If you’re interested in purchasing a home, now is a great time to do so. Even in this season of economic uncertainty, home sales remain steady across much of the country. Plus, interest rates are at historic lows. However, as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the world, how can you stay safe when viewing a home?
The Pandemic and Low Interest Rates
In an effort to save the U.S. economy in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates by a full percentage point in March. It was the most significant one-day cut since 2008. Many mortgage rates declined in response, giving homebuyers an excellent opportunity to own a home at a lower monthly payment.
Even if you’re not in the market to buy or sell your home, now may be the right time to refinance your existing loan. If that’s the case, you can contact one of our mortgage lending pros who can walk you through the refinancing process. With these historic lows, refinancing your home could save you thousands over the life of your mortgage.
Why Now is a Great Time to Buy
For those who have been considering buying a home, we are entering a buyer’s market. Average interest rates continue to fluctuate as the market struggles to keep up with the fallout from Coronavirus, but mortgage rates are among the lowest they’ve ever been.
In addition, the economic standstill means layoffs and financial difficulties for millions of Americans. As such, many Americans are reconsidering buying a home, meaning less competition for buyers. Some predictions show home sales could decline as much as 15% this year due to COVID-19 concerns and the subsequent economic fallout.
While that’s not great news for real estate professionals and home sellers, it is excellent news for homebuyers. It’s particularly good news for those who don’t have to sell a home before signing on a new one. 2020 looks to be a buyer’s market, so if you’re in the financial position to purchase a home, now is the time.
Protecting Yourself When Viewing a Home
Though much of the country is now past the peak of COVID-19 infections, we still have a long way to go before life returns to normal. Therefore, when viewing a home for sale, it’s wise to remain cautious and take measures to protect yourself and others.
When possible, view homes virtually first. Many Realtors are ramping up their online viewing experience to protect themselves and their clients from potential Coronavirus exposure. First, identify properties in your desired area that meet your criteria, and tour them virtually when possible. Many websites now allow you to view a home using 3D photo mapping and virtual floorplans. This technology will give you a feel for the overall layout of the house.
Viewing a Home in Person
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to one or two that stand out from the rest, you might consider an in-person walkthrough. However, with COVID-19 still running rampant, it’s important to take extra precautions. Your real estate agent may suggest options to keep you, the agent, and the sellers safe. This might include only one person touring the home at a time, not allowing children to enter the house, or wearing PPE to lower the chances of exposure.
Take Measures to Protect Yourself
When inside the home, you can take extra measures to protect yourself, the homeowners, and your real estate professional from transmitting or catching the novel Coronavirus.
- Limit the number of people entering the house
If possible, have only one or two people from a family enter the home. Connect with your partner or other interested parties via video chat during the walkthrough instead of having them come in person. This is especially important if your partner or other buyers are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
- Practice social distancing
You should stay at least six feet away from anyone else in the home, including your real estate agent and all other professionals or residents in the home.
- Use protective equipment
Wear a face mask covering both your nose and your mouth at all times while in the house. Even a self-made cloth mask can reduce your chances of spreading and catching the virus. You might also consider wearing gloves and removing your shoes upon entering the home.
- Wipe down commonly touched surfaces
Bring a few disinfectant wipes with you and wipe down surfaces you touch, like light switches and doorknobs. Clean them before and after you touch them.
- Wash your hands thoroughly
When you’re done viewing the home, be sure to refrain from touching your face. Then, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water if available. Otherwise, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately after leaving the home.
While it might feel intimidating to venture out and view homes during a pandemic, precautionary measures can ensure that all parties stay safe and healthy. And with interest rates being so incredibly low and inventory moving slower than usual, now is the time to buy a home.
Do you plan on buying a home this year? How do you protect yourself and your loved ones when viewing a home? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know!