What Are Your Top Questions About Purchasing Property During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown millions of people's financial plans off the rails, and that certainly includes home buying. If you were hoping to purchase a property soon, you no doubt have a lot of questions—about whether it's possible to buy or tour a house now, COVID-19's impact on home prices, and more.
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 interest rates are historically low, which means your monthly housing payments will be lower, too. And putting a property under contract now and locking in a low-interest rate gives buyers more control than living in a rental where rents might go up.
Another big consideration on the financial side of the home-buying equation comes down to competition. The coronavirus has dissuaded some home buyers from home shopping for the time being. So buyers who do venture out face less competition, which could put them in a stronger position to negotiate with sellers.
How has the coronavirus affected home prices?
The coronavirus has the world economy in turmoil. But so far at least, this does not mean that home prices have plummeted across the board or that buyers can lowball their way to a bargain. Instead, in most real estate markets, home inventory remains very tight.
"I don't expect the slowdown to be like the last recession where prices fell," says realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale. "There are more than enough buyers out there to keep home sales from slowing in any major way.”
Is it safe to buy a house now?
While no one can guarantee you won't catch the coronavirus, the real estate industry has worked to prioritize buyers' and sellers' health by eliminating personal interactions almost entirely during the pandemic. Even as different states reopen, you can still do most aspects of the home-buying process remotely, or at a safe social distance, when it comes to your home search that you may not have considered doing in the past.
First, you can find and interview Saskatoon and area Realtors virtually. While showings may not be easy to arrange because of shelter-in-place orders or continuing health concerns, most real estate listings now offer virtual tours.
Should I buy a house sight unseen?
While buying a house sight unseen has long been the only option for people relocating due to a new job or military service, the trend has been on the rise for more and more folks. In fact, according to a realtor.com survey of 1,300 consumers during the week of April 5, 24% (or 1 in 4) said they'd be willing to buy a home without seeing it in person.
Buyers who consider buying a house sight unseen generally have some comfort level with the neighborhood and know the market. And according to realtor.com senior economist George Ratiu, the comfort level of buying a house sight unseen may come down to age.
"Younger cohorts are more inclined to rely on detailed photos, virtual tours, or live video instead of an in-person visit, with 31% indicating they would be willing to buy sight unseen," says Ratiu.
Even if you're buying blind, you shouldn't operate completely in the dark. Here are some features that buyers find most helpful in such a home search.
- The ability to take a virtual tour of the home
- Listing and neighborhood information that is accurate and detailed
- Plentiful, high-quality listing photos that show the property's interior and exterior
- An agent or landlord who can walk a buyer through the property via video chat
Ask for more advice on how to buy a home sight unseen before you commit to a purchase.
- Figure out how much home you can afford: The pandemic has roiled markets and caused tremendous economic uncertainty. So you'll want to carefully consider how much home you can afford and err on the conservative side. Contact us to help you determine your monthly mortgage payment.
- Secure mortgage pre-approval: Now it’s more important than ever to get pre-approved to show sellers you’re serious when you make an offer. Pre-approval shows how much a lender will loan you, assuring the seller that you’re financially capable of buying a home.