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How to buy a house in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on: May 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm

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The COVID-19 pandemic is making a massive impact not just on people’s health, but also on the way business can be conducted.

Real estate is just one of the many industries affected by area-wide stay-at-home orders resulting from the outbreak. Fortunately, these restrictions don’t prevent people from taking alternative steps to keep their transactions moving forward.

Here are six actions to consider if you want to buy a house amid COVID-19 containment measures:

Consult a local real estate expert

Despite all the uncertainty that this unprecedented health crisis is causing, you can always rely on an established local Realtor to provide you with sound, data-based advice.

If you are wary about how to proceed with your homebuying plans at this time, talk to your agent. Their knowledge, resources, and connections will ensure that your best interests are always protected.

Start your research online

Even while your mobility is limited to your own house, you can get a head start on your house hunting by exploring online listings. Assemble a spreadsheet to organize and compare key details like house sizes, features, and asking price.

Remember to shop within your realistic price range. You may need a mortgage pre-approval to get a reliable estimate of how much house you can afford. Ask your agent to refer you to lending agencies in your area that can process this for you at this time.

Request virtual home tours

As of March 20, 2020, the California Association of Realtors has advised real estate professionals and their clients to “cease doing all in-person marketing or sales activities.” This order affects home showings, listing appointments, and open houses.

As a result, Realtors are innovating by offering virtual home tours instead. Thanks to today’s powerful video communications technologies, you can explore and scrutinize your prospective new home without leaving your house.

Improve your credit rating

Planning to use a mortgage to finance your home purchase? Use this time to improve your credit score.

Settle any outstanding debts and hold back on making additional significant expenses. Aim to boost your credit rating enough to become eligible for a larger loan with better terms.

Save up for a larger down payment and earnest money deposit

Now that the homebuying process is moving at a much slower pace, you should also take advantage of this opportunity to build up your savings.

A substantial down payment of 10% to 20% of the final sale price will help you get a substantial loan amount with favorable interest rates, while offering a hefty earnest deposit can make your offer more attractive than those of competing buyers.

Have a backup plan

Because homebuying and selling processes now move at a significantly delayed pace, there is a greater risk of the deal falling through.

To address this, the California Association of Realtors has created special amendments to sales contracts designed to protect homebuyers. The additional form extends a deal’s closing schedule by 30 days in case of significant coronavirus-related delays. It also allows buyers to back out of the deal without losing their deposit.

With these protections in place, you will have less to worry about in case of a failed transaction. You can easily transition to a new homebuying target or strategy.

Explore homes for sale in Malibu, CA with confidence by working with Marco de Longeville Luxury Realty. Learn more about our expert real estate services by calling 213.675.0197 or emailing marco(dotted)delongeville(at)vistasir(dotted)com.