House Hunting Amidst COVID-19
While the pandemic has hit many industries around the world, one of the most badly hit industries is real estate. Alongside many small businesses closing down, most landlords are having a difficult time replacing longtime renters. The total current home sales plummeted in 2020 — almost rivaling the housing dive of the 2007 to 2009 financial crisis. While it still improved eventually, many realtors suddenly became worried and held aback from planning future projects.
Due to many health concerns about actually going out, checking, and pursuing leads in buying their homes, sales were down by almost 40% by the time the COVID-19 crisis was at its peak. The value of the median home sale prices almost did not net any change from the previous year — mainly due to the complete lack of demand and buyers. The national real estate activity took a hit because of the constraints and restrictions of actual home visits.
There is evidence suggesting that new listings are rebounding as the vaccine inoculation process goes on in the country. More and more people are now seeing the light and are continuing their dreams of owning their own houses. Landlords are rallying back as economic activities resume in once-bustling cities. People are beginning to adjust to living with the pandemic still there and around us.
While there is now hope for eventual recovery, the game has completely changed for many realtors. What are the ways you can buy your house safely amid this current crisis?
Organizing Virtual Visits and Tours
Virtual visits are the way to go for most enthusiastic house hunters. It is the most logical way for real estate agents and potential buyers to connect. Many realtors offer this type of visit for those who have second thoughts about going out but are still on the hunt for a great home. Virtual visits are organized similarly to an online class. Like a virtual class, there will be a brief orientation of what the piece of real estate is all about.
It will feature first the location. Will you be living near a nice suburb or near a bustling city street? Will you be near a hospital or on public transportation? How soon can an ambulance or a police vehicle come to your aid when the need arises? Are you going to be near a supply store or a gasoline station? These are only some questions that will be answered in the orientation.
Next to be featured is the external view of the house or building. Arguably one of the most important parts of the virtual tour, the real estate agent will bring the potential client around the house. One of the most attractive parts of any house visit, whether it is in-person or not, is the house viewing of the externals of the house. Most potential buyers are immediately attracted to a house by the simple viewing of its outside. Even without looking on the inside, sometimes, the buyer knows it.
The last to be featured will be the internal view of the house. Most diligent buyers cannot wait for the view of a house’s insides. There are a lot of features you must be oriented with by the real estate agent when buying a house. Mostly, it is the inside that has the most nuances. If you are with a good real estate agent, the camera work might be in high definition. Does the kitchen need the work of a plumber to get rid of the leaky faucet? Does the floor need some rework by a carpenter to get the wood boards smoothened out? These are only a few of the features you need to study carefully when looking inside a listed house. It will be the same for a virtual tour.
If you are lucky, digital flyers and information sheets will be available by the end of your virtual tour with a diligent real estate agent. A digital flyer will generally have the basic information and some photos of the actual house or building. It will also contain some flaws that, in the agent’s view, you can use to haggle the price with the owner.
Lastly, if the virtual house tour has convinced you the slightest, or if you already set your mind but need a little convincing, then actually doing the house visit or house tour might ultimately push you to make your decision final. While it can be dangerous to visit a stranger’s home in a time of a pandemic, it is a necessary thing to do if you intend to make a big investment. Remember to keep a safe distance and wear a mask to reduce your risk of contracting the virus.