COVID-19 has turned the world upside down in many ways, and you may be wondering if it’s still a good idea to buy a home right now. However, life continues despite the current pandemic, and real estate is no different. In fact, in Colorado, the real estate market is booming! With near historic mortgage rates, this could be the time to make your dream of homeownership a reality.
Even though life looks different now, people still need to buy and sell homes for a variety of reasons. Even during the 2008 real estate crash, people were still getting married, transferring jobs, having babies or becoming empty-nesters…and like today, homes are still being bought and sold.
The real estate industry is considered an essential business in Colorado, so we continue to help our customers safely navigate the home buying process. Check with your local area to see if yours is open and what restrictions exist. Here’s what you should know before you begin:
Here’s what you can expect when purchasing a home during COVID.
We’ve put guidelines in place to help everyone stay safe and healthy. Our current policy for home showings prioritize both the buyer’s and the seller’s health first, so things may look a little different than you’re used to.
1. Get Pre-Approved With A Lender
Staying organized will help the process go more smoothly and quickly. Most listing agents and sellers will not allow a showing without seeing a pre-approval letter. This eliminates casual looking and decreases the risk of spreading the virus. Some local real estate boards, cities, counties or state governors have mandated this. Check with your specific area. Another thing to note: Buyers that were prequalified before the pandemic may need to get requalified, so we recommend contacting your lender. You may have lost your eligibility status without even knowing it, so check with your lender as soon as possible.
2. Supply Is Incredibly Low
Lower numbers of homes for sale means the market is more competitive and sellers are looking for the most qualified buyers for their home. If a home shows well and is priced correctly, it will go very quickly. Let me give you an example…I listed a home on a Thursday evening in August, by Friday at 2:00 we had our first showing. An OVER-ASKING-PRICE offer came in by 4:15. It was the highest price for that size home in the community ever. We had interested buyers calling for two weeks after we accepted the offer, disappointed they’d missed out.
Agents in Denver, Boulder and surrounding towns all have similar stories. If the house is photographed well and priced at market value, it will go quickly.
3. More of the Process is Moving Online
More steps of the home buying process are moving online, so make sure you are set up to tour homes via video, electronically sign documents and even meet with your agent through technology (Zoom, FaceTime, etc.) Expect your inspection report to be delivered online as well, complete with photos and videos highlighting what concerns they may have found. Any and all measures are being taken to reduce in person interaction. And sellers – be aware many of your showings will be via video. If your home makes the cut, the agent will bring the buyers back for an in-person tour.
4. Open Houses Aren’t Happening As Often As Before COVID
Open houses aren’t happening as frequently as prior to COVID and the regulations keep changing as the states raise or lower their levels of shut downs. Many of these procedures are set by the state or local real estate boards, and can also be set at the seller’s discretion. Expect that if you do enter an open house, the sellers may be limiting the showings to one related group at a time so that homes aren’t filled with people. They’re also limiting the number of guests you can bring to home showings and meetings to ensure physical distancing requirements.
5. Showings Are Very Different Now
When looking at a home, you may be asked to wear a mask, gloves, or booties. The homeowners may also ask you to use hand sanitizer upon entering the home. As buyers, it’s best to let the agent open cabinets, drawers, and doors. Your agent will give you all of the information you need before scheduling a showing, so if you have any questions or concerns about health and safety, don’t hesitate to reach out.
6. There’s Never Been A Better Time to Sell Your Home
The good news is that if you need to sell your home, there are people who would love to buy it! Just be prepared for a whirlwind because chances are it will go quickly. The good news is that if you hire a great agent who’s goal is to make you the most of money in the least amount of time on the market, you will be very happy with your decision to sell your home.
Some may wonder if real estate is slowing down during the pandemic, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re ready to buy a home, don’t wait. The market is currently in a supply shortage, so more buyers are looking for homes than there are available. Be prepared to act fast and make quick decisions in order to secure a home you love. And if you’re looking to sell your home, don’t wait to put it on the market. Depending on the home’s price, there is a demand that creates a great opportunity to sell.
Please reach out to me with any further questions, I look forward to working with you!