Questions for First Time Home-Buyers: Quarantine Edition
Even during the midst of social distancing, life continues. While large weddings are on hold, people are still pledging lives and dreaming of a future together. What is often the next step, a new home, is also still possible. We’ll break down question a first-time home buyer should consider – pandemic or no.
I heard Interest was at Zero Percent?
The Fed cut interest rates to 0% in March, but that doesn’t mean mortgage rates fell to zero. Lenders are managing refinancing demand and home sales continue so rates have been fluctuating. According to many economists, we might expect mortgage rates to hit new record lows and remain low until this crisis is over. That’s why this may be a good time to shop. Take time to shop and compare mortgage offers as the interest rate makes a big impact over the life of a loan. If you’re a prepared buyer, now may be a good time to work with a realtor and a mortgage broker.
Can I get help with my down payment?
Down-payment assistance programs and provider education programs are still available during this crisis. Applications and education are simply moving to online only (or as much as possible). Just make sure to research your options and build in extra time to apply for available programs.
What do you mean “Home-Buyer Education?”
This is the perfect time to educate yourself on the process and knock out homebuyer education. The good news is that those options have expanded with more down payment assistance programs allowing online homebuyer education. Plus, once you complete your homebuyer education course, you’ll be a much more prepared and successful homeowner. Homebuyer education certificates are typically good for one year. If you are using a homeownership program, verify with your lender or housing finance agency what courses are approved.
So How Do I Shop?
Talk to your Realtor about procedures in your market. During a showing, buyers may be asked to wear gloves and booties over shoes. And, only the Realtor may touch doorknobs, light switches, etc. during the tour. Realtors are also typically disinfecting before and after showings.
Some Realtors are offering to do live FaceTime tours with perspective buyers. We also see more listings enable video and virtual tours so buyers can get a better feel for a space.
Now is the time for open communication. Stay connected to your Realtor and lender so you are informed as this situation continues to evolve