The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unique challenges to daily life and nearly all industries, including real estate. From home showings to deal closings, just about every area of buying and selling property has felt the impact.
If you’re in the market for a new home, finding one is still possible, but you will have far from the typical buying experience. Keep these simple tips in mind to help you navigate the Covid-19 buying experience successfully.
Set Your Limits Right Away
The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced a lot of snags into the real estate process. Decide what you can live with right at the start of your search. Otherwise, you might spend a lot of time trying to get a house only to have the deal fall apart because of a non-negotiable issue on your end.
If an in-person home inspection with precautions isn’t available, for example, would you accept watching it via a livestream? What if the appraiser is only willing to do an appraisal from the street, without entering the home? Once you know what your limits are, you’ll be able to remove homes with personal deal breakers from your list early on.
Be Ready to Go Solo
Social distancing rules will impact every touchpoint in your buying process, including the home showing, mortgage transaction, home inspection and the legal side. If you’re buying your home with your spouse, partner or another person, you may need to go it alone or take a backseat yourself at times.
Decide who will do all in-person parts of the process and what tasks each of you will handle at the start of your home search. By dividing up the work and preparing for some pandemic-related adjustments, you’ll start your hunt for the perfect home off on the right foot.
Find an Agent With Creative Solutions
In these times, you’ll need a real estate agent who is willing to go above and beyond to help you find your new home. You’re not going to want to buy a home just based on seeing some photos online. Look for an agent who is using all the tools available to help clients see and find their perfect homes.
Prepare for a Digital Tour
As Forbes notes, the use of FaceTime, Zoom, 3-D virtual tours and other tech tools has taken the place of traditional in-person home showings across the country.
Take full advantage of these tools to help you find your new home. If there’s a tech option you’d like to use for a home tour that’s not listed, contact the agent and ask about trying it.
If your area is still allowing in-person tours in some situations, learn all of the relevant guidelines you’ll have to follow in advance. At the very least, you will need to refrain from touching things, wear protective gear and stay six feet apart from others at all times during the tour.
Start the Mortgage Process Immediately
Part of a successful home search is knowing how much home you can afford as early as possible. Business Insider recommends kicking off the mortgage process as early as you can, even if you haven’t found your dream home just yet.
Mortgages are taking longer because of various factors related to the pandemic. You don’t want to waste time looking at homes outside of your price range or end up waiting around for your lender to move forward once you do find your home.
Gather Employment Documentation
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused mass unemployment nationwide, with Reuters reporting that over 700,000 jobs disappeared in March alone. Naturally, this has made lenders leery when it comes to employment verification.
You will need as much proof of your continuing employment as you can possibly gather for your mortgage lender, including paystubs, statements from your employer and other documentation. Keep in mind that your lender might also repeatedly ask you to verify employment throughout the process because of the current economic uncertainty.
You can find your dream home, but you’ll need to adjust to this new normal if you want to seal the deal. With a little planning and flexibility, your new home is still within reach.