Here's What to Expect If You Want to Buy During the Pandemic
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, real estate activity has continued across the country and will ramp up even more going forward. However, buying a home nowadays does come with a new set of challenges.
If you’re considering buying, here’s what the new landscape looks like:
Open Houses. Although the rules and policies for showing a home will vary according to local public health regulations, social distancing and the use of masks and hand sanitizers has become the norm and will likely be in place for the foreseeable future. Other changes may include showings by appointment only, waivers for buyers and contactless showings, during which only the real estate agent opens doors, touches cabinet handles, etc.
Virtual Tours. Online home tours have been a mainstay for several years, but now they’re becoming even more prevalent, especially for initial viewings. Some agents are using FaceTime or Zoom to virtually walk a buyer through home that they’re interested in. Although buying a home “sight unseen”—without the buyer seeing a home before buying—is still rare, virtual tours have become a bigger part of the buying process.
Inspections and Walkthroughs. In many cases, inspectors are now inspecting homes without the buyer present. The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors have been advising inspectors to either make a video of their inspection or use a live video app so that the buyer can see the inspection live. The same ideas are in play when it comes to final walkthroughs, as some agents are conducting final walkthroughs by video or simply by having the buyer walk the home by themselves.
The Mortgage Process. Although most of the mortgage process can be done online, lender appraisals have presented new challenges. Some appraisals are being done without an in-person visit, with the appraiser combining a “drive-by” appraisal with an estimate based on tax records and multiple listing service information. Also, you should be aware that many lenders have changed their policies in regards to qualifying for a mortgage and mortgage interest rate lock-ins.
Contactless Closings. Much like open houses, inspections and final walkthroughs, closing have changed as well. Traditional closings are occurring less frequently. Instead, title companies have had to adapt to the new social distancing requirements by having curbside closings or even doing drive-through closings in some cases.
In the end, it’s a difficult situation for all parties involved, so it’s important for you to be flexible, patient and understanding.
For more than 25 years, Omega Financial has been serving mortgage clients in Massachusetts. Our brokers have approximately 50 years in the mortgage business. You always will receive fast, courteous, and accurate information. Omega Financial, Inc. is a company duly licensed to operate in Massachusetts as a Mortgage Brokerage. We are located in the Town of Norwood, Massachusetts where we have been operating as Omega Financial Incorporated since 1988.
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