With terms like “the new norm” being used to describe the changes society has to make to combat COVID-19, many people are wondering how to navigate their day-to-day lives during this pandemic.
However, there are bigger aspects of life that have been affected, such as buying a house.
How can buying a house work while maintaining social distancing?
Luckily, as many industries have, the world of real estate has accommodated these restrictions and has made it possible to buy a home – even in the midst of a pandemic.
Learn how you purchasing a home has changed during COVID-19:
Getting a Mortgage
Getting a mortgage has become a bit more complex since the pandemic, especially since many aspects of the mortgage process usually take place face-to-face.
Many lenders and banks have moved their services online and can issue mortgages remotely.
However, since appraisers, title officers and real estate agents are considered non-essential, there may be delays in having the process finalized.
The new system isn’t perfect and other delays may occur. Overall, getting a mortgage during is COVID-19 is possible – it may just take some time.
Another aspect of mortgage lending that has changed is lending standards. Even though interest rates are low, getting approved may be tougher than before.
The economic uncertainty caused by the virus has led to staggering unemployment rates. This means that lenders are looking for strigently at credit scores and income to ensure that the mortgages will be paid.
Again, this could cause some red tape when it comes to actually securing a mortgage.
So, what can you do?
If you are planning on buying a home, get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Talk to a lender or bank early in the process in anticipation of delays that can occur.
Viewing a Home
Even if you can’t do an in-person viewing, you may be able to do an online viewing.
While this method is not ideal, it may be the only way to check out a house before you view it.
Luckily, it is possible to include a second physical showing of the home within the contract of sale.
This cuts down on the foot traffic coming into someone else’s home. Instead of a slew of potential buyers showing up in person, only those who have placed serious offers are allowed to be there physically.
Just be cautioned that restrictions may be imposed by the seller or real estate agent, such as using hand sanitizer, wearing masks and limiting the number of people you bring with you to the viewing.
Also, if you are sick, be sure to cancel the showing.
Limiting contact with your real estate and lawyer may be a challenge, but there are many paperless ways to handle the necessary paperwork.
For instance, law firms may be able to sign a document digitally. With a number of apps available that allow signatories to sign a PDF or word document, real estate deals can be facilitated with the click of a button.
Online signing methods can be encrypted to maximize security and ensure the legality of the documents.
This way you don’t have to worry about trying to meet with your lawyer or real estate agent in person.
Is Now the Right Time to Buy?
There is no hard-and-fast rule as to whether or not now is the right time to buy a house.
As long as you keep these changes in mind, and feel comfortable moving forward with a purchase, there’s no reason not to buy a home during COVID-19.