Can I buy a house during COVID-19? Would it be crazy to look at homes? How are you handling real estate during the pandemic? These are all questions that people are texting us daily.
The short answer to your “Can I buy a house during COVID-19?” question is YES. Yes, you can. But, it’s just going to be a very different experience.
COVID-19 has changed mortgage lending
Government-backed loans, like FHA, VA, and RD loans, all have stricter requirements to be approved for a loan. And while the actual government program requirements have not changed – the investors who buy the loans have requested higher credit scores. While every lender is different, most have a minimum credit score of 640 to 680 now to qualify for these loans.
The good news is that there is still state bond money for those in need of down payment assistance!
Check with one of your favorite local lenders to see what you may qualify for.
Are interest rates still low?
With many of our clients getting interest rates in the low 3s, these stunted rates definitely increase your buying power. (We even know of someone who got a rate of 2.85%!)
Is it safe to view homes during COVID-19?
While we would love to keep everyone at home – it’s just not possible when it comes to home buying.
Does the house lean? Does the house smell bad? Are the rooms smaller than the photos? You won’t know the answer to these questions without walking through the house.
The way Team Be New Orleans is handling this dilemma is that we are asking everyone to wear masks to each house showing. We also ask everyone to respect social distancing and maintain a 6-foot distance between all of us. Gloves and hand sanitizers are stocked in our cars too.
Please keep your entourage at home though. The only people who will be allowed at home showings are you (and your partner, if you have one) and your real estate agent.
Can we still perform home inspections?
Yes! Our trusted home inspectors are still working. They also have gloves and masks. Many are asking for the home to be empty during the inspection though.
Why would someone buy a house during COVID-19?
There are many answers to this question!
Some people have to move – like job transfers or their family is growing. Others want to take advantage of these historically low-interest rates.
Things to note if you’re buying a house during COVID-19:
- Be prepared for delays. Whether it’s an appraisal delay or trying to verify your employment – we are experiencing one hiccup or another. Just roll with it.
- You still need a job to qualify for a home loan.
- If you’ve been furloughed, you may still be able to qualify for a home loan. Speak with a local lender first.
- If the house is occupied, we may only be able to get inside once or twice before you close on the home.
If you’re looking to buy a home during COVID-19, you’re not alone. We have many people still perusing houses and prepping to make offers.