The coronavirus has affected almost every industry in the nation, and real estate is no exception. Deemed an essential service in some states and not in others, realty has continued throughout the coronavirus, but realtors have noticed a drop in clients on both the buying and selling ends. If you were considering buying a new home in the summer of 2020, you may be wondering if you should still do so and how? There are good reasons not to give up on finding your dream home this summer.
Perhaps the greatest perk to buying a home now is the record low mortgage rate. June's average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate dropped to 3.13%. When you consider that mortgage rates have averaged 8% over the past 50 years, you can see why buying now makes sense if you need to borrow money.
The other thing you'll find when buying a home this summer is that there is less buying competition. Many buyers have opted-out of the market to wait until the coronavirus situation improves. This means you'll be up against fewer people wanting the same house as you, lessening the chances of a bidding war.
The real estate market is exercising caution around the coronavirus, just like every other industry. Expect that you won't be doing things the usual way, for example:
Finding a Realtor When Buying a Home
Realtors love to meet you in person to win you over as a client. But, is now the time to meet with a stranger face-to-face? If you're thinking no, so are many realtors. They're now offering virtual interviews to introduce themselves to buyers. If the option is not given to you, be sure to ask for it. Most realtors are going to do what they can not to lose a potential client.
In some states like New York, open houses and house tours have been banned. In states where these events are allowed, many sellers still don't want a group of strangers walking through their home during a pandemic. That's why you'll find that many houses for sale are offering virtual home tours. A 3D virtual tour allows a potential buyer the opportunity to see each room completely from any angle. These kinds of tour are giving buyers a fairly realistic sense of the space and flow of a house without having to visit it in person.
If a house you're interested in a house showing in person, be prepared to take any precautions the homeowners request. This could include wearing masks, booties, or gloves. Any item required by the homeowner will likely be provided when you step into the home. But just in case, you may want to bring your own mask and sanitizing solution. The seller's agent also might ask that only one person come to the showing (with their agent).
You've found a house you love, and the sellers have accepted your offer. Now, it's time for a carefully coordinated, social-distancing closing. The first thing to do is confirm whether your state is under shelter-in-place protection, as well as whether the state deems realty an essential service. Based on these findings, you'll likely be doing one of two things:
- The parties will sign closing documents in different rooms or different cars
- If your state allows online notarization, you may be able to close online.
Add an Addendum
Your seller might be savvy enough to have added an addendum stipulating what will happen if a coronavirus event prevents either party from closing on time. Most realtors are using a standard document distributed through their realtor's association. If you don't see a coronavirus addendum, ask for one, and make sure the seller agrees to it.
Buying a house may look different during the coronavirus outbreak, but it's still possible to do so. There are even some unique pluses in the low mortgage rates and decreased competition. Assuming you have the financial stability to buy a home in this economy, don't let the coronavirus stop you.