The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the real estate industry hard. In April, the volume of mortgage applications fell 24% compared to a year ago.1 As the market recovers, you can buy a house now despite the challenges and potential restrictions in your area. Having fewer buyers looking may put you at an advantage. The market is less competitive, so you may have more flexibility to negotiate. Plus, interest rates on mortgage loans are low.
Should I Buy a House Now?
Coronavirus has changed the real estate industry, but it certainly has not stopped buying and selling activity. Buying a home is a different process than it was a few months ago. By taking the right precautions, you can find the right home and maintain your safety with the following tips:
Research the Market
There are many things to know when buying a house. You can find a great deal of information online, from market data to real estate listings. If you’re looking for things to do at home, this can occupy your time and provide valuable insights. Look at local home values, average selling prices, realtor credentials, and online reviews. You can even contact friends and relatives who may have a real estate agent to recommend.
Preapproval shows you’re qualified to borrow, for how much, and at what mortgage interest rate. It might be difficult to meet with a lender now. Some are allowing preapproval online. Even if you can’t schedule a meeting yet, check your credit reports and credit score and gather all the information you will need. This includes W-2 statements, pay stubs, and other income information; personal identification; and details on your assets from documents such as bank and investment account statements.
Protect Yourself During In-Person Meetings
If the only option is to meet in person, take extra precautions such as driving to the property separately from the agent. Take along hand sanitizer. The virus can survive on various surfaces, so sanitizing helps prevent transmission. A face covering will protect you, as well, so have one on when you meet with the real estate agent or seller.
In general, real estate agents have adapted to the crisis with alternate means of communication. You can start by speaking with them by phone, email, or video chat. Realtors can even set up virtual tours during which you can see the home and ask questions about the property’s condition, design features, and other important topics. Agents are also offering appraisals and even finalizing deals online.
Prepare for Delays
Meeting state and local requirements can be difficult, depending on the circumstances. Many real estate contracts are including a COVID-19 addendum to extend closing dates. Causes for delays include difficulty traveling to sign documents, a buyer under mandatory quarantine, a lack of inspectors/appraisers, and the disruption of business or government services.
Sign Up for Our Loan Programs
Whether you’re looking for traditional, conventional, VA, USDA, or FHA loans, The People’s Federal Credit Union can assist you. We are committed to serving your financial needs. That means finding loan terms and mortgage rates that suit your budget. For more information on home mortgage loans in Amarillo, contact TPFCU at 800-359-8571 today.