Important advice when buying a house during the pandemic

The last year has been a huge challenge for all of us and the pandemic has caused many people to rethink their lives.

We all have a new perspective on the world and many people are considering a fresh start after COVID.

Being confined to our homes means that many people who were thinking about buying a new house have decided to finally take the plunge.

The problem is, buying and selling houses is even more difficult right now than it has ever been before.

However, it is still possible as long as you make certain considerations.

These are some of the most important tips to follow when buying a house during the pandemic. 

Stay safe during viewings 

House viewings have changed a lot since the pandemic started. Depending on what the current restrictions are, you may not be able to visit houses at all, in which case, you will need to hold off on your house search.

However, most estate agents have measures in place so you can still look at houses, you just need to make sure that you are safe.

Ideally, you should be allowed into the home on your own to look around while the sellers or the estate agent wait outside.

Make sure that you keep your mask on at all times and maintain social distancing.

If you view a house and it doesn’t seem like there are any safety measures in place, don’t be afraid to let them know that you feel uncomfortable and you would like to come back another time once they have made things safer. 

Get pre-approved for a loan 

It’s more important than ever to keep a close eye on your finances. Your job may not be as stable as it once was and difficult economic times lay ahead as a result of the pandemic.

That’s why it’s a good idea to get pre-approved for a loan so you know exactly how much you will be able to borrow. This allows you to work within your budget and avoid looking at houses that you cannot realistically afford.

If you use a mortgage calculation tool, you can get an idea of what kind of mortgage you are likely to get, which improves your chances of being pre-approved.

When you are working out your budget, look for properties that you can comfortably afford, even if you are out of work for a short period. 

Negotiate on price 

Even though estate agents will try to convince you otherwise, asking prices are never set in stone. There is always some wiggle room, especially if you are the only one interested in the property.

At the moment, sellers are even more likely to negotiate because there is so much uncertainty at the minute. People are eager to sell their homes, so it’s more likely that you will get a good price.

However, you won’t get a reduction unless you ask for one, so don’t be afraid to negotiate.

Just remember that everybody is in a financially uncertain position so you shouldn’t try to push the prices down to an unreasonable level. 

Get the right insurance 

Insurance has never been more important for homeowners. You are responsible for covering the maintenance costs when something goes wrong, and in uncertain times like this, a big expense can put you in some serious financial trouble.

So, make sure that you get a good insurance policy that will cover any damage to the property and help you manage the maintenance costs.

It’s also a good idea to budget for contributions to an emergency fund. This can be used to cover maintenance costs and improvements to the house, so you don’t get caught out by big expenses. 

Consider how healthy the house is 

It’s more important than ever to look after our health, and you should take that into account when buying a house.

Things like the insulation, for example, are important because you’re more likely to get sick in a cold house. When buying an older property, ask whether there are any old building materials, like asbestos or lead paint, which could be a health risk.

Homes that have damp problems are prone to mould, which is a serious health hazard too.

In general, newer properties tend to be healthier but any house can have health hazards, so always check before you buy.

When you have a survey carried out on the house, these things will be picked up, so don’t skip that step in an attempt to save a bit of money. 

It’s not the ideal time to buy a house right now but if you are going to do it anyway, make sure to follow these tips. 

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