Buying your first home is an exciting time. However, the coronavirus makes the entire process a much more challenging prospect. In its wake, the coronavirus has upended events and drastically changed our daily lives. Many first-time homebuyers are now wondering if it’s still a smart time to buy.
The reality is that it’s entirely possible to continue to pursue your dream of owning a home. Mortgage rates are low right now, and because more buyers are reluctant to purchase or are facing financial hardship, the pool of available homes is promising.
There’s no reason not to continue down the path to buying your first home. If you keep the following things in mind, you can still purchase a home right now.
Find a Realtor You Trust
If you trust your realtor, the entire process will be much smoother. You’ll have to rely on your realtor to be upfront with you about potential issues and be available to answer questions. If you don’t trust your realtor, it’s going to make things tough. So, get started correctly by finding a realtor you know you can count on.
Take Virtual Property Tours
Thankfully, technology has advanced significantly since standard picture listings of homes. Now you can take full tours of properties right on your phone or computer. Some of these tours are self-guided, 3D, interactive walkthroughs. Other times, they’re video walkthroughs or picture compilations that give a realistic feeling for the home.
Most property listing sites now list homes with virtual tours as an option. When you’re shopping for your home during the coronavirus, this might be your primary method for viewing homes. So, take advantage of these virtual property tours.
Ask About the Things You Can’t See
While virtual tours do a fantastic job of letting you see the home, there are some things you won’t be able to see. Once you find homes you like, you’ll need to ask your realtor about the things that aren’t visible in a virtual tour.
Be sure to ask what type of frame construction the house has, whether there are any foundation issues, what sort of insulation the home has, the state of the HVAC system, details about the electrical and plumbing, and more.
Investigate the Neighborhood
For a house to feel like home, you need to make sure the neighborhood is a fit for you, too. Once you zero-in on a couple of properties you like, investigate the areas. Check out Google Street View and Google Earth to get a feeling for the area.
Consider joining Facebook communities and downloading the NextDoor app to get an inside look at the neighbors and culture. Also, ask your realtor about it. If you’re allowed to do any nonessential travel right now, a quick drive through the neighborhood could be helpful, too.
Check out The Weather
If you’re shopping for homes outside your current location, take a peek at the weather. Many first-time homebuyers who are shopping for homes outside their current state forget to factor in climate.
Go online and view the weather forecast and investigate the local weather concerns. If you’re moving to an area that has inclement weather, you’ll want to ask about the weatherproofing of the home.
For instance, does the home have a storm cellar? Is it built on stilts if it’s in an area prone to flooding? Have the current owners invested in weatherproofing windows and doors?
Ask Any Lingering Questions
Once you’ve landed on a home you love, be sure to ask your realtor about any lingering questions. For example, you’ll also want to know when the house was last remodeled and get information about the state of the roof.
Does it have traditional asphalt shingles that will need to be replaced soon, or is it using alternatives to asphalt shingles? You’ll also want to ask about any of your non-negotiable factors, like closet space, appliances, or backyard features.
It’s wise to make a list of all the must-haves for your dream home and check them off the list with your realtor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is always essential when house shopping, but during the coronavirus, when viewings are limited, it’s even more critical.
Be Sure Before You Buy
Ultimately, the advice for buying now is the same as it always is. Be sure before you commit. If you’re unsure about anything, don’t be afraid to ask. Have your realtor take you on a video walkthrough via FaceTime. Don’t leave any stone unturned. Buying a home is a significant moment, and you want to make sure you don’t make any hasty decisions.
However, if you follow this advice, you can take advantage of these low mortgage rates and become a first-time homeowner. The unprecedented and unpredictable coronavirus doesn’t have to be the reason you wait to buy.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.