It’s perfectly understandable if you just want 2020 to be over already. The fact is that there are still five months of it left to go. What’s more, some of those months cover what is traditionally peak home-buying season. The good news is that the housing market has now adjusted to the COVID19 situation and all the usual services are still very much active, albeit possibly with some changes. Here is a quick guide to what that could mean in practice.
Getting mortgage advice
All the established reasons for getting mortgage advice still apply in the post-COVID19 environment. In fact, they have become even more significant.
With COVID19 looking set to linger for quite some time to come (at least economically) and Brexit on its way, it’s arguably never been more important to make sure that you get the best, possible value out of every financial decision you make. For most people, taking out a mortgage is one of life’s biggest financial decisions so getting the best product for your situation can make a huge difference to your finances.
What’s more, getting preapproved for a mortgage not only lets you know exactly how much you can afford but also demonstrates to sellers that you are a serious buyer. This is important at the best of times and right now can make a massive difference to the likelihood of having an offer accepted.
Remember, most sellers also have to move. Their ability to move may very well depend on the buyer’s ability to complete. That’s why sellers need to know that they’re dealing with serious buyers. Right now, sellers not only have to deal with the usual upheaval of moving, but they have to do so while adhering to the health-and-safety measures required to keep safe from COVID19.
For this reason, sellers are likely to want to do everything they can to make their home-moving process as simple as possible and that includes choosing the right buyer for their current property.
Finding a property
One of the interesting trends to emerge from COVID19 is that sellers and their agents are now putting even more information online. Given that detailed floor plans and plenty of photographs were already standard before COVID19, that means a lot more emphasis on video. In fact, there is at least one known instance of a property being sold after just a virtual viewing.
This might be a bit much for some people, at least for now, but you should expect to see more (and more detailed) video footage of properties on the market. You should also feel comfortable asking for video footage (or more pictures) before deciding whether or not you want to see a property in real life. After all, it’s in everyone’s interests to limit home views to buyers who have a strong interest in it.
Viewing a property
This is probably the part of the housing market which has struggled the most to adapt to the COVID19 situation. For the time being, you should expect not only to have to social-distance and probably wear a mask but also to adhere to very strict hygiene requirements as set by the seller.
Sometimes you may see the sense in these, at other times, you might not. The key point to remember is that none of these are personal. Nobody is making a tacit comment on your standards of hygiene. The seller is just trying to keep themselves and everyone else safe.
Try to avoid touching anything unless you absolutely have to and be prepared to see homes in a state which prioritises safety over presentation, for example, covering furniture in plastic coatings. Ignore these distractions. Focus on “the bones” of the house and think about how well it would suit your intended lifestyle.
Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.