3 tips for buying your next family home during a pandemic.
Buying a home during the pandemic can be a daunting task. Due to constantly changing protocols, you may need to make key decisions without having all of the information – making it a risky venture!
Since the steps are never the same for each and every home buying situation, especially now, it’s difficult to know where to start. Luckily, there are several methods you can utilize to help you through your virtual hunt into the real estate market!
Rely on professionals
Has your family, neighbor, or friend ever provided unsolicited, “expert” advice? While you may think someone who has had experience in buying a home before knows what they’re talking about, it’s much smarter to discuss your goals with certified professionals, especially considering the numerous changes to the most recent home buying process has undergone.
When it comes to a realtor, be sure to work with someone you trust. During your house hunt, you will be sharing sensitive financial information regarding the budget that you have to work with. You’ll also want someone who understands the must-haves of your prospective home. Pandemic buyers typically have less to work with when it comes to open houses and getting a feel for the home, so ensure your realtor has your back.
It’s easy for your visions to be bigger than your budget, therefore it’s essential that your realtor understands your specific financial information as well. This will allow them to better understand what you are capable of offering when negotiations take place.
Understand the costs
There’s much more than your monthly mortgage payment that goes toward your home and considering you may be buying sight unseen, it’s essential to understand the true cost. The actual mortgage, which is referred to as the principal, and the interest rate are only two small pieces of the puzzle.
Additional expenses will include a down payment, closing costs, property taxes, and the costs of an attorney and home inspection. The down payment is usually the most recognizable obstacle for many families buying a home. On average, a buyer should aim to provide a down payment that amounts to 20% of the overall cost of the home. So, if the home costs $100,000, the buyer would pay $20,000 upfront, in cash. While this may seem overwhelming, especially after looking at comparable houses for sale, FHA loans only require the buyer to put down 3.5%, which is a much more manageable amount and another reason many families choose this type of loan.
Closing costs, property taxes, a legal attorney, and home inspection are also upfront expenses you will have to pay. You can usually estimate these added expenditures to set you back the same amount as your down payment, so when considering how much you should have to spend overall on these supplemental expenses, doubling your closing costs is a safe bet.
Learn more about how much house you need
Taking on an estate is not exactly ideal for a small to midsize family. Home maintenance is a huge responsibility as a homeowner and having too much to care for can prevent you from truly enjoying your new home. On top of that, there are also added, unexpected costs that come with owning a larger residence that may take away from other family activities like road trips or vacations.
Rather than winging it and hoping you end up with the right home, take a personal inventory of what you want and need in a home for the next five years. Keep in mind, with the introduction of COVID-19 precautionary measures, many people won’t have the opportunity to tour homes and attend open houses. Fortunately, you can use virtual home tours to get a better idea of what your home will look like before purchasing.
Buying a home during a pandemic is a huge responsibility. While it’s easy to get caught up in all the mistakes that can be made during the process, reveling in all the successes is a lot more fun!