What's in this article?
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the home-buying process in a similar way that it has impacted many areas of the economy and our lifestyles.
Whether you were looking for a home before the pandemic or have recently decided it’s time for a move, the pandemic doesn’t have to halt your plans. With a little preparation and some open discussions with the right lender, you can buy a house during coronavirus with confidence.
To help you understand the current situation, we explain how the home-buying and mortgage processes have changed, as well as what it could mean for your mortgage.
How Has the Home-Buying Process Changed?
The need for social distancing has impacted the normal processes of shopping for and buying a home. However, just as many of our daily processes have adapted, so has the home-buying experience.
Can You Shop for Houses?
You can continue to shop for your dream home. The experience may just look a little different than before. Working within the latest safety guidelines has led to a range of alternatives in real estate.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Home buyers, sellers, realtors, and lenders have found creative and safe ways to meet the needs of those in the real estate market.
Some realtors have canceled in-person house tours and open houses. Some have taken them online through virtual tours or relied on photographs, and others have limited tours to be appointment-based with other requirements, such as wearing masks and limiting the number of people inside of a home.
Can You Get a Mortgage?
Mortgages continue to exchange hands from lenders to homeowners during the pandemic. Again though, the process has seen some adjustments to make it as risk-free as possible.
One of the biggest changes is the restrictions related to appraisals and inspections. In many cases appraisals no longer involve a physical walkthrough of a home, but are instead based primarily on comparable houses in the area.
Inspectors are also handling business in a range of ways, from requiring they be alone on their house walkthroughs, to allowing the potential home buyer to join, with certain safety measures.
Many mortgage closings are still done in person, but they may be limited to the smallest group of people needed. For example someone may meet you at the home to sign closing paperwork, rather meeting as a group with the seller, buyer, and realtors together in one place.
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How is the Housing Market Different?
The market is showing various fluctuations throughout the country. This isn’t unusual throughout the U.S. but some of the changes have shifted uniquely in certain locations. Some housing markets have slowed, such as large cities with typically high demand, while others are booming, such as less crowded areas.
As the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus continues, so does the uncertainty around where the market is headed for various locations.
What matters most when you buy a house during coronavirus though is what you can afford and if you can find housing that matches your budget in the location you want.
One thing that is consistent, is historically low interest rates. This has caused people to seize the opportunity to get a new mortgage or, most commonly, to refinance their existing one to secure lower monthly mortgage payments with a decreased interest rate. In some cases, this surge in mortgage needs, along with the added precautions needed because of coronavirus, have led to the home-buying process taking slightly longer to complete.
How Could it Affect Your Mortgage?
These factors have also shifted the criteria set for the various types of loans, including conventional, FHA, and VA loans. Home buyers may find that requirements have become stricter for their credit scores, down payments, or debt-to-income ratios. Their available financing options may be different than they would have been a year ago.
Some home buyers may also experience challenges such as changes in employment or income, which can affect their home-buying process. Mortgages are determined on a case-by-case basis, however, and speaking to a loan officer can help home buyers reach their financing needs in unique situations.
Should You Buy a House Now?
Although things continue to change throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we also continue to adapt to allow for our lives to continue moving forward.
When determining the right time to buy a house during coronavirus, you can get caught up in waiting for the perfect outside conditions, such as with the market or the time of year. What matters most, however, is your personal needs and interests.
If now feels like the right time to buy a home, you can do so in a safe, reasonable, and efficient way.Call us today to discuss your current options for financing a new home with Homefinity. By sharing your situation with us, we can help to guide you through the process even among today’s current uncertainties.
Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash