The coronavirus has people anxious about the future and struggling to figure out how to deal with sudden and dramatic changes. If you have been thinking about buying a house, you may be wondering whether you should go ahead as planned while the world is facing a pandemic, the stock market is in turmoil and many businesses have shut down, at least temporarily.
Are Your Finances Secure?
To decide what to do, think carefully about your own situation. The most important thing to consider is whether your job (and/or your spouse’s) is secure or that you otherwise have the financial wherewithal to move forward with buying a house. This should be the first order of business before buying a house, even in the best of times.
Reasons to Buy a House Now
If your job is secure and you feel comfortable buying a house now, it might be a good idea to make an offer. Many sellers are concerned about their own financial circumstances and want to sell their homes quickly so they don’t get stuck with mortgages they can’t afford. In some cases, sellers are accepting offers well below their asking prices.
You might also benefit from a low mortgage interest rate. The Federal Reserve recently cut interest rates, which also affects mortgage rates. Interest rates for home loans are based in part on demand, however, so they have been rising and falling lately. Lock in a competitive rate to protect yourself from fluctuations before you close.
Be Prepared for Delays
If you go ahead with buying a home, expect the process to take longer than it normally would. With mortgage employees working from home and lenders being flooded with applications from homeowners who want to refinance, it may take longer than usual to process your loan application.
If you haven’t yet had the house you are interested in buying inspected and appraised, you should expect delays since inspectors and some appraisers must physically go to a house to perform their jobs. They may be wary due to concerns about contracting or spreading the coronavirus.
In many states, closing documents must be signed in person and notarized. Some states have begun allowing those documents to be signed electronically in recent years, and now many title agencies and lenders are getting on board with digital documents. That said, you might want to prepare for a delay in closing..
Should You Make an Offer or Wait?
We live in a stressful and uncertain time. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy a house now, but you should think it over carefully. Make sure you have the financial security to move forward.