Buying a house is different today because of Covid 19 concerns. The good news is that you can do it because it’s not all that impossible.
Viewing A Home
Everyone looks at homes online. What’s different is that you don’t go out to see them. Virtual showings and the virtual open house have taken over. Homes are increasingly sold online using virtual technology. The buyer never goes into the house until he owns it.
Some homeowners cooperate with actual showings. We at Weichert have very strict protocols for this as do other companies.
There are also homes sold virtually with the buyer reserving the right for 1 viewing. I advise doing this in the first days of Attorney Review.
Home Inspections and Appraisals
Home inspections and appraisals are handled very differently too:
- Only the home inspector is allowed in the house.
- The seller, buyer and agents cannot be at or in the house.
- Appraisers are allowed to do drive by appraisals.
Normally both I and my buyers are at the home inspection. Often a young couple will have a parent along with them too. This can’t happen today.
Appraisers used to go inside, do a visual inspection and measure all the rooms while drawing a floor plan. Not today. I will say that the appraisers I’ve met are highly experienced so I feel this will be fine.
You see a bank advertising loans with a 620 credit score. That’s the bank’s policy. You have 690 so you’re good. Not at all because Wall Street investors who buy mortgage loans want 700. What’s going on?
It’s the economy or lack thereof. Investors rule and they are getting nervous. 43% of all workers are laid off, furloughed or cut back severely. As a result, they are asking for more stringent qualifying.
To fully protect yourself, get an underwritten mortgage loan pre-approval. Do it now. Before you find the house. Don’t be like everyone else and wait. You might be very unhappily surprised when you get denied later on. You’ve spent thousands on a house you can’t buy and let’s not even think about how upset you’ll be.
You need a survey and title search; that’s easy. Surveyors work outside and title searches can be done through the web.
Pre closing walk through inspections are a snap because (with rare exception) the seller has moved out.
Closings were done in the buyer’s attorney’s office. It was a very nice experience for everyone and especially so for first time home buyers. We can’t do this now.
Attorneys review documents before a closing with buyers on the phone. Because banks insist on real signatures for some docs, title companies send notaries to buyers for this. There is, however, momentum towards electronic signatures on everything.
Another change is wiring funds. While there are concerns about wire fraud, funds are wired almost always.
Buying A House Is Different Today
Buying a house is different today but not impossible. It’s up to you whether or not you move forward. If you want to see what a 3D Matterport tour looks like, take a look at how I do things.