This is your year. You’ve prepped and planned for 2020 to be the year you finally invest in a home, only to have a pandemic turn things upside down. However, there’s good news; you can still find your dream home. You just may not be able to settle on it until the fall, depending on where you live. So, let’s take a look at some tips for those of you looking to purchase a home during quarantine.
The internet is your greatest tool
Your ability to purchase a home right now hinges on whether or not your local government has allowed real estate services to continue. Regardless of local regulations, you should begin your home search on the internet, sifting through listings, and narrowing down choices.
In those areas where you can continue with a home sale, take advantage of a virtual home tour while social distancing measures are in place. The beauty of the virtual home tour is that you cut out travel time between properties. You’re also able to narrow down your top choices to make an appointment for an in-person, socially-distanced tour.
Those wishing to reduce their risk further can make an offer on a property or plan to tour once restrictions are lifted. It’s worth noting that the available inventory in Alabama remains low. And with new home construction at a virtual standstill, inventory levels aren’t likely to increase soon. So, if you like a home, you want to act.
Secure financing ASAP
If you’re financing your home purchase, realize that mortgage rates are all over the place. Get started with your mortgage paperwork as soon as possible so that you can lock in your rate when you feel confident. You also want to get a head start on tackling all of the lender requirements, especially since the entire process, from application to the appraisal, is taking more time than usual.
Embrace virtual showings
Technology is keeping things going in what would otherwise be a barren time for home sales. To be sure, however, it’s a strange time to buy a home. There are several ways agents are presenting homes to buyers right now.
Buying a home during coronavirus means your real estate agent is your greatest tool in the process. Find an agent who is available and offering virtual tours, so that you can limit exposure and adhere to social distancing rules.
With a live virtual tour, agents can explore areas as directed, and answer questions on-demand about aspects of the home. And if there’s an area of particular interest, you’re able to have the agent return to give you another view.
Apart from in-person tours, which are highly regulated for safety, virtual tours are where it’s at right now.
Again, this is a strange time for all aspects of the housing market. Selling, buying, touring, inspections, appraisals—every area of the process is suffering the effects of a global pandemic. Because brokers, agents, loan officers, appraisers, and inspectors are having to get creative to get things accomplished under social distancing and shelter-in-place mandates. As such, settling on a home is, understandably, taking longer than usual.
Prepare yourself for things to hit speed bumps and roadblocks in the buying process, and you’ll be better able to adjust to wait times and workarounds. The light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is your new home; you just have to be patient getting there.
For more on COVID-19 and the real estate comeback, check out HomeLight’s Top Agent Insight Survey from Q2.