How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Made Home Buying Harder
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced changes to everyday activities as well as rare events in your life. If you'd been planning to buy a home before the pandemic hit the United States, your plans may have been curtailed. Read on to find out if the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder to buy a home.
No Open Houses
For decades, real estate agents have hosted open houses. This is an event that allows prospective buyers to walk through the home and see it in person. Neither homeowners nor real estate agents want to come into contact with dozens of people during an open house. This makes it difficult to get a feel for the size, layout, lighting and features of the space. Some real estate agents have taken to creating live Zoom videos with buyers. Others are setting up 360-degree virtual tours of homes for sale.
In the past, it was common for homebuyers to meet with and interview several buyer's agents in order to choose one who would be a good fit for purchasing their first home. This process could put a real estate agent in contact with dozens of people every week, which is not safe due to COVID-19. Now, you may do a video call to interview an agent. Technology is also your friend when you have questions about a property or about the transaction process. If you do have to meet in person for signing documents, you may end up doing so outdoors or one at a time.
Owners Disallowing Walk-Throughs
You may request remedies from the sellers. These remedies are for problems or code violations discovered during home inspections. Some sellers are limiting home inspections or even having their own inspectors handle the process. If the seller hires the inspector, they give the report to you during the transaction's bidding stage. This reduces the number of people entering the home. The final walk-through is a chance for you to ensure the property is in the stated condition and that repairs were made. Some sellers are disallowing these and are instead providing video or written confirmation of repairs.
Changes in Homebuyer Mindset
It's also important to consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the mindset of first-time homebuyers. The Millennial generation is the biggest group of first-time homebuyers. They're also a highly urban population. Cities have had an affordable housing crisis for a long time. However, COVID-19 has changed some priorities of Millennial homebuyers. Instead of saving for an expensive, small home in the heart of a large city, they may be open to suburban or outlying areas with affordable homes. That's because many employers have allowed people to work from home. With no daily commute to worry about, individuals may not mind being a greater distance away from their employer's location. If employers persist in allowing office workers to telecommute, this trend could last.