Buying A Home – A New Landscape
Many people are currently in the process of buying or plan to buy a home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The real estate landscape has changed drastically, almost overnight, but buyers are still buying and sellers are still selling. As real estate professionals, we are taking responsible measures to aid our clients in this new normal as we follow guidelines issued from our local and state leaders.
Our physical Fred Real Estate Group office space is is currently open by appointment only (per the governor’s order to work at home), so please understand that our business practices have mostly shifted online and your initial buyer consultation, ongoing communications, and even property showings could likely take place via a screen.
Viewing Homes For Sale
While we have preventative measures in place and we are following guidelines issued from our local and state associations, in-person showings do involve the risk of potential virus exposure to other parties and not every seller may be comfortable with strangers going through their home. For everyone’s health, safety, and comfort, here’s how we’re approaching in-person and virtual property tours for our home buyer clients right now:
In-Person Property Tours For Home Buyers:
- We may ask you about your travel history and potential exposure to the coronavirus, or if you feel sick or have a fever
- We will meet you at the property; no car-pooling
- We may ask that the number of people in the property tour be kept to a minimum (no large groups) or scheduled separately; one at a time through the time
- You might be asked to remove shoes and wear booties while in the home
- You may be asked to leave unnecessary items outside the front door
- We will ask that you wash your hands and use hand sanitizer before and after the showing
- We encourage you to wear a mask throughout the showing
- We ask that you refrain from touching anything during the showing; no doors, counters, light switches, etc.
- Your viewing time may be kept to a minimum – 15-30 minutes
- We will maintain social distancing measures throughout the showing
Viewing A Home Virtually – Safely View Homes From Your Couch:
- We can arrange a property tour hosted by the seller or listing broker
- We have pre-recorded video tours for our listings
- We’re hosting virtual open houses for our listings, as appropriate to do so
- Our website offers an easy way to request an online tour of any property as well as filter property searches to only view homes with video tours
- Prefer to go mobile? We’ve got an app for that
- If you’re relocating to the area and not sure which community is right for you, you can explore and discover our Central Oregon communities with our robust community pages offering local information, stats, maps, schools, photos, videos, and favorite local businesses, and more
The Home Buying Process – What To Expect Right Now
With the coronavirus continuing to reshape the face of the country and the economy, some of the biggest players in the mortgage business are moving to make it easier to lend under these extraordinary circumstances while others are tightening up their requirements; talk to your lender to determine what options are available to you. Standards are being relaxed for property appraisals allowing more drive-bys and desktop appraisals and less need to enter homes and verification of employment as announced in the past week by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and VA.
The FHA and VA both recently announced they would allow for appraisal and income verification alternatives as appraising homes and verifying employment are more difficult right now than they were just a few weeks ago. Lenders are able to get creative with employment verification during this climate, for example, if a school district is closed but the job is still required. A “laid off” or “furloughed” employee doesn’t have a workaround; they will need to return to work to close on their purchase.
In addition to changes in how people are viewing homes, in some places, temporary business closures and virtual business models are affecting other key parts of the real estate transaction; appraisals, inspections, closing and title services.
For those who are determined to buy a home, there is opportunity out there.
“The temporary softening of the real estate market will likely be followed by a strong rebound, once the quarantine is lifted,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®
This pent-up demand could eventually push home prices higher. That could mean that the time to strike for bargains is now. (Source: Realtor.com)
While inventory may be lower, now is not the time to lowball your offer. Negotiation is always part of every transaction, but approaching your offer in a level-headed and respectable manner is always the best approach. Don’t approach an offer with the intention of playing to a seller’s vulnerabilities or an overblown sense of despair in the market. (Source: Inman.com)
Bottom line: Rates are still low, as is inventory, so if you’re in the market to buy it could be a great time for you. Discuss your options with a local real estate expert and trusted lender, and please be patient and plan accordingly as we are all dealing with circumstances beyond anyone’s control in this current climate.
Home Buyer Quick Links:
- The Virtual Home Buyer
- Oregon Home Buyer Advisory | COVID-19 Update
- A Recession Does Not Mean A Housing Crisis
- Search Central Oregon Homes For Sale
- Download our FREE Mobile App
Get in touch with a FRED Buyer’s Specialist via the form below: