibility requirements, downpayment assistance, and more. For example, if you’re a US veteran, you might qualify to get VA loan rates as low as 3%. Simply looking for these types of assisted mortgage programs can help you save money and get your home despite the pandemic.
Play it Safe When Viewing Properties
Making an offer on a home or purchasing it before you’ve had a chance to view it isn’t necessarily ideal. You’re investing a lot of money into this property and need to make sure that it’s something you’re satisfied with.
During the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll find that there are a lot of virtual tours being produced for interested parties. While a detailed tour can give you a better idea of what the property looks like, this does not trump an in-person visit. Use virtual tours to narrow down the number of properties you need to visit.
Once you’ve seen footage of a property you’re interested in, it is highly recommended that you ask to see the property before you think about an offer and escrow. While you’re there, of course, you want to play it safe and be cautious. This means wearing face masks and gloves along with practicing social distancing.
You’ll Be Relying on Technology a Lot
In an effort to keep real estate agents, homeowners, home buyers, and the surrounding communities safe during the coronavirus pandemic, many changes have been implemented. You’ll find that a bulk of the home buying process has been digitized. This way, you can conduct business without having to risk your health.
From contacting and interviewing real estate agents and viewing prospective properties online to applying for mortgages and signing contracts, everything is being done online. Be sure to provide updated contact information so you can easily be reached.
Ensure that you’ve added your real estate agent as a contact in your phone and email list so that you get all notifications. You should also be sure that you have a computer, laptop, or smartphone that is capable of downloading software and applications you may need for video conferencing as well as document viewing and signing.
Closing Could Take Time
Once you’ve found your dream home, you should be aware that it can take some time before you sign the paperwork and receive your keys. While typically, a property could close in less than a month, some areas are reporting 60-day delays or longer. You’re reminded to be patient.
Mortgage companies are backed up with applications, home inspectors and property appraisers have had to slow down their jobs, and sheltering in place have caused some property owners to have to extend their stay longer than they’d hoped. Be encouraged that your closing will happen, it could just take a bit longer than times past.
The real estate industry may have had to make significant adjustments to the home buying and home selling processes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Be that as it may, real estate professionals across the country are working hard to provide you with quality services that you need to safely purchase the home of your dreams.