Tips to Buy a Home During COVID-19

Family wearing masks in front of a house for sale during COVID

The pandemic has completely changed our world. Many people are losing their jobs and struggling to pay their bills. Many can't imagine taking on any more debt but this may be the ideal time for you to think about buying a home. The interest rates are lower than they have been in a while and you might be able to buy a home for less than you are paying for rent.

Unsure about buying a home during COVID? Here are some tips to help.

Get Pre-Approved

Before you do anything, you need to get pre-approved. Nothing is worse than finding a home that you love and realizing that you can't afford it. So, sit down and talk to a mortgage lender (or two) and figure out just where you stand.

Be Reasonable

You may not want to buy a home at the amount that they will offer because it may be too much for you. You need to make sure that you can easily afford your mortgage every month (and everything that comes along with homeownership) so find a reasonable amount that you want to spend. You are going to have to maintain the home, pay taxes, fix any repairs, and much more. You have to do all this, while also paying your routine bills like your phone and the electricity. You need to have some wiggle room in your budget so you aren't strapped for cash.

Be Picky

Due to the virus, many sellers aren't letting as many people into their homes to look around. Take your time, look at pictures, and do virtual tours when possible before deciding to go look at homes. Instead of looking at ten or so homes, maybe pick one or two of your favorites. Don't sacrifice your health to look at a few homes that you don't think are the right fit.

Don't Be Afraid to Negotiate

Prices for homes are not set in stone so you may be able to negotiate with the buyer to come up with a more reasonable price. You don't want to offend anyone by giving them a really low offer but you should be able to work with them to find a price that works for both parties.

Be Prepared to Fight

That being said, there are plenty of home buyers looking for homes right now. You may end up going against one or more people trying to buy the same house that you are. You may end up paying over the asking price if you end up bidding against another person. For this reason, you should stick to the low end of your budget when looking at homes.

Before you buy a home during COVID, make sure that you sit down with a mortgage lender. You need to figure out how much you can afford before you start looking. However, you also have to remember that there are other things that you will need to pay for when you buy a home. You need to be able to afford maintenance and fix things that break. You don't want to stretch your budget or you won't be able to enjoy your home as much as you wanted.

You also need to be careful about the homes that you visit. You aren't going to want to look at every home that might meet your fancy. Don't waste time and energy on homes that are wrong for you. If you want to live in a ranch-style home, don't look at a Cape Cod. You aren't going to buy it so you shouldn't bother.

Once you find the right home, you might be able to negotiate with the seller. However, you may also end up in a bidding war with others who want to buy the home. You may need to pay over the asking price so be sure that you can really afford that.