Should you buy a home during COVID-19? Even though house hunting during this turbulent time can look slightly different than in previous years, we’re here to tell you it’s not impossible. While the rules have changed for touring homes and meeting in-person with a real estate agent or mortgage lender, it is still possible to cross the threshold into the home of your dreams in 2020. Here’s how.
Make Sure the Move is Right for You
Experts agree that if you were ready to buy a home before the pandemic you should forge forward. But with caution. While interest rates are at a historic low, the decision to buy a home hinges on more than just the going rate. When it comes to buying a new home a low interest rate can be a game changer. However, job stability and finding the right home are also two key ingredients that can’t be overlooked.
You Need to Get Pre-Approved
Being causally interested in a home isn’t going to cut it. Sellers aren’t taking chance on their safety and opening their home to just anybody. In fact, you must be preapproved before you begin to house hunt or go on a showing. And also prove that you are in it to win it. Mortgage preapproval is when a lender determines if you are a qualified home buyer based on your credit history, employment and financial assessment. The process isn’t complicated and in some cases can be completed in three steps. Upon approval you will receive a letter stating the specific amount, interest rate and loan terms. In addition, knowing what you can afford upfront can streamline your home buying experience.
Check the Housing Market in Your Area
We don’t have to tell you that since March the housing market throughout the U.S. has changed. Some areas have remained the same. Competition for homes in other areas of the country have declined. While other areas are experiencing low inventory. To find out what you can expect it’s wise to investigate how the housing market in the area you want to buy a home is responding to COVID-19. Setting a goal to find your dream home in four months may not be realistic. In the long run it’s best to proceed with patience and alter your expectations accordingly.
Use Your Time Wisely While Sheltering in Place
Virtually anything can be bought online these days. From toilet paper to bleach, hand sanitizer and groceries it’s easier than ever not to have leave your home. And buying a home during a pandemic is no exception. Actually it can be to your advantage. While sheltering in place you can cover a lot of ground researching online. Real estate apps make it super easy to narrow down options based on price range, neighborhoods, school districts, square footage, housing styles and much more. They can also save a lot of time and provide thorough results. However, they aren’t all created equal. Be sure to download the best app for your particular situation.
Take a Virtual 3-D Home Tour
Who doesn’t like to save time? Touring homes in-person is both time consuming and stressful. While it is fun for a day or two, the thrill tends to wear off quickly. In fact, not only are consumers using this viable option, so are real estate agents. According to Zillow, in April, there was a 408% increase in agents using the 3D touring option. Online home viewing in the comfort and safety of your current space lets you view multiple listings in just a short amount of time. After you take the virtual tour of each home write down the ones that meet your criteria. Then it’s important to narrow it down further. In-person showings are either a no go or are being extremely limited. Paring it down to your top three is a good place to start. If you strike out then go to the next one on the list.
How to Setup a Showing
Set up an initial appointment via face time or a zoom meeting. In today’s real estate market touring a model home on a Sunday afternoon on a whim may not be possible. If you find a property you’re interested in it’s wise to find out how the builder or seller is handling showings. Most likely they’ll have the option for you to choose between an onsite and virtual appointment. The same is true if you are working with a real estate agent. An agent will be able to provide guidance and set up appointments for you.
What to Expect When Touring a Home
With social distancing orders in place and protocols altered to keep safety at the forefront, here are a few things to anticipate when touring a home:
- Showings may be limited to two or three at a time.
- You will be expected to maintain six feet apart.
- Only decision makers may be allowed during the showing. Leave kids and other family members at home.
- Masks are required and hand sanitizer provided.
- Buyers will be asked to not touch anything. Gloves may be provided.
- To ensure you are following proper safety levels during the showing consult the builder, real estate agent, or seller for exact protocols.
Tour a Home at Travisso Today
To keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic we are taking precautions. If you see a home that you love online please contact the builder as hours of operation may have changed. All of our builders are open virtually to assist you. You can call, email, or live chat. They’ll be more than happy to answer questions or set up an appointment for your safety, convenience and comfort. For additional questions or information call 512-243-8583.