Are you nervous about diving into the real estate market, even though there’s no end in sight regarding this pandemic? It’s completely understandable, what with the economy being as fragile as it is. However, life has to go on and all you can do is follow CDC guidelines to keep yourself safe from the novel coronavirus.
As a buyer, there are some ways you can make the process less stressful on your end. Here are some tips that’ll help you stay prepared to buy property during (and after) the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Stay on Top of your Credit Score
According to HomeLight’s Q3 Survey, 96% of agents who participated stated the survey, these low rates are causing buyers to come out in force! Your credit score is an important determining factor in whether or not you’ll get approved for a loan. Depending on the kind of loan you are applying for, you could have a score of 580 and up. Staying on top of your credit score and paying down debt will definitely help!
2. Stick to you Budget
It’s easy to get awestruck when looking at houses. You may see a house of your dreams and want to make an offer right on the spot – even if it is slightly over your budget or you’re so intent on having that house, you’ll even engage in a bidding war! No, your best bet is to stick to your budget (or even buy a house $25,000 under budget!) because you never know what’ll happen a few years down the line and you can no longer afford that higher mortgage payment.
3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Prior to the pandemic, a pre-qualification letter was enough to show sellers that they were serious about buying their house and they could get the funds to do so. Unfortunately, a pre-qualification letter no longer holds much weight and a pre-approval letter is almost like a guarantee. There are even agents who won’t take new clients unless they have a pre-approval!
4. Avoid Large Purchases or Life Changes
A good rule of thumb when buying a house is to keep your credit as steady as possible. This means not making large purchases, avoid taking on new debt, and avoid changing jobs. These changes can negatively impact your credit worthiness. Lenders want to lend to clients who can manage their debt and have the means to pay their mortgage. And, while losing your job as a result of the pandemic is out of your control, lenders may be hesitant to approve your application – even if you secured a new job making the same amount of money as your previous one.
5. Speak with a Local Agent
Regardless of where you’re moving, be it to another neighborhood or to another part of the country, you’re going to want to find a top rated real estate agent who is familiar with your desired area. The agent will be able to answer any questions you may have about the area and make recommendations for whatever you need. They’ll also know a lot about the current market in the area and help you stay within your budget while finding a house that meets your needs.
We know that you’re probably hearing that “these are unprecedented times, but it is. No one knows how long this will last, nor does anyone know how the economy will fare going forward. But, one thing remains true – people will always need a roof over their head and a top-rated real estate agent is always there to help.