5 Ways the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Changed Real Estate in 2020
Aug 11, 2020 02:15 PM EDT
Homeownership. It's a milestone in our lives that fills us with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. After all, it's not easy saving thousands of dollars for a downpayment! It's a huge investment and requires careful consideration.
You'd have a real estate agent walk you through the process of buying or listing a home, they'd make recommendations about what is a reasonable offer, and they'll work to find homes that you're likely to fall in love with. However, the coronavirus has changed how the real estate world works.
So, what does real estate look like in a COVID world?
When you think about buying a house, you might envision yourself walking through one house after another. You might picture yourself peeking in closets, testing the windows and faucets, and admiring the original hardwood floors. However, the HomeLight Q2 survey shows that 29% of sellers are concerned about being infected during a showing and will only agree to let people walk through if they are serious buyers.
Virtual showings and open houses play a huge role in how buyers are looking at houses. Forty-six percent of agents surveyed said they host video conferences with their clients as they walk through the house. Their clients can ask questions and make observations without ever leaving home. The recorded walk-throughs can then be posted on the listing's website for others to view, as well.
Typically when it's time to close on a sale, all participating parties will meet around a big table to sign documents and go over the terms of the sale. Due to social distancing, agents found a work around by doing things virtually. During a digital closing, parties can use an eSign program to sign the documents while on a video conference call. They can also have a mobile notary come by to notarize documents.
Of course, there are other closing options, too. These include curbside and drive-in closings where parties can sign documents in their car and pass them back through a window. Clients even have the option to mail in the signed documents or leave the documents at a designated location as per their agent.
In light of the massive unemployment rate (30 million Americans have lost their jobs!), lenders are more hesitant to approve loans. While this is understandable from a business standpoint, individuals who have to move are now faced with stricter requirements in order to be approved. These requirements include needing a higher down payment, proof of long-term employment, and higher credit scores although finding good mortgage and mortgage refinance rates is still possible. These things can make it significantly harder for buyers, especially if they've been furloughed or they lost their jobs due to no fault of their own.
Even when the economy isn't in a downward spiral buying a house is no easy feat. Yet, the coronavirus has taken an already tedious transaction and amplified the stress tenfold. Fortunately, savvy real estate agents have found innovative ways to make the process safe for everyone involved with the sale.
Before you start scanning house-listing sites to find your new dream home, be sure to contact a local real estate agent first. They'll be able to guide you through the process, keep you up to date on current real estate pandemic guidelines and so much more. You'll find that with the help of a top-rated agent, buying a house in today's world isn't as bad as one would think!