The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every industry, and that includes real estate. With social distancing and other concerns at the forefront, you may be thinking of postponing your house hunt. However, while the way you will go about viewing and buying a home has changed, there’s no reason to wait. The housing market continues to remain strong, and real estate agents have quickly adapted to showing homes during the pandemic. If you're looking at new construction like the homes for sale in Windsor Island Resort, or resale homes in elsewhere don’t let the pandemic stop you.
Real Estate May Be Essential
While most states have reopened and are allowing non-essential businesses to operate once again, there is always the chance that could get rolled back. However, even if it does, many states, including Florida, have listed real estate as an essential business. Companies related to buying a house, including inspectors, appraisers, construction and maintenance companies, and closing companies, are also considered essential.
The Process Is Streamlined
In an effort to reduce in-person contact, the home buying process has actually been streamlined. Real estate agents are going online, creating video walk-throughs and 3D tours of homes. While some did this before the pandemic, now most agents are providing them. These virtual tours will help you narrow down your list of potential homes even more. Then, when you do want to view properties in person, your list is much shorter. You won’t spend time looking at homes that don’t fit your needs.
Be Ready for Some Delays Despite the New Process
Due to the nature of the virus and how easily it can be spread, there may be some delays. For example, sellers may be much more cautious about letting strangers into their homes for showings. While prior to the pandemic, it wasn’t unusual for buyers to bring a parent, friend, or their children with them to see a property, most showings are now limited to only the buyers. Inspectors no longer allow anyone to be present when they do their walkthrough, but they are taking video and sharing it with buyers.
A home appraisal may also be more difficult to schedule. However, in this case, it’s because appraisers have more work than normal. Due to the low-interest rates, many people are seizing the opportunity to refinance. This can make it difficult to schedule an appraisal and may push your closing date back from the normal 30 days to around 45 days.
Be Aware of New Requirements
Lenders have changed a few things about the mortgage process during the pandemic that you should be aware of. There are currently new mortgage "overlays in place. These are additional qualifications and requirements you’ll need to meet in order to get approved for your loan. Lenders have done this because the economy is very unstable at the moment, and many businesses are closing or have had to reduce their workforce.
If your employment is stable and your credit is strong, you may not be affected by these overlays. If you are, you may find that the amount of loan you’re preapproved for is a little lower than it normally would be. Some lenders have also increased the minimum credit score requirement to get a mortgage. If you were already preparing to purchase a home, though, you have nothing to worry about.
Look at the Local Market
It’s always a good idea to look at how your local real estate market is performing, even when there’s not a pandemic going on. In some areas, the market is down a little, while in other areas, it’s just as strong or even stronger than it was pre-COVID. Some agents are seeing more competition for lower priced homes and more room to negotiate on higher priced properties.
Don’t Wait to Buy a Home
If you’re ready to buy a home, don’t let the pandemic stop you. The team here at Florida Realty Marketplace is ready to help. Contact us today to get the process started.