COVID-19 and Purchasing a Home

Kim Bartells
Published on May 8, 2020

COVID-19 and Purchasing a Home

If you were considering buying a home in the near future, don’t panic. There is still a lot you can do from home, via zoom meetings, and over the phone to get ready to purchase a home. The possibility even exists to buy one!

HOME BUYING PROCESS

While you are at home with some extra time, I encourage you to read over my ‘Home Buying Process’ online presentation (click here for a copy). This will prepare you for each step in the process. A less stressful and smooth transaction comes from knowledge, so don’t shrug off this step.

GET PRE-APPROVED

Now is the perfect time to call a lender. Get your financials in order (recent paystubs, bank statements, idea on credit score) and after a 15-30 minute phone call you should have a pre-approval in hand.

Now that you know what you can afford to spend, think about what you WANT to spend. Be sure you are comfortable with the monthly payment.

If you don’t have enough saved for a down payment, work on that now (there are loans that offer 100% financing, some only a 3.5% down, some 5%, some 10%, and some 20%). Keep in mind, your down payment is only one cost associated with a home purchase. You will have closing costs, too, that vary based on the price point at which you are buying. I can help provide these costs once you determine the your price point.

Fill me in on your price point and other home purchase needs and we can start searching!

START THE SEARCH

While you may have been perusing online prior to you pre-approval, knowing what you feel comfortable spending makes your search much more specific. This could mean revising your list of wants/needs if you aren’t finding exactly what you want at a certain price point.

I have a fantastic new app I’m offering to my clients free of charge! Get listing updates as quickly as the MLS spits them out and communication between me and you in the app is a snap!  Click here to see it.  The listing feed is updated often so, not only are you getting more accurate information, but you are getting it faster than you would via other popular home search sites. This could mean the difference between you getting the house and someone else.

GOOGLE TEST

If you find a home via our home search app that you like on all fronts – price, photos, stats, location, etc. – it’s time to run it through, what I like to call, the “Google Test”.

Google Maps is a tremendous resource. I remember showing homes even before there was GPS, so consider yourself spoiled with this option!

Plug in the address and you can get a broad view of the area, see a street view of the house, check out surrounding properties (are there big electrical lines, is it near a quarry, larger commercial/industrial properties, or does it back to a busy road), determine your commute time, and even see the traffic patterns on the road during certain times of the day.

So. Much. Useful. Information.

SHOWINGS

All of the above can happen pretty quick. So, when you’re ready to see a home, what happens? Normally, you would contact me with a couple days and times and I would schedule with the listing agent/seller.

Right now, we cannot show homes, but in some situations we can do ‘Virtual Showings’. We can log on to a Zoom meeting with the seller and the listing agent, and have the seller walk us through their home virtually.

If you like it after the Virtual Showing, we can write an offer contingent (or not contingent depending on your situation) upon you seeing the home in person and having your normal inspections (which we still cannot do at the moment). This is certainly not a preferred situation as I like clients to see homes in person before writing an offer, but if you’re in a position where you have to buy a house, this is better than nothing!

Once the restrictions are lifted and we are allowed to show homes in person again, the showing stage is going to look a little different. Bring masks and gloves to each showing and plan to keep a six foot distance. With that in mind, no large showing groups will be permitted. Only the main purchasers and, even then, it may be limited to the agent and one other party in the house at a time. No touching anything and your agent will need to disinfect the home after each showing.

So, deep breath. The world has thrown us another curve ball. Such is life. But, we can adapt and make lemonade out of lemons. In fact, I think this situation has brought about some beneficial changes that I will continue to use to help make buying or selling a home much less stressful and a more enjoyable process for my clients in the future.

Talk soon!

Kim

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