Good news! The housing market is still active! Agents and brokers alike are finding new and creative ways to accommodate social distancing. A lot of what you've been reading about the impact of COVID-19 is negative, so we wanted to start shining some positive light and commend our network of agents and brokers for their hard work. The good news? There could be some long-term benefits from the innovations made to the home-buying process that can carry over into the post-COVID era!
Technology has made home-buying easier!
We've all had to find new ways to connect with others during the mandatory "stay-at-home" order. Social distancing has forced everyone in real-estate to create safe alternatives for those who aren't comfortable with in-person tours or meetings. Here are a few examples of how social distancing and technology have changed the future of real-estate to make it easier and more convenient.
Agents have adopted new methods for home showings
Real-estate agents are still showing houses. However, there are new guidelines they have to follow for everyone's safety. So, they have adapted by showing houses via virtual home showings. If a client wants to view a home but is worried about violating social distancing standards, they can request a Live Video Tour through the agent, or via HomeTraq. The agent will walk you through every corner of the house as if you were actually there. The agents are there to answer any questions you may have and facilitate the tour. The best part? Through HomeTraq, you aren't required to use that agent, so there is no obligation. They are there to help, even when you aren't physically at the home.
Brokers are allowing digital transactions
Like the agents showing the home, real-estate brokers have adjusted their requirements to securing homes and signing all of the paperwork. Some brokers are allowing virtual signings where a notary witnesses the signature on video. Others are closing homes in a socially distant manner, where you still sign in person but are meeting all appropriate safety precautions. Either way, COVID-19 has changed the game for real estate transactions. Thankfully, the adjustments they made were to increase convenience for their clients.
This accommodation could become a new normal for signing paperwork. After the pandemic is over, clients may have several viable options for closing on a home. This may give the client the choice of a virtual closing or the traditional in-person closing. Regardless, this is excellent news for clients who prefer digital transactions. You can do all of the paperwork from your home office or even your local coffee shop. Ultimately, the choice is now yours, where previously you had no control over the process.
More online home searches
What else can you do when you're stuck at home other than look for new, for-sale homes in your area? Searching through listings online has become more popular in recent years, but social distancing has made it a necessity. Open houses are too dangerous, and you can't leave home anyway, so you might as well go online. Right?
HomeTraq powers HomeScout, which shows you houses from your local MLS (multiple listing service). It also updates you on price reductions and status changes for houses that you "favorite." If you subscribe to HomeScout, we can also send you updates on new listings from an area you're interested in buying a home. Once you find a home you want to tour, you can apply to tour the home online as well. You don't have to call anyone, and there's no obligation if you change your mind.
You're in more control than ever before
Think about how technology has put the consumer in control. You can find a home one your own via HomeScout or another online listing service. Through HomeTraq, you also can choose when and where you want to view a house. Even more, you can switch directions or choose a different agent at any point. You're in control of the process, from start to finish!
Brokers have had to become more consumer-oriented because of the pandemic. This is good news for home buyers, as the power has shifted from the brokers' hands to the consumer. Having the power to choose when you view a home, or even the ability to select a different agent for any reason has revolutionized the home-buying process forever.
The market is ready to explode!
Although the market has held up during social distancing, many people are holding off on buying a home until some of the uncertainty wears off. So, some of the pent-up demand from COVID-19 might see a massive spike in sales in the near future. If you're considering buying a home and end up finding one you like, don't wait for someone else to become interested before you pull the trigger. Remember, being pre-approved before you decide to buy a home gives you an advantage over your competition. Beat the post-COVID rush and buy that home before it's too late!
The impact from COVID-19 is offering some opportunities for the real estate market as well. Interest rates are low right now - around 3%. Buying a home at a low rate is an advantage because you can save a lot of money long-term. Applying for a fixed rate over 15 or 30 years is your best bet to ensure your interest rates stay low throughout the life of your mortgage. If you're looking to buy a home, you might want to take advantage of the low-interest rates before the market explodes post-COVID-19.
What does this mean for you?
Technology has transformed the process of buying a home. You can do almost everything from the comfort of your own couch. From finding a house on HomeScout, requesting a Live Video Tour, and signing the paperwork online, every aspect of the home-buying process has become easier and more convenient for the home buyer. For more information about buying a home during COVID-19, feel free to check out HomeTraq FAQ on our website or reach out with any questions you may have.
Happy House Hunting!