Published on June 30th, 2020 | by Sunit Nandi0
6 Tips for People Buying a Home During COVID-19
Are you looking for a new home? Then you have probably found your plans unfortunately halted by the coronavirus. We’re not surprised. The pandemic threw the industry into a complete turmoil with the volatile interest rates, the canceled open houses, the extended wait times. Yes. We have really found ourselves in a unique situation that it doesn’t even matter anymore if it’s your first time buying a home or your tenth. Even industry experts are finding themselves clueless.
Now, you have two choices. You can decide to postpone buying your new property until the pandemic eventually quells, or you can still push through with it regardless of the road bumps ahead. Should you do wish to brave the waters, then allow us to share with you a few tips that might help you out. Here they are:
Keep tabs of your credit score
With the Federal Reserve and various financial and credit institutions pulling down interest rates and easing up their requirements in order to accommodate more people and provide assistance in this time of need, one might think that they won’t need to consider their credit scores anymore. Sadly, though, that is not the case. Mortgage rates themselves rely heavily on demand, and thus, can be quite unpredictable. This is the reason why your credit score is even more crucial in order to prove not just your capacity to pay but also your payment habits as well.
Check on your chosen loan product’s availability
Speaking of demand, this will also affect your chosen loan product’s availability. Fortunately, if your original plan runs cold, there are other products and living conditions that you can certainly look into. Getting personal loans for fair credit through LoanStart and other online lending companies is a start. Or you can even consider renting an apartment for now.
See if lower rates are available
On the flip side, if there’s no demand at all, then lower rates are certainly available. Explore all your options as you can and take advantage of them as much as possible. In the case of the coronavirus, we’re seeing an increase in demand for other types of real estate properties, but as of the time of writing this, residential properties, not so much.
Research about closing cost assistance
As we have mentioned above, there are various financial assistance programs in order to help those in need during this global pandemic. This includes those who are looking to apply for a mortgage, especially for those who are among the low to moderate-income tier. In fact, there are state housing finance agencies that offer a second mortgage loan in order to cover downpayment and closing costs aside from the actual mortgage.
Explore alternative home viewing options
There are a few:
- Photo Tour. At the very least, you must be able to obtain high-quality images of every room of the property that you want to get in order to get an idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
- Video Tour. See if you can request for a video tour. Plus points if the seller has already filmed one. It just shows that he is devoted to making a sale during this pandemic and he takes it very seriously. Just like the photos, though, make sure that the video is in high-resolution. The only thing that we don’t really appreciate with video tours is that it is controlled. You’re not really “exploring” the home on your own. This is the reason why we like the next option better.
- Virtual Tour. This is definitely more technical than just a regular video tour, so don’t expect all dealers to have one. However, if indeed one does, make the most out of it, as if you’re actually taking an actual tour of the property.
- Live Tour. Finally, we understand that not everyone would feel comfortable buying a property that they have not seen with their own eyes. Just make sure that the owner has taken the necessary measures to disinfect the place and that you’re not going to view it with other people. Maintain social distancing. Don’t touch anything, and most of all, don’t touch your face. Wear proper personal protective equipment.
The only thing that we really like with the previous digital methods is that in the end, it will allow you to see multiple properties in one sitting in the safety and comforts of your own home.
Here’s a pro tip: Video and virtual tours will only let you see the interiors of the house. At the very least, you’ll get a nice view of the exteriors and the property’s backyard. This is the reason why we recommend you to supplement your digital tours with Google Maps. It will allow you to see the environment that your house is in and a sneak peek into the type of community that your possible future home is located in.
Perform the closing digitally
The closing of a property is traditionally done with a notary present. However, doing so will certainly expose you to the very risks that you have been avoiding so far. Hence, if the dealer is really dedicated to closing the deal, ask him to look for ways for you to perform the closing digitally. It’s important to note, though, that not all states allow this yet but we do believe that this process will be different after the pandemic.
You see, there are certainly ways in order to buy your next property completely online, from the application of financial assistance up to the closing procedure. We’re not saying that there aren’t disadvantages to this. For instance, it is rather easy to miss certain damages to the property like molds and leaks when you’re touring the house virtually. After all, who would create a tour to highlight the elements that they’d rather not let you see in the first place? It is also quite difficult to gauge the physical space of a unit digitally.
A property might look wide in pictures but it can be smaller in real life. The point of this article, though, is to show you that if you really want to purchase a home during this pandemic, then you certainly can. We wish you all the best!