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4 Tips when Buying a Home Amid the Pandemic

a realtor holding a house key and beside him is a couple

Few industries were spared from the dire economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. But what the real estate industry has shown is that it is possible to thrive amid adversity.

Purchasing a home in these unsettling times won’t be the same pre-COVID. That’s why it’s now increasingly important for buyers to learn the most useful home buying tips that will aid them in navigating the current landscape. Below are several suggestions.

The need for extra patience in mortgage application

Job security hasn’t been exactly a given since the pandemic began. With pay cuts and unemployment becoming an unfortunate result of state-enforced lockdowns to hamper the spread of the coronavirus, lenders are becoming more discerning when approving loans.

For instance, it’s not uncommon for lenders to double-check a potential borrower’s employment status. Some may ask for the most recent payslip and call up an employer for verification.

Others may revise their credit score requirements or down payment terms. Back in April, JPMorgan Chase started requiring customers to have a credit score of 700 or above and secure a 20% down payment before getting a new mortgage.

Check your mortgage lender if they are enforcing new requirements in lieu of the pandemic. In complying with the extra steps, you’ll eventually get that mortgage loan and be one step closer to the home of your dreams.

Use tech-driven or non-traditional approaches

In-person interactions have drastically decreased in many corporate transactions. In the real estate sphere, buyers and sellers — as well as their respective agents — have turned to technology in order to adapt.

From virtual or 3D tours to drive-through closing services, the industry has done quite well to ensure that real estate transactions will continue. But for some buyers out there, it may take some time to get used to the digital platform.

Here are some tech-focused real estate tips for buyers:

  • When examining a listing, see if a virtual tour will be conducted and how it will be done. Inquire about it if the details aren’t already there. Make sure to be aligned with the seller on the specific medium to be used, whether it’s FaceTime, Google Meet, or others.
  • There are limitations to viewing a property from a computer or phone screen. Make sure to communicate to the seller if you wish to take a clearer second look at any part of the house.
  • Request your agent to be present on-site to help spot details that you might miss. They can also verify if the home looks just as great in-person.
  • Several states now allow remote online notarization (RON), where a signer and a notary can affix their signatures on a digital document from separate remote locations. Check for notary law updates to see if your state allows RON.

Build your financial foundation for tomorrow

As mortgage rates plunge to one of the lowest levels on record, it’s tempting to get in on the action. This may be a suitable decision for someone whose employment has been mostly stable since March. It’s different for someone having difficulty staying financially afloat due to the current health crisis.

Don’t feel like you’re missing out on the unexpected 2020 real estate boom if your current financial status isn’t as stable as you’d like it to be. Instead, use this time to build a solid financial foundation. With emergency savings, retirement, and key investments in place, you’ll be well-positioned to take advantage of future industry trends.

A real estate agent is your best ally

Buying a home while a pandemic is still ongoing is not impossible, but it will be more difficult than what is normally the case. Showings and closings must be done with a ton of creativity to hurdle new obstacles.

An experienced agent is just the expert to help you find ways to navigate the new real estate landscape with ease. Even as new concepts like virtual home walkthroughs may have some little snags in the sense that some details are lost in the video, your agent and their keen eye can make sure you’re not missing anything.

Additionally, if you’re unfamiliar with a particular neighborhood or real estate market, it may be challenging to examine the area in person to get a proper gauge. A seasoned realtor’s years of knowledge and expertise in that market will come in handy for sure. If you need help choosing the right one, check this blog.

Get the best advice for buying a home from our team at RE/MAX Direct. Call us at 610.430.8100 or send us an email at remaxdirectwc(at)gmail(dotted)com. Using the latest sales strategies and emergent technologies, we’ll help you find your ideal home — whether there’s a pandemic or not.