With the world consumed by discussion of COVID-19, you may be wondering whether you should take action on buying or selling a home. Can you move forward safely? The simple answer is yes.
In fact, given the market conditions, there has never been a better time to purchase a luxury home in Ocala. Proceed with due caution but also with confidence. Here is advice on why the Ocala market is so rosy and how to move forward.
Low mortgage rates attractive to buyers
The incredibly low mortgage rates are appealing to buyers, which is good news for everyone involved. These rates dropped to extremely low levels for the week ending April 2nd. A key survey found that the rates fell to near the all-time low that was reached a month prior (following a rise in rates during mid-March).
Freddie Mac released its findings on April 2nd that the average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.33 percent. That rate was just slightly higher than a month previous, when the government-sponsored enterprise announced an average of 3.29 percent — the lowest figure ever recorded in the survey’s more than fifty-year history.
Real estate: an essential service
Nothing is stopping you from making a real estate transaction right now. Real estate was included on a list of “essential services” from the Department of Homeland Security. These services are considered to be vital to national/economic security or public safety/health. The federal recommendations were echoed in the “stay-at-home” order from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The 30-day order, which became effective at midnight on April 2nd, defined both commercial and residential real estate as essential services.
Given the above, you are safe legally to do everything you need to do to buy or sell a home. You should also feel safe knowing that real estate professionals will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines in their interactions with you (e.g., frequent hand-washing and maintaining a safe distance).
You can inform yourself with the CDC and Florida Department of Health COVID-19 guidelines as well, if you feel unsure. Specific tips for real estate transactions follow.
Whether you are buying or selling your home during COVID-19, it is wise to approach the situation differently. When you talk with realtors, ask them what technology they have available that can allow you to meet social-distancing recommendations.
By exchanging real estate paperwork electronically, you do not need to be in physical contact with the other party. Buyers can get their offers to sellers and use e-signing programs to approve documents without meeting face-to-face.
You can sign documents while you are connected with your agent on a live video chatting app. Having the agent “right there” to answer any questions allows you to make sure you understand everything before signing.
Other ways to stay safe
Beyond paperless transactions, other steps can be taken both by buyers and sellers.
Buyers can do the following for coronavirus protection:
Ask for a digital tour. In many cases homeowners will cancel in-home tours and open houses. The good news is that you can take video tours of homes, allowing you to see everything just as clearly as if you were there physically.
Make sure your real estate broker will keep you safe. Stay at a distance as possible. Beyond video tours, ask your broker if you can close on the home through the Internet as well.
Buyers can use these tips to stay safe from COVID-19:
Clean carefully both before and after any physical visits. Make sure that your home is safe for you and all others present by cleaning your home both before showings and after them. Buyers will also appreciate it if you have hand sanitizer for them to use.
Switch out open houses for video tours. Since gatherings of people should be avoided, it is important to cancel open houses. Video tours are becoming increasingly popular. While buyers will likely want to see a home in-person before making an offer, many will want to get a strong sense of your property through digital means first. A video tour is a win-win, since it meets buyer needs while also limiting the number of people who visit your home to those who are most seriously interested.
Get moving now
Appealing mortgage rates are just one reason it is critical to get active now if you want to buy or sell your home. Additionally, you may experience delays during the process. Buyers should talk with their lenders prior to acceptance of an offer. Often lenders’ workflows are slower, with employees working remotely because of the coronavirus. Appraisals may be slower too.
Getting in touch with a real estate broker as early as possible will be helpful to expediting the transaction. Moving rapidly is smart, given how exceptionally strong the market is currently for purchasing a luxury home. By reaching out to realtors early, you can get the best sense of which ones have the most stellar service. Now more than ever, you want a broker that will go out of their way to make sure you are comfortable and informed every step of the way.
Home buying and selling during COVID-19
Buying or selling a home can be a stressful experience, and you don’t want the challenges of the task to be compounded by the global moment. With the above advice, you can stay calm and use sound judgment during this important transaction.
Do you need help moving forward with buying or selling your home? At Hudson Phillips Ocala Properties, we are dedicated to making your luxury dream home a reality — and to keeping you safe in the process. Meet our team or start your Ocala luxury home search here.