COVID-19

Should I Buy a House During a Pandemic?

Everyone has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, whether you are feeling it right now or not. If you were one of the many people planning to buy a house this spring, now may be when you really start feeling it. You’re probably wondering, “is now is still a good time to buy a home?” A few months ago, lenders bragged about “the lowest interest rates in years,” and, “this is the perfect time to buy a home.” But is the situation still ideal?

Long story short, we all know that the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the economy. Many experts have made all kinds of projections, but the truth is, we are in uncertain times. It is impossible for us to predict how things in the housing market will play out and how long it will take for things to return to the way they were, if they ever do. Experts can only look at what has happened in the past to get an idea of what might happen in the future, but predictions don’t always pan out. So, is it wise to purchase a home in times of economic instability?

How has the coronavirus impacted the housing market?

Let’s first take a look at how this pandemic has changed the housing market. Most obviously, stay-at-home orders are making it harder for many realtors to show houses, inspectors to inspect houses, and appraisers to appraise houses. It is also harder to have any type of closing, so many are taking place from a distance and some even from inside separate vehicles. Many people no longer have the stability to buy a home – at least for the time being – so sales have slowed down. Some sellers have chosen to take their homes off the market and postpone their plans for moving.

For potential buyers with a stable income, no fear of losing a job, and the willingness to embrace digital technology, not much has changed. Interest rates have stayed where they were or are even lower than before the pandemic began. Still, as with any change, uncertainty is all around us.

What we do know

  • It is more important now than ever to get a pre-approval to know what homes you can truly afford.
  • Locking in a low interest rate now is the one thing you can control.
  • If you wait too long to lock in a historically low interest rate, you take the risk of missing out as the economy fluctuates.
  • In past recessions, housing prices have gone down and the housing market becomes a buyer’s market.
  • If you are worried about income stability and layoffs, purchase a house that is well below your budget so that you have money left over for closing costs, maintenance, repairs, and a security fund.
  • If you purchase a house now, you will have to embrace digital technology and video chats.

What should your next steps be?

If you’re ready to start the home buying process, you first need to get pre-approved. Even if you are not completely sure now is the right time for you to buy a home, a mortgage pre-approval gives you a housing budget based on the amount you are pre-approved for, and you can go from there. Having a discussion with a mortgage professional can also give you more insight into your local housing market and how the home buying process has been affected by the coronavirus. Experienced mortgage professionals can also give you advice that may help make your decision on whether or not to purchase a house during the coronavirus pandemic, an easier one. Patriot’s mortgage team is always here to help! Call us at 717-709-2580 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced and friendly mortgage officers anytime.