The coronavirus pandemic has thrown millions of people’s financial plans off the rails, and that certainly includes home buying. If you were thinking of purchasing property soon, you probably have a ton of questions—about whether it is even possible to purchase or look at a house right now, COVID-19’s impact on prices, and many more questions.
1. Is it possible to buy a house now?
YES! In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has declared that residential and commercial real estate services are an essential service are allowed to continue.
Furthermore, the real estate industry has quickly adopted new technologies to help home buyers and sellers stay safe for as long as this pandemic lasts.
Most restrictions will depend on the sellers’ comfort levels. Some sellers might be fine with you walking through their house. But others might not be comfortable letting strangers in their home. Check with your real estate agent prior to visiting a home.
2. Is now a good time to buy a house, financially speaking?
From a financial perspective, there are certainly some advantages to buying a home right now. For one, mortgage rates are historically low, which means monthly payments will be lower as well.
In addition to surveying the housing market and mortgage rates, you should also review your own financial situation. You’ll want to see whether now is a good time to buy a home for you and your family.
3. Is it ok to buy a house now?
The real estate industry has reinvented the process to prioritize buyers’ and sellers’ health by eliminating interactions almost entirely during the pandemic.
Most agents are providing online services and interview’s virtually. While showings may not be easy to arrange because of the virus, most real estate listings now offer virtual tours.
When possible, video chats allow agents to walk through a prospective home while you watch from the safety of your current residence. Virtual tours may not be as good as walking through a home, but they can give you a good idea of whether or not you want to see the house in person when it’s possible.
When it comes to the financial aspect of home buying, many lenders had already made the entire mortgage process.
Another new term? “Desktop appraising,” which allows the appraiser to stay home and review available data that allows lenders to approve mortgages remotely.
4. How long will it take to finalize the purchase on a house?
Yes, the length of time from an accepted offer to home closing during the height of the pandemic is taking longer. Closing times used to average about 26 days in January, then hit 43 days in February, and shot up to 60 days in March. They’re likely to take longer still in the coming months.
The simple fact is lenders are buried under paperwork as refinancing applications skyrocketed due to the historically low mortgage interest rates.