COVID-19 and Buying

COVID-19 and Buying

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Can I buy a home right now?

Oahu is currently in a shelter-in-place order, until April 30th (as of 4/8/20). This means you might not be able to walk through a home and there may be issues in showing homes in person. However, there are virtual tools available, such as home video tours, where I walk through the home with a camera, allowing you to watch at home. New construction homes for sale and under construction are also available to view virtually, such as those at Ward Village. Temporary business closures are affecting other key aspects of the real estate transaction, including appraisals, inspections, closing and title services, and moving. Mortgage lenders are considered essential, so you can still get a loan, if needed. 

Can I see a home without leaving my home?

I would be glad to accommodate requests for a video tour, which can include pre-recorded videos, 3D home tours, and live video walkthrough tours. If you want to virtually see a home where a seller is unable to let anyone into their home due to health concerns, I may be able to find a solution by working with the seller and their agent. 

What can I do to get started?

Despite the challenges to buying a home right now, such as limited showing availability, economic uncertainty, and health concerns, there are steps that can help to prepare for the moment when you are ready to buy:

  1. Continue saving towards your down payment.
  2. Check and improve your credit.
  3. Connect with a Lender to get pre-approved. I can send you several options to contact, if you’d like. 

If I don’t buy, am I missing the boat?

Timing the real estate market is very difficult. The best time is when it’s best for you. Some opportunities during this current market condition include:

  1. Mortgage interest rates are low, but volatile. If you can lock in a low rate, it can drastically improve your purchasing power.
  2. There could be less competition, since many buyers are staying on the sideline.
  3. Sellers who are motivated may entertain negotiations on price and terms, especially if they are on a tight timeline.
  4. If demand continues and the market recovers quickly, appreciation should continue, which means now could be a good time to get ahead of price growth. This is impossible to predict in the short term, but long term fundamentals are still strong for Oahu.

Challenges in this market include:

  1. Low inventory coupled with potential sellers choosing not to list their homes and wait until better conditions could make it more difficult to find the right home.
  2. Mortgage lenders are still working through their unprecedented backlog of applications. This could lead to increased rates, in order to slow down the incoming applications.
  3. It may be difficult to get third party services such as inspections and appraisals done on time.
  4. If the crisis remains and the shelter-in-place order is extended, this could lead to a drop in prices, which means it may be better to wait until later to buy. 

This market can hold bargains, but that’s not always guaranteed. For the savvy investor, there could be some great opportunities in the next few quarters, especially if you can find a motivated seller. For more resources on the buying process on Oahu, click here.