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Real Estate Advisor Kaitlin Endres Shares 5 Tips for Home Buyers During Coronavirus

DRE # 02101835 and RE/Max Direct Brokerage for compliance as requested by the interviewee.

Even though restrictions are lifting in many places around the United States, the real estate industry will never be the same as it was before COVID-19 became a household word. I recently spoke to Kaitlin Endres and she provided 5 tips that you need to know about home shopping during the coronavirus epidemic.

Who Is Kaitlin Endres

Kaitlin Endres is a skilled digital marketer and Realtor in the Greater San Diego area of Southern California, specializing in using progressive technology for her clients. Her YouTube channel focuses on educating first time home buyers with “how to” videos and expert interviews to explain the details of real estate transactions, as well as easy tips for sellers to earn more on their home sales.

With nearly a decade of experience in the elite hospitality industry, Kaitlin combines her strengths of providing award-winning service with a command of digital outreach.

The Market Is Mostly On The Rise

If you have been waiting patiently for the market to crash so you can nab a great deal, you might be waiting a long time because the market is mostly on the rise (depending on where you live of course). According to the Market Recovery Index from Realtor.com, housing demand and home prices are above pre-COVID levels as reported by Forbes Magazine in June.

While some buyers initially held off on making purchase decisions when COVID-19 entered our reality, the data indicates that loan applications were up 13% over the year before and 15% higher than the previous week in a Forbes Magazine article published June 12th, 2020. Although more than 20 million Americans are still unemployed, the numbers indicate that there is still a strong demand for home loans.

Unless buyers vanish from the market, it’s not likely that housing prices will take a dive as long as demand continues to match supply. Forbearance should be mentioned here as the thought of balloon payments due on July 1 made some future buyers believe this will cause a drastic shift to become a buyer’s market, but in another Forbes Magazine article, only 5% of people surveyed who took the forbearance and stopped paying their mortgages reported they would not have been able to pay. Only time will tell.

Mortgage rates are volatile but may be in your favor right now

Just when no one thought that mortgage rates could get any lower, economic factors called for a game of “limbo” and dipped even more when asked, “how low can you go?”. Mortgage rates are currently at historically low levels, so it might be a good time to take advantage of the fact that it’s never been cheaper to borrow large sums of money. An article recently published by Movement Mortgage explains in detail why conditions with the Federal Reserve and the stock market have combined to create an opportunity for homebuyers to buy homes at historically low rates. If you qualify for a home loan, now might be a great time to make the commitment to buy a home while conditions allow for low rates. A licensed mortgage loan officer can discuss rates and loan conditions.

Utilize the technology that is rapidly progressing in real estate

Technology has changed the way we live and has absolutely changed the way we shop for homes. Savvy realtors utilize “doll house” 3-D technology to create a digital twin of properties listed for sale.

When you can visualize the flow of the house and do a digital “walk-though”, it removes many of the questions that come from listings that only have 2-D photo slide shows. Some houses even have hosted walkthrough videos that highlight unique features of a property that still photos can’t capture.

While these technologies have been around for years, it has become an expectation rather than a luxury in recent months. As a buyer, you won’t have control over who the sellers chose as their realtors, or how tech-forward their advertising is, but you can make it a priority to view the virtual tours they do offer.

Many realtors are also willing to video chat from a listing to limit the number of people who come through a home. If you love everything digital that you experience for a house, then you can move forward and visit in person. Other than just home shopping, paperwork can be done digitally throughout the transaction in many places around the country. When it comes to signing for your loan and ownership of the house, some states allow virtual meetings to sign instead of meeting in person. Drive-through notary services are permitted in some states. Research what is in practice in your area, or ask your realtor for an update.

Come prepared for your in-person tour

It is unreasonable to force a sale “sight unseen” other than through the screen. Almost everyone understands that you will probably want to see the house in person before making an offer. There are rules and regulations in place to protect buyers and sellers alike, so be prepared ahead of time with paperwork and PPE (personal protective equipment). Your realtor might provide gloves, masks, sanitizer, shoe coverings, and more based on what your local/state regulations require, and of course you can also bring your own. If you have been afflicted within the previous 14 days with Covid-19, have been in contact with someone afflicted with Covid-19, or have any symptoms, it is not appropriate to enter a property. You may be asked to sign a liability waiver, in the State of California for example, it’s called Property Entry And Declaration (PEAD) form and it is required to be signed and sent to the listing agent before entry.

We are in uncharted territory for real estate- especially if you want an investment property

Whether you are buying your home as a primary residence and you plan to have a rental aspect to it like an ADU or “granny flat”, or you are buying an additional property as a rental- this is an unprecedented time that cannot be compared to any other. With mortgage forbearance arrangements in place, tenant eviction moratoriums in force, no one knows what real estate will look like this year. That’s not to deter you from buying, real estate is still widely considered one of the best investments as detailed by CNBC.  The best thing you can do is consider your plan if it is to buy and hold, and how the plan fits into your big picture beyond 2020.

While the market is uncertain, there has never been a time of absolute certainty in any market or any region. Real Estate still remains one amenity that we cannot live without- we all need somewhere to live and therefore, buying and selling homes will continue. The cliché phrase is still true: don’t wait to buy real estate, buy real estate, and wait.

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