If buying a North County home was on your to-do list for 2020, then don’t fret. It’s important to know that you can still buy a home right now. Even though the pandemic has somewhat changed how we do business, you can rest assured that we are still doing business. Here’s a look at how the process has changed, and what you can do to set yourself up for homebuying success.
Get pre-approved for a home loan
One thing that has not changed about the homebuying process is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Getting preapproved signals to a seller that you are serious about your offer. It will also let you know how much home you can afford and will help you overcome financial obstacles before you’re in the critical underwriting process. We can’t stress enough how important it is for anyone considering buying a North County home to get pre-approved.
Lock-in your interest rate
At the beginning of the year, mortgage rates were just under four percent. But as the pandemic took hold in the United States, the Fed lowered interest rates. At the end of March, interest rates for mortgages were hovering at around 3.5 percent. With rates this low, homebuyers can net significant savings – although it may be tougher to qualify. Shop around for a home loan to find the best deal for your circumstances. Look for a lender that will let you lock-in an interest rate for a specified period of time, factoring in that the closing process may take longer than usual.
Inspections and appraisals may take longer
The federal government has deemed real estate an essential business. This means all aspects of the closing process are still happening, but they may take longer. With new safeguards in place regarding social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting homes on the market, you should allow extra time for these tasks. Home inspectors will still need access to the home to complete the inspection process. But many appraisers are now doing drive-by or desktop appraisals to limit contact with other people.
Down payment assistance is still available
If you’re a first-time homebuyer in need of down payment assistance, then you should be aware that many of the options are still available to you. Some programs are moving their education components online and processing applications from remote offices. Research what options are available right now and give yourself extra time to complete the process.
Much of the process has become virtual
Finally, while the real estate market has been using technology during the closing process for years, the pandemic has certainly ramped up its use. Meetings and home tours are now happening online, and paperwork can be signed electronically. Many title companies are even using drive-thru closings to complete the process. While you’re closing on your new home, check-in regularly with your lender and real estate agent to make sure the process is moving smoothly.
Get help from the pros
Now more than ever, it’s essential to work with an expert real estate agent when you’re buying or selling a North County San Diego home. Contact the Cristine Clark & Jamie Gilman Team at 760-758-1211 or [email protected]. We’re keeping updated on all the latest developments and are ready to help you navigate the real estate process during these unprecedented times.