As bars, restaurants, churches and arenas were forced to shutter and people were ordered to stay at home during the emergence of COVID-19 last year, the doors on the housing market burst wide open fueled by historic low mortgage rates.
Social distancing guidelines may have hampered house showings in 2020 but the ability to interact virtually helped buyers, sellers and real-estate agents clear that hurdle. Toss the more attractive lower interest rates and for many, the opportunity to work from home, into the mix and what spun out was a robust housing market in favor of sellers.
The forecast for 2021 looks just as bright as the pandemic begins to diminish thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines and new therapies to treat the virus. Touring homes will be much easier this year and mortgage rates continue to be quite attractive. Additionally, the inventory of homes on the market is also expected to rise with new-home and existing-home sales feeding the pool, making it easier for buyers to find their dream home.
Now is as good a time to find and buy a home as any other time. If you have a good credit score, a steady income, a savings, a low to moderate debt-to-income ratio, and you feel financial ready, buying a new home is doable despite outside factors like a pandemic. And with the ultra-low mortgage rates holding steady, it makes the idea of home-buying even more enticing.
What you want to avoid in this current real-estate climate, however, is overspending, being ill-prepared and getting entangled in a bidding war that could leave you spending more than you wanted on a house. As a perspective buyer, consider these tips:
Stay true to your budget.
Lower mortgage rates may taunt you to aim higher when it comes to buying. But aim to stick to your budget and welcome the fact your monthly mortgage payments will be more manageable rather than spending more for a pricier house.
Edging out the competition.
A booming housing market that favors the seller means a competitive buyer’s market with a limited supply of houses in the pool. The low inventory and attractive mortgage rates can result in multiple buyers swooping in on the same property, which almost always leads to a bidding war with other buyers. If you want to avoid that situation, which can leave you paying more for a house than you wanted, familiarize yourself with the pre-sold homes in the area and be prepared to offer a bid you’re comfortable with. There’s no time for dawdling, though, as houses go rather quickly in this market and you don’t want the desired house to slip through your fingers.
Get all your ducks in a row.
Because so many current homeowners took advantage of mortgage forbearance opportunities last year due to job instability from COVID-19 shutdowns, lenders are a little more cautious about loans to perspective borrowers. Be prepared for more scrutiny and in-depth evaluation as lenders assess your financial stability and risk status. Make sure you gather all the necessary documents and paperwork for the lender and respond quickly to questions and requests when they proffer them.
Buying a new home during a pandemic has its own set of unique challenges, but if you’re motivated to buy for the first time or are simply interested in relocating, now is a great time to set the ball in motion. Do some research, get your finances in order and be amply prepared when the time comes to lay claim on your dream house.
And if you’re looking for a dream home with a view in scenic western North Carolina, Vista Developers has beautiful lots, existing homes and new construction available.