Will Social Distancing Keep You From Buying A Home?

Certified Mortgage Advisor
NMLS 1701021
Published 
April 13, 2020

Q&A: Home buying advantages and disadvantages during pandemic

I was asked, are there advantages or disadvantages to buying a home in the midst of social distancing and for homes on the market for six months to one year? Plus, does that create leverage for buyers offering below listing pricing?

Social distancing while buying a home, is it possible?!

So first, let's talk about social distancing and how that's affecting the home buying process. So the big issue with social distancing is most of the time when you're looking for a property, it means that you're going to have to do it virtually. So most agents now are offering virtual listings or virtual showings. So basically what they're doing is they're willing to go out to the property for you and then either, you know call you on FaceTime or record a video and walk through the home with you.

What to do when you cannot view your property personally

So the downside of this is that you don't get to actually be in the home. So what I would suggest is if you have a home that you're seriously looking about, have the agent walk you through each room, ask them to give you commentary maybe do a live call so you can go back and ask questions about certain things and the agent can point you in those directions. I would also make sure that you drive by the property and stay there for a little bit. You can still social distance while being at the property. You just might not be able to go inside.

So you want to drive by the property because maybe there's a train nearby or there's some loud place nearby that you need to know about. Or sometimes there's a sewage facility that doesn't smell too great and you need to know about that as well.

Home buying is quicker

As far as the advantages, I think the main advantage that you get is things are moving pretty quickly and that's because you know since everything's being done digitally and you're not waiting on the scheduling process, you could make decisions a lot quicker about homes. But what I would be careful about there is that you're not making emotional. Since things are going super quick.

Talk with your realtor, know when you can visit the home

So there are advantages and disadvantages. I would talk with your realtor about, at what point you can actually go into the home. Because at some point you need to actually be in that property before you purchase.

For homes on the market six months to one year plus, does that create leverage for the buyer?

The answer is absolute. If a home is on the market for six months or a year plus, there's something wrong. It's either not listed correctly or it has a bad condition. So normally, a house that is listed at the correct price is going to sell and it's going to sell quickly a home sold above what they're worth normally going to take a longer time to sell.

So right now in this market, if your home is not being sold within, I would say two weeks, then it's probably listed a little bit too high. So if you see a home that's on the market for six months plus, then you absolutely could come in with a lower offer. Now, the issue here is that if it's been on the market for six months plus, you probably have a really stubborn seller who just isn't willing to entertain a lower offer.

Maybe they will, but they probably have been lowballed already at this point. So by the time you hit, maybe the three-month mark is where I would start asking a lot of questions about why is this home not selling at all.

Be respectful

So talk with your realtor about how much lower can you come in. Don't do something that's entirely disrespectful. I think it's easy to see a homeon the, on the market for a year, and then say, I'm gonna cut them down all the way a seller's not even gonna entertain it, do something that's respectful and that they actually will entertain and maybe submit a counter offer for you.

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