Everyone has a lot on their minds during these unprecedented times. There are people in need of places to live and others still have houses they need to sell. Some Buyers may have accepted job offers that require them to move to a new city whereas some Sellers may have already moved elsewhere and can’t afford to let their old house sit until this passes. Others may find themselves with a sudden need for more space now that their relatives are back under their roof or may need to downsize to save money.
While the coronavirus may be preventing us from our usual activities, real estate is still available at our fingertips. Searching for homes online is nothing new but what we are seeing, is an increase in homes offering 3D tours and agents offering virtual showings of properties. You can even make an offer online and sign contracts virtually, completing the entire process practically remotely, if desired! Like so many things, it seems that this rather futuristic way of operating could be our new normal for the foreseeable future.
Right now is a great time to be purchasing a home or preparing to do so. Interest rates are still at historic lows. Competition from other Buyers may be down temporarily, resulting in less bidding wars than just a few weeks ago. Currently, Buyers are likely to find very motivated Sellers who may be willing to negotiate, but you shouldn’t expect to see dramatically lower prices. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you search.
Tips for Online House Hunting
- Get Pre-Approved. Unless you plan to make an all cash offer, a pre-approval letter is generally required to submit an offer on a property as it shows your commitment to the transaction. It is important to talk to a lender as soon as possible as they can help you determine what you can afford and if there are ways to improve your credit score. Your lender will provide you with a list of required documents you will need to provide to begin the pre-approval process.
- Identify your housing needs. The house you buy may not have everything you want but it will have most of the things. Be realistic about price and prioritize your must-haves. Look at homes online and make a list of what you like and don’t like. Expand your search criteria slightly (price, size, location) to make sure you don’t miss seeing something that could be a good fit for you.
- Contact your Realtor. Today, more than ever, it is important to start working with a trusted real estate professional, so you’re ready to move quickly when it’s time. Whether you chat by phone or video, a Realtor can help you understand how to navigate the changing dynamics of today’s market without bringing your plans to a standstill. Discuss what you are looking for and make sure you are searching a site that shows you the most up to date listings. Your Realtor will also have knowledge and possible access to homes coming soon that are not currently on the multiple listing source (MLS). If a property is available, your Realtor can help you determine if the property is safe to tour in person or if a virtual tour is recommended.
- Get to know your surroundings. Find a house you like? Don’t just look at the house, look at the area around it. Luckily, today we have the technology to allow you to view images of the street, neighborhood and community around the interested property from the comfort of your couch. Look at where the nearest schools are, how far is the grocery store, the location of your favorite dog park, what your commute time would be and anything else that is important to you.
- The transaction can be remote. Writing and submitting the offer as well as most of the transaction paperwork can be done electronically. All you need is a remotely decent smartphone or computer and an email address and you can sign everything from your own personal devices. Many clients have preferred to handle the bulk of the paperwork this way for several years.
With some creativity, Arrive Real Estate Group is confident we can support you and your real estate needs during this time of unprecedented uncertainty, and we’re confident we can navigate your situation accordingly. Just be flexible, understanding, and open-minded, and we can get through this together.
If you’re wanting to buy when this passes, we can make sure you are pre-approved and set on the best searches so you are ready to write an offer when the timing is right. Sellers are using this time to prepare their homes and many more will be listed when this passes.
Bottom line, your dream house can still become a reality, we have your back, and are here to help any way we can!