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Buying a home is likely one of the largest investments many of us will make in our lifetime. After
years of saving, planning, and budgeting, you may feel prepared and even excited to begin your
first home-buying process. However, with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the overwhelming
effect that it has had on economies across the world, the real estate market has been inevitably
impacted as well. That said, you may be wondering how this will affect your home purchase.
Unexpectedly, while several industries have been declining from the pandemic, the real estate
industry has managed to stay afloat and in some cases, grow during the pandemic. So the
question is; as a buyer, what benefits will you gain from purchasing your home now?
As you may have already found out, house hunting in large cities and popular suburban areas is
not always a walk in the park because of the intense competition that many homebuyers face.
Finding your ‘perfect’ home may have been more of a dream than reality after comparing prices
and battling offers with other prospective buyers. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 has
actually driven less competition within the market in certain areas.
Consumer Reports recommends thinking outside of the box when it comes to your house search
locations. In some cases, you are able to find the gem that matches your needs in a location
where you weren’t expecting to look initially. These areas often drive less competition because
so many homebuyers are naturally feeling uncertainty from the pandemic, so they are less likely
to take a risk when buying a home and expand outside of their range of comfort.
In a general sense, social distancing mandates and limited travel have caused many to
postpone their house hunt, making it one of the best times to jump in.
Virtual and Online Capabilities
Many prospective buyers have even postponed their house search because of the assumption
that they will not be able to tour houses or do walk-through inspections. As we know, this limited
in-person contact is to ensure the safety of everyone. However, it shouldn’t be a reason to stop
the search. There are many technology-based options that work to make the buying process as
comfortable as possible even during a pandemic.
The housing market overall had already begun its transition to technology-based services in
recent years and tech has become a necessity for the survival of the market this year. Home
buying transactions like mortgage preapprovals, loan financing, and closing on a home can all
be conducted through digital lenders and virtual services. Even if you already own a home,
refinancing with no-closing-cost can be achieved more efficiently through digital lenders.
Especially with the industry being forced into virtual services, digital lenders are more likely to
introduce automation into their processes to provide more efficiency. Automation systems like
robotic process automation (RPA) help to make significant operational improvements in lending
which in return, produces fast, quality processing for you as a buyer.
Lower Interest Rates & Housing Prices
One of the most attractive parts of the real estate market currently is the low-interest rates on
mortgages. In the early part of this year, interest rates actually dropped below 3% for the first
time in 50 years. While these rates are expected to fluctuate in the coming months, it can still be
a good idea to take advantage of them while they are here.
However, while the interest rates are decreasing, housing prices are still rising. Instinctively,
most of us see this as a deterrent from buying a home. However, before making that
assumption it’s recommended to conduct more research on the trends of the market. Why? With
less competition, some might argue that the market prices will increase in the coming months as
quarantine mandates are lifted and a vaccine is publicly distributed. Prospective buyers who
postponed their house hunt will rejoin the market, causing a greater demand and inevitably
higher market prices. So before completely shying away from purchasing your home during the
pandemic, be sure to keep an eye on the market and how prices are changing over time to be
sure you are making effective financial decisions.
Navigating such a challenging yet rewarding stage of life through a pandemic can take an
immense amount of strategy and patience. Be sure to keep in mind these benefits of continuing
your search through the pandemic and take advantage of them where you can. By investing
time and research into these tips, you can leverage the best components of your local housing
market during such an uncertain time.