Buying a home can be stressful and confusing in the best of times. But doing so in the middle of a global pandemic presents a whole new set of challenges and concerns. Here are some tips for buying a home right now, from the initial house-hunting process through closing day.
Lean on your Realtor®.
The first thing you’re going to need to get through this process in such an unprecedented time is a great real estate agent. You need an agent who’s tech-savvy, comfortable meeting and signing documents virtually, and knows how to keep things on track digitally. Luckily, the agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company are some of the best in the industry. Being a boutique real estate company, we’re able to work with you on a personal level in whatever capacity you’re most comfortable with at this time. We consider your safety our utmost concern when meeting face-to-face, and we also have top-notch tech if you’re more comfy meeting virtually. It’s a good thing, because you’re going to need to lean heavily on your real estate agent right now!
Open houses and in-person showings are much more involved right now, or they may be nonexistent in some cases. When you’re ready to get out and look at homes for sale, check out virtual events first, such as Facebook Lives, Instagram Lives, Stories, or Reels, IGTV, 3D home tours, and video tours. Narrow your list down to those few houses that are absolute must-sees, then take the necessary precautions before going to view them in person. Many homeowners and listing agents will have guidelines in place. They may require you to wear a face covering and use hand sanitizer, ask you not to touch anything in the home, or ask you to remove shoes at the door, for example.
Recruit an excellent mortgage lender.
When it comes to getting a mortgage for your new home, you have a good bit of homework to do. Now more than ever, it’s important to choose a local mortgage lender who can provide personalized service and keep on top of your purchase process better than a national bank can. Choose a lender who can handle everything digitally. Make sure they have an online presence, and ask to interview them via video chat. Your lender should be able to provide you with options for seamlessly uploading documents and tracking the loan process. They should be comfortable with handling everything remotely if needed.
Keep your distance.
Normally, there’d be a flurry of in-person activity between signing a purchase agreement and going to the closing table. Taking pandemic conditions into consideration, however, things have changed in this area too. For example, it’s safest not to attend the home inspection at this point in time. Inspectors have guidelines and precautions they have to follow to keep themselves and the homeowners safe and healthy, like wearing PPE and sanitizing everything they touch. Having the buyers or sellers in the way can put a damper on the process and create more work for the home inspector. Ask your inspector if they can meet with you via video chat to show you any concerns while still onsite. Appraisers have different guidelines to follow now as well. Lenders may allow them to do a drive-by inspection and a desktop appraisal as opposed to a thorough inspection onsite.
Prepare for closing day to be different.
When it comes to closing day, there are several things that might happen. Buyers and sellers may be required to attend at different times, be in separate rooms, sign documents in their parked cars, etc. The important thing to remember is that even though the road to get there might be a little more circuitous, the outcome will be the same as it ever was. Relax, take everything as it comes, lean on your Johnson & Wilson Real Estate agent and you’ll be a new homeowner before you know it!