How to buy a home during the Coronavirus pandemic

How to buy a home during the Coronavirus pandemic

As with many industries, the real estate sector has had to deal with major challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While other states across Australia may be easing restrictions, Victorian restrictions have increased under stage four lockdown. This has left many Melbourne house hunters unsure of how to navigate buying a home during this time.

You may not be able to visit the premium home sites on offer in the Clyde North display village, but the team at Bloom can still help you find the home of your dreams during this challenging time. Here are our tips on how to buy a house during COVID-19.

Ensure your income is stable
Many people are facing economic uncertainty at the moment. While some continue to work from home or their workplace, many others have had hours reduced or let go completely.

Buying a house is a significant financial commitment. If you’re considering buying a home you must ensure your income is stable, which can be a hard thing to be sure of now. Even for those currently working, it can be hard to feel job security. You need to decide if now is the right time to buy a home. You don’t want to put yourself in a difficult situation by buying a house, only to lose your job afterwards.

It’s important to feel comfortable and secure with your financial situation if you’re planning to buy a house during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are concerned with income stability, now may not be the best time to buy.

Understand changes to the real estate market
The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the real estate market, and if you’re looking to buy, you need to be aware of these changes.

In many cases, house prices have dropped due to the current pandemic, which could result in you saving money when buying a home, but with many buyers being affected by job loss or uncertainty, you may be hesitant to buy right now.

Fewer houses may come on the market during the pandemic, as sellers themselves might also be facing challenges that have shifted their priorities.

When buying a home, make sure you understand how the restrictions affect you and the real estate market in the area you are looking to buy. Do as much research as you can into the real estate market, as it is currently going through many changes and challenges.

Go on virtual tours
Buying a home can be stressful at the best of times, as it’s often one of the biggest decisions in your life. Homebuyers may be left wondering how they will be able to get a proper look at prospective houses with so many restrictions on inspections.

In Victoria, you will not be able to inspect a home or visit the Clyde North display village until restrictions ease, so digital walk-throughs and virtual tours will be the only way to inspect a property. In other states, you may be required to schedule private inspections to adhere to social distancing.

If you are seriously considering buying a house now, make sure you request videos and photos of the home. Even if you can’t see a property in person, real estate agents are still able to show you everything you need to make an informed decision.

Register for online auctions
With the need for social distancing and lockdown restrictions, going to a busy street auction is currently not an option. To deal with this, realtors have moved auctions into the virtual space. Auctions are now operated through online platforms such as Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts.

You will need to register to be given access to the online auction. When you register you will need to provide your details, including your phone number. This ensures the agent can contact you if you have any issues with the video, or to discuss your offer.

While this may feel like a different experience, it will still enable potential buyers to bid on a property in much the same way, with an auctioneer running the auction. There will also be chat capabilities during the auction, so that bidders have the option to put up their hand in the video, and also write in the chat if they were not heard properly and want to be clear on their bid.

There will also be several other people working behind the scenes to ensure the auction goes well. These include agents, whose job it is to monitor all bids, agents who call bidders to negotiate bids, as well as tech support, just in case anything goes wrong.

Online auctions will enable home buyers to safely attend auctions during the pandemic.

Get pre-approved
With banks tightening their lending policies, it can be a difficult time to get a home loan. Getting pre-approval always helps to fast track the process of applying for a loan.

It can also be more challenging to gain a home loan as you will need to prove you can keep up with loan repayments, which can be more difficult during the current pandemic, with fewer guarantees of job security.

It’s hard to know what the long term effects on the real estate market may be, and while it’s a challenging time for many right now, don’t let that put you off buying your dream home as long as you have your finances sorted.