Many potential home buyers are wary about purchasing a home during this time of such uncertainty. While there is no straightforward answer, Utah’s housing market hasn’t been severely impacted by Covid-19. If your job and industry remains stable, it may be a good time to buy and take advantage of record low mortgage rates.
How the housing industry has adapted to keep buyers safe
As with every industry, realtors everywhere are making changes to keep buyers safe and still provide excellent service. Buyers and sellers unable or unwilling to tour a home in person, have the option to participate in video calls or have a virtual tour.
In person tours are made with great caution including sanitizing surfaces and wearing protective gear such as face masks and gloves. Many agents open all doors and cabinets so potential buyers don’t have to touch anything.
If you are thinking of purchasing a home this year, here are 5 things to keep in mind before making the decision to buy.
1 – Check your credit score
Most buyers know how important it is to keep your score up, however, some lenders have raised requirements during this unsettled time. Take time to check your score and clean up anything that may pose a problem. A FICO score of 620 is often considered the minimum score needed to purchase a home.
There are also a few lenders slowing the issuance of loans and some lending standards have tightened. Buyers may need to research multiple lenders before finding the right one.
2 – Keep saving
Some lenders are requiring large down payments. Having extra in savings is never a bad idea and may be the difference between buying a home this year, or waiting a bit. Lenders can require as much as 20% of the lending price. Don’t forget other moving expenses such as paying for movers or moving trucks and you’ll need funds for closing costs as well.
3 – Get pre-approved
Getting pre-approved is more important than ever. Start your home buying process by finding a lender so you know what you can afford and how much you’ll potentially be able to spend. Discovering potential pitfalls in the process before you start looking at houses will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
4 – Watch mortgage rates
Mortgage rates have hit historic lows amid the pandemic. The beginning of 2020 saw rates as low as 4%, but plunged in February and have settled around 3.5%. The 30 year fixed average in April was 3.363%. If you are in the market for a new home, it may be a great time to take advantage of these low rates.
5 – Research the market and know what is available
Even amid uncertainty, if you know you will be in the market for a new home in the near future, it’s never a bad idea to research the market and know what homes are available. Once you know where your finances are and what you need to do to qualify, spend some time searching for homes that may interest you and are within your price range.
If you want to talk to a real estate agent about purchasing a home in Utah, please reach out to our team!