Whether you’re looking to buy your first home or you’re a seasoned homebuyer, you may face unique circumstances when purchasing a new home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are a few tips on what you should consider as you begin your search and what to expect during the process.
Is Now the Right Time to Buy?
Mortgage rates are low, which can make buying a home more tempting, but take time to consider if you’re truly ready. Ask yourself questions like:
- Is your income stable?
- Do you have sufficient savings?
- Have you had to use your savings recently?
Having a stable income and sufficient savings is crucial when buying a home. You don’t want to purchase a home only to lose your job shortly after or be faced with a large expense that you can’t handle.
In addition to having savings for a down payment, you should have separate funds available in an emergency fund for unexpected expenses. If you’ve had to tap into your savings at any time during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may indicate that buying a home isn’t the best decision at the moment. Be realistic when reviewing your finances so you don’t create a financial burden for yourself.
View Homes from a Distance
Once you’ve determined you’re ready to buy, you may need to be creative in how you view homes. Talk to your real estate agent and see if they’re available for videoconferencing if you’re unable to see the home in person. The realtor may be allowed to tour the home with you on video chat to show you around the property. Many listings are providing virtual tours and 3D renderings of rooms, which you can use your advantage to determine if the home is right for you and your needs. With these options, you can narrow down your search and limit the number of homes you’ll need to visit in person.
Do Your Due Diligence
Once you’ve decided on a home, ask the sellers to provide disclosures to document any instances of water damage, structural issues, or other problems. Read these items thoroughly so you’re aware of what issues may come along with buying a particular home.
A home inspection can uncover items the sellers may not have known about or other issues, like water damage, that may require costly repairs. Discuss the types of home inspections available with your realtor and which would benefit you. Due to social distancing requirements, you may not be able to attend the home inspection. Read the inspector’s notes carefully and don’t be afraid to ask questions about items that may be red flags for larger issues. It may be helpful to request non-traditional inspections, like a chimney or structural inspection, but be aware that it may be an added expense.
Be Flexible with Your Timeline
Typically, the homebuying process entails strict deadlines for submitting documents and completing tasks. Review the expected timelines carefully and see if you’ll need to ask for any extensions. Be aware that some items, like home inspections, may not be able to be completed as quickly as they have in the past. Be understanding of these extenuating circumstances when setting your expectations, too.
Get (and Stay) Organized
Keeping it all together during COVID-19 is hard enough, but adding a home purchase may bring additional stress. Start by organizing all your required documents, like identification, bank statements, and preapprovals, and make sure they’re all available electronically. In most cases, your documents will be sent, or completed, electronically, so this will make the process less stressful. Create a specific folder on your computer to keep these items in one place.
You’ll want to do the same with any documents you receive from your agent, like seller’s disclosures or inspection notes. Having these handy allows you to reference them quickly if any issues or questions arise.
Our resources, such as our homebuying budget calculator, are designed to help you decide which financing option may be right for you. We also offer a wide array of mortgage products, personalized service, and expertise to guide you in your decision.
If you’re ready to find a home loan that is right for your needs and budget, call us or browse our mortgage rates today.