Buying a house can be fun, stressful, and overwhelming—all at the same time. Buying a house during a pandemic, however, is a whole new ballgame. From low inventory to even lower interest rates, there are a few things you need to know before you start looking for homes for sale.
1. Houses are selling fast.
Last year was one of the craziest housing markets on record. While everyone expected sales to be down—it was the middle of a pandemic, after all—sales were at record highs. In fact, experts worry that we may run out of houses to sell.
The reason houses are selling so fast is partly due to the pandemic. People were looking to purchase homes with a larger backyard that would give them more room to roam during government-mandated lockdowns as well as purchase homes in outlying suburban and rural areas as their daily office commutes disappeared.
2. Interest rates are at record lows.
While interest rates have been low for several years, the pandemic brought them even lower. In fact, interest rates in the two percent range are now the new normal. This reflects record-low interest rates that haven't been seen in over 50 years, allowing homeowners to either buy larger homes for sale than they could previously afford or to drastically lower their expected payment on a new house.
3. Showings could be restricted.
Normally, when you want to see houses for sale, your agent lines up several showings in a row and you make an afternoon of driving around with them. The pandemic has changed this process, however. Not only will you be driving separately to keep appropriate social distancing boundaries, but your showings may also be limited to only admit your agent and two other people. Sellers do not want you to bring nine family members with you into their home in order to avoid possible infection. Plan to wear a face mask out of respect for the sellers as well.
4. Showings can be virtual.
If you are not comfortable with showings in person, you can ask your agent to go alone and bring you along virtually through the use of a cell phone or social media app. Listing agents are helping in the process as well. Many have upped their game by including virtual tours and 3D floorplans in their online listing as well as scheduling live virtual open houses.
Buying a house during a pandemic brings new challenges but with the help of a good real estate agent, you just may find the house of your dreams.