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Do you plan on buying a home in 2020? The concept of buying a home can be rather daunting for a lot of people. This major purchase has many steps along the way. Due to the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S, many buyers are also wondering what steps they can take to better position themselves for purchasing a home while being self-quarantined. Continue reading and discover a few important steps homebuyers can take to prepare for buying a home while practicing social distancing

Gather all necessary documentation.

The mortgage application process requires a lot of documentation. The good news, however, is that most of the documents can be gathered/completed prior to your home search. Some of which include residency history, pay stubs, pre-approval documentation, employment history, copies of statements for 401ks, CDs, etc. 

Get preapproved.

One of the best steps a buyer can do is to get preapproved for a mortgage before beginning their home search. A preapproved buyer can act quickly on homes that just hit the market. If you are not preapproved you could potentially miss out on homes that may be excellent matches for you. Another major advantage of getting preapproved is that you know how much you have to spend. Once you receive a preapproval letter from the lender, you will know your exact price range. This will help you narrow down your search to homes that fall within your budget. 

Choose your realtor.

An experienced realtor will be able to guide you throughout all stages of the homebuying process. Not only will they be able to answer any questions you may have, but they can provide you with their own expertise. Be sure to reach out and speak with a few different realtors.  You want to have a list of questions ready so you can find the right person to represent you throughout your home search.

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Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S, many buyers and sellers are concerned about the current state of the housing market this spring. However, many real estate markets remain in excellent standing this year. With many states now firmly enforcing varying degrees of quarantine, real estate agents are changing the way they interact with clients and market their listings. As a result of these changes, various types of virtual walkthroughs are viable alternatives at this time.

(The following information was recently gathered from MLS Snapshots around different parts of the country).

People are still listing their homes on the market. 

Alaska: 184 New Listings

Charlotte: 201 New Listings

Miami: 287 New Listings

Maryland/Virginia/Delaware 4189 New Listings

New Orleans: 133 New Listings

NW Arkansas 151 New Listings

Palm Beach: 282 New Listings

Because home interest rates are historically low, people are still buying homes during this time of social distancing. A major drop in demand to shift the positive outlook of the housing market as we progress into the heart of the buying season. 

Alaska: 140 Sold

Charlotte: 234 Sold

Miami: 270 Sold

Maryland/Virginia/Delaware: 5121 Sold

New Orleans: 113 Sold

NW Arkansas: 121 Sold

Palm Beach: 262 Sold

Although U.S homebuyers and sellers are rethinking their real estate plans due to COVID-19, there continues to be a strong demand for buying and selling homes.

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While periods of self quarantine are quickly becoming a new reality for people around the world, many individuals are using this new lifestyle of social distancing as an opportunity to complete projects within the safety of their home. As a result of these precautions surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic, we can also expect the completion of such projects to increase the resale value of prospective properties for the market in late 2020 and early 2021. 

Cosmetic Updates

With so many homeowners now staying home and avoiding large gatherings, simple cosmetic updates serve as both an enjoyable pastime and a project completion period for many individuals. Projects such as interior painting, wallpaper removal, and flooring updates provide quarantined homeowners with a productive ongoing project while also increasing the value of their home. 

Landscaping Projects

Many homeowners are now relying on their yards and garages as an outdoor escape from their newly established solitude inside of their homes. Landscaping projects such as garden maintenance, deck repairs, and hardscaping can help to boost curb appeal for potential buyers while providing current homeowners with much needed time outdoors this spring.  

Decluttering and Organization

In addition to cosmetic updates and landscaping projects, homeowners can also invest their quarantine time into decluttering and organizing various spaces within their home. Spaces such as garages, living rooms, and bedroom closets can provide isolated homeowners with a productive pastime that will also contribute to their staging process for future selling. 

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After seeing the negative impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the stock market and the slashing of interest rates by the Federal Reserve, many homebuyers are concerned about the current state of the housing market. As Spring quickly approaches, many homebuyers are concerned about how they are going to find their dream home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Homebuyers are hesitant to attend open houses, and many sellers are unwilling to host them. As a result, real estate professionals are becoming reliant on digital technologies and different forms of content. Fortunately, we live in a time where we have mobile apps at our disposal. With many states now enforcing varying degrees of quarantine, realtors are needing to change the way they market listings and interact with clients. If a homebuyer is unable to view a home in person, a virtual walkthrough is a viable alternative at this time. These walkthroughs allow buyers to eliminate prospective properties from their search. While agents are limited during the COVID outbreak, virtual walkthroughs are a practical way for these individuals to show homes to potential buyers in real time. 

Video Chat Apps

Video chat technology already had a strong presence in the real estate industry even before COVID-19. While nothing can compare to viewing a home listing in person, video chat is the next best option. The most popular video chat options amongst real estate professionals include FaceTime and Skype. Some of the benefits of video chat include:

-Encourages social distancing 

-Eliminates the need for buyers/sellers to travel

-Minimizes the risk of exposure and further spread of the virus

-Allows buyers to view properties without risk for exposure

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On March 15th, 2020, the U.S Federal Reserve (FED) announced that it would drop interest rates to zero for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis. Once lowered during the financial crisis, rates remained at this level until December 2015. As a secondary effort to maintain economic stability during this period of uncertainty, the FED also recently announced its plans to buy $700 billion in Treasury and mortgage-backed securities to boost the economy from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The primary goal of these actions is to lower borrowing costs to a minimum over time.

Since the beginning of 2020, mortgage rates have fallen to the lowest average in 50 years. With so much uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19, no one knows how these events will impact the housing market over the next several months. In the past three months, a backlog of mortgage applications continues to grow along with the growing number of homeowners looking to refinance their homes. 

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage loan applications have not reached this quantity in over a decade. Because of the lower rates, many Americans are concerned that they will miss out if they do not buy or refinance their homes at this time. While some sellers are taking their homes off the market and cancelling open houses, low mortgage rates are continuing to drive homebuyers to the market.

The uncertainty of the housing market may continue to mirror this economic uncertainty over the next few months in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. As people around the world settle into a new reality of indefinite quarantine, real estate agents are continuing to close deals on virtual mediums as we approach peak buying season. The success of this upcoming transition to digital interactions and communications with buyers will be a key factor in the success of the market for upcoming months.

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Spring is often recognized as the best time of year to sell your home. With the winter quickly drawing to a close, many homebuyers and sellers across the country are questioning their real estate plans this spring due to COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus.

To mitigate the risk of spreading infection, a wide variety of preventative measures are now being taken across the United States. This includes the cancellation of classes, concerts, and sporting events, as well as rearranging vacation plans. As media attention on the virus continues to circulate, many people are buying an excess of cleaning products, hand sanitizers, and face masks to protect themselves. With growing uncertainty surrounding this global pandemic, people are quickly preparing for the worst.

As we continue to learn about this new virus, it is understandable that many homebuyers are concerned about the current state of the housing market. After seeing the negative impacts of the virus on the stock market, many people are wondering if the housing market will take a massive hit as well. 

In addition to the uncertainty surrounding the spread of the virus, no one knows with certainty how these events will impact the housing market over the next several months. With multiple factors at play, including the onset of flu season, it can be difficult to predict how long this virus will present a threat to public health, both within the U.S and around the world. 

Home interest rates are now historically low. As a result, it would require a major drop in demand to shift the outlook of the housing market as we move closer to the buying season. While coronavirus may stand to alter the housing market over upcoming months, employment and wage increases continue to support a strong position for the U.S housing market in 2020.

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