If you are in the market to purchase a home, or are evaluating your options, by now you have probably seen that the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the housing market and the overall home buying process.
Although it is true that the coronavirus pandemic is changing the real estate industry, now is still a great time to purchase a home as you will likely have less competition which potentially enables you to secure a great deal on a property that normally might be outside of your budget.
Below are a couple of tips you can use to successfully navigate the home buying process when purchasing your first home.
Enlist the help of a buyer’s agent
Aesthetics and price are just a couple of factors to evaluate when purchasing a home. You also need to consider things such as school quality, whether the property is in a flood/fire zone, if the floor plan is awkward, and much more.
Rather than spending dozens of hours researching those details yourself, you can hire a buyer’s agent to assist. They are licensed real estate agents that represent buyers during real estate transactions. In addition to helping you evaluate properties; they also can assist in the offer negotiation process so that you do not submit an offer that will offend the seller.
Attend virtual open houses
Now that many municipalities are placing limits on the size of groups, many sellers and real estate agents are leveraging virtual open houses to simplify the sales process. Attending a virtual open house during the coronavirus pandemic is a simple process.
You first work with a real estate agent to find virtual showings in your target neighborhoods. After identifying the homes you wish to visit, you should request a floor plan to better environ the space, and also prepare questions for the seller.
As the showing date nears, you should ensure you have the correct web conferencing software installed on your computer. Many real estate agents use solutions such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Facebook Live.
During the showing, take notes and ask questions when appropriate. If there are any questions that were not addressed, you should follow up with the seller.
Schedule an alternative appraisal
As you get to the final stages of your home buying journey, you will need to have a professional appraisal conducted, to show your mortgage underwriter that the loan amount is in line with the value of the home. Although these inspections are traditionally done in-person, the coronavirus pandemic has caused many lenders to explore allowing homebuyers to secure an alternative appraisal.
Alternative appraisals are reviews conducted by a licensed appraiser using a variety of methods. The most common include reviewing tax/MLS records, photographs of the interior and exterior, and even inspection reports from other professionals. The appraiser may also request to have a live virtual walkthrough with the seller, and/or drive by the outside of the home.
Regardless of the process the appraiser uses, the professional is required to provide a clear and sufficient methodology that provides a defensible value proposition.