Trying to buy a home is stressful enough, but the Covid-19 pandemic that has swept across the world has added even more uncertainty to the process. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make the process go a little more smoothly.
Here are five tips on how to buy a home in 2021.
1. Make Sure You Can Afford It
This may seem obvious, but making sure that you have access to the required funds before going house-hunting is even more important in 2021.
Some of the thing to consider in your budget when buying a home is your interest rate, monthly mortgage payments, home, price, purchase price, and payment and closing costs.
Uncertainty has gripped the housing market thanks to the pandemic. Mortgage lenders are unlikely to offer pre-approved mortgages any more, so you'll need to secure approval for a loan upfront.
You'll then be able to show your chosen real estate agent that you have the money necessary to buy a home. This will help the process move more quickly.
You can still apply for mortgages online, but some lenders may have introduced higher requirements in terms of credit scores. Aim to work with local lenders who are experienced, and make sure that they can perform every step of the lending process digitally.
2. Make The Most Of Virtual Viewings
With social distancing regulations in place, open houses and in-person house viewings are gone. Instead, you'll likely be able to take advantage of virtual viewings so that you still have a chance to view your dream home.
When choosing a real estate agent, evaluate whether they have the technology and know-how to conduct a good virtual viewing. Some companies may even offer live video viewings, where you can ask the realtor questions instantly.
Have a look at the agents website. Make sure that any pictures, floor plans, or videos provided for the property you are looking at are clear and easy to navigate. You may be able to explore 3D models of a property on the website.
You should also check that the real estate agent has the means to perform the contract process online. This will entail exchanging digital documents and using electronic signatures to complete any required paperwork. Make sure the agency has good data security to keep your transactions safe.
3. Be Realistic
In these uncertain times, both buyers and sellers are desperate to get the most bang for their buck and extract the most out of any transaction. Most housing markets have less homes for sale than in previous years and a large demand.
Avoid trying to play hard ball in any negotiations. It is unlikely that you'll be successful, especially if other offers are more attractive. Check out these tips for Realtor.com to see how to best negotiate during the pandemic.
Aim to keep your negotiations realistic and as fair as you can. This will make your offer more appealing and competitive in a potentially crowded market.
If there is a lower supply of available properties, alienating sellers with cheeky lower offers could leave you out in the cold.
4. Have The Property Appraised And Inspected Safely
Before you buy a home, it's important to schedule a home inspection to search for problems such as mold, damp, and structural issues. This is especially true in the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic.
It is also important to get a good valuation of exactly what the property is worth, to allow you to craft a realistic offer. Real estate appraisers are still working during the pandemic, albeit remotely.
They will likely be able to perform either drive-by or virtual appraisals, and in the latter case may be able to have a live video conference with you during the appraisal.
Safety inspectors are also still on the job, and can perform thorough inspections to highlight any dangers of the property.
When hiring appraisers or inspectors, check their safety precautions. Anyone appraising or inspecting a property should be the only people present, and should wear the correct safety equipment such as masks and gloves. They should also sanitize anything they touch whilst inside.
5. Be Prepared For Longer Waits
If you want to buy a home in 2021, be prepared for every part of the process to take longer than usual. This includes processes like loans or mortgages from lenders, as well as appraisals and safety inspections., and closing dates.
Many real estate agents and mortgage lenders will likely be working remotely from home during the pandemic. This may increase the time needed for paperwork to be processed.
When it comes to closing the deal, this will probably also take longer than usual. It is important to work with your chosen real estate agent to create an achievable deadline for completion.