Four Tips when Buying a Home in 2021
The property market has faced many challenges since the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, but don’t let that put you off looking for a home to buy in 2021. However, there are several things you need to consider when house hunting this year. Here are four tips to help you on your way.
1. Don’t Rush the Homebuying Process
Over the course of the last year, COVID-19 has had a major impact on mortgage rates. Indeed, the rates are now almost at historic lows. Compare current 15 year fixed mortgage rates to get a good idea of what type of rates you can expect to pay when buying a home in 2021. While it’s true that mortgage rates will inevitably go up at some point, you should not rush the home-buying process just because the rates are low at present. Firstly, industry professionals predict mortgage rates will stay low throughout the rest of 2021, so you have time to carefully consider different properties to find the right one. Secondly, regardless of the state of the market, you should never rush the homebuying process, unless you are only in it for investment purposes. You need to find the right property, after all.
2. Look Up Property Tax Costs
Not only do you have to pay the principal and the interest on a mortgage every month. You’ll also have to pay property taxes. So, make sure you know what the current property tax bills are for any home you are considering purchasing, as you don’t want to have additional fees to pay that you haven’t planned for. Don’t just look at the present property taxes, though. Also, look at historic property taxes so you can get a good feel of how often taxes go up in that neighborhood. If you move somewhere where your taxes gradually increase annually, you could find your finances are overstretched in the coming years.
3. Inspect and Negotiate
2021 is a seller’s market. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate the price of the home with the seller. If he or she is looking for a quick sale, you might be able to get the property at a lower price than advertised. But to get a lower price, you need negotiating power. So, make sure you do a thorough inspection of the home you’re considering buying to identify any concerns and thereby giving you a bargaining chip. Inspections are crucial for addressing any issues that could be costly to fix, thus giving you the upper hand in negotiation.
4. Be Aware of How COVID-19 Has Changed Property Viewing
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the property market. It has also impacted the way potential buyers view properties. Viewing homes is now a little more complicated because sellers are reluctant to hold open house viewings and prospective buyers are wary of entering a stranger’s home. You may be apprehensive about opening drawers and peering too closely into corners while maintaining social distancing and wearing a face mask. In turn, that can mean you don’t look at a property in such close detail as you normally would. While you need to take all of the recommended precautions for viewing properties, make sure you still examine every part of the home in just as much detail as you would during more normal times. After all, you need to ensure a property is exactly right if it is to become your home.