Buying a home is a big decision and can be an intimidating experience. Buying a home during a pandemic, however, can be downright daunting. Real estate has been deemed an essential service and has continued all throughout the pandemic, just with a few more restrictions and alterations to the home-buying process. For those who are truly ready to take the next step and purchase a new home, it is possible! For those on the fence, here is a rundown of the typical home-buying experience during these trying times to help you decide if now is the right time for you to buy a house.
Buying A Home Pre-Pandemic
Before the coronavirus changed the world, buying a home had a very ritualistic feel to it. There was a process, and everyone had to go through that process. First you needed to get a credit score check to determine what sort of mortgage you could be approved for. Then you needed to budget for your house: what can you afford? How much of a down payment will you need? Do you have enough saved up to cover any unexpected costs? If you hadn’t already, you would need to begin saving for a down payment and begin shopping around for a mortgage. Then you would need to get in touch with a real estate agent. You need to find someone who is compatible with you, maybe sit down and chat and figure out if they’ll be able to meet your needs.
Once all the basics are covered, it’s time to begin checking out houses. Open houses, online research, and showings are all part of the process to finding the perfect home for you. Once you’ve found that sweet spot, you’ll need to make an offer. You’ll need to confer with your real estate agent and determine what a reasonable offer would be; should you go in above asking? Try to negotiate a better price? Should you offer exactly what they’re asking for? You’ll also need to consider any conditions you want to put into your offer. Then you’re going to need home inspections, secure your finances, and do a final walk-through. After all of that, you can finally close on your house. ocuments need to be signed, hands need to be shaken, and paperwork needs to be submitted. All that’s left in the process of buying a home is to move in.
Buying A Home During A Pandemic
So, what’s changed since the pandemic hit? A fair bit, but many people are still moving ahead with the home buying process despite these changes! Buying a home in 2021 does look different than the typical process that we’ve been comfortable with for years. The coronavirus has people questioning if they can make the move. With a stay-at-home order, it’s hard to picture moving into a new home. Now, the process is still possible, in fact, plenty of people are still taking on the real estate market in 2021, there are just a few changes to that process.
Banks and loan companies have switched from in-person meetings to phone calls and video conferencing. In the past, you would typically book an appointment and sit down with a mortgage professional to determine how much you’d be approved for. In 2021, you can “meet” with that professional from the comfort of your own home via video chat.
Saving up for a down payment can be a little trickier during these unstable economic times. It’s hard to save up for a house when you’re unsure if you’ll be able to continue working throughout the lockdowns. If you already have a sizable amount set aside for a down payment, now may be an excellent time to find your dream home, as many who would have begun the process pre-pandemic may be deciding to wait it out a little while longer.
Finding a real estate agent hasn’t changed too much. You can still research them online, review their profiles and previous listings, call them on the phone to discuss the possibility of working with them, and get a feel for their personality and decide if they are right for you. When you do meet with your real estate agent, you’ll need to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and skip the handshake.
Touring and checking out multiple homes is also quite different now. Many sellers are opting to display 3D virtual tours and videos of their homes, only allowing someone to come check out their house when they’re seriously considering it as an option. When you do go into a home to look around, the seller is required to leave all doors open and all the lights turned on so that prospective buyers don’t have to touch anything.
Drive-by home appraisals are the way to go now when buying a house in 2021. Normally, appraisers will tour the home to evaluate the state of the house, but due to COVID-19 protocols, appraisers are examining the exterior of the house, doing their own market research, and viewing photos of the interior. Home inspections are now done without the real estate agent and the buyer present. They go through the home and do their assessments, then report their findings back to the buyers via photos, documents, and videos.
So, is it a good time to buy a house? That depends. If you are ready and willing to make that commitment, if you have already started saving for a down payment, and you’re comfortable with buying a house with the new terms and protocols, now could be a great time to buy a house!
Sifton Properties is an incredible option in today’s real estate market. We have moved to a virtual process – allowing you to view homes in the safety and comfort of your home and our Sales Professionals are ready to walk you through the exciting process of buying a new home! There are a multitude of amazing Sifton neighborhoods fit for every lifestyle, whether you’re finding a larger home to fit your growing family or downsizing to enjoy your retirement, there is a place for you in the collection of award-winning homes that Sifton offers.