In the best of times, shopping for a house is a complicated and involved process—a big-ticket proposition involving lots of shopping around and meeting a ton of people so you're 100% sure you've picked the right place, at the right price. But, of course, these are not the best of times.
Now that the coronavirus pandemic has people across the country hunkering down at home to lower their exposure levels, even the most determined home buyer might be wondering: Is it safe to shop for a house right now?
While risk is a personal decision, the real estate industry is adapting to provide ways to go about home buying safely during the coronavirus pandemic. You can now do many things at a safe social distance, or even remotely, when it comes to buying a home that you may not have considered doing in the past.
Finding the right real estate agent
When it comes to buying a home, pairing up with the right agent is always key to finding your perfect property. But today, you need one who is tech-savvy and comfortable conducting meetings and business online.
Virtual home tours
Crowded open houses with a plate of cookies for everyone to grab are a thing of the past—at least for now. Instead, you've got virtual open houses and video tours.
There are several ways to virtually tour a home. Along with photos, many listings were already starting to incorporate videos or virtual reality tours.
Granted, we're not necessarily saying you should buy a house without seeing it in person, unless there's no choice in the matter. Nonetheless, it's smart to do what you can remotely to whittle down your options so you can choose what's worth an in-person visit, now or later.
Remote mortgage pre-approval
"One smart way to stay safe right now is to work with a loan officer who is set up to work remotely,"
Some lenders had already made the entire mortgage process digital long before social distancing was needed. And now, many more have jumped on board out of necessity.
The first step is to interview a few loan officers over the phone or by video chat. Since mortgage interest rates are all over the map these days, it's extremely important to shop around and compare what they're offering—and make sure they're comfortable conducting all steps of the transaction online.
Ideally you want a lender that allows you to track your loan progress, view educational resources, and stay in touch, all without leaving the house.
In order to get pre-approved for a loan, the lender will need to review your income, debt, credit history, and other factors—and you'll need to submit paperwork verifying all of the above.
Luckily, most of this paperwork should be available online, such as pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. If you're unsure how to access them, a tech-savvy lender should be able to help.
Here at O'Brien Realty we can help you through the process step by step while creating a safe environment for everyone. Please give one of our agents a call today to get started.