April 5, 2020

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Is It Safe To Go House Hunting During The Coronavirus Outbreak?

Is It Safe To Go House Hunting During The Coronavirus Outbreak?

Is the housing market is in “disarray” in the wake of the coronavirus? Some think so, sharing stories of lenders refusing new loans, mortgage rates moving contrary to their traditional patterns in the presence of influences that normally tend to put upward or downward pressure on those rates, etc.

And then there’s the coronavirus itself, bringing cancellations, disrupted travel plans, and slow sales due to reduced demand. But even with all this, house hunting and real estate sales continue.

But what can a home loan applicant do when they are afraid of catching coronavirus (however justified those fears may or may not be) or even just the garden-variety flu?

Technology provides the answer for some in the form of the virtual real estate tour.

Virtual tours can take the form of a fixed video walkthrough, or the more expansive 3D walkthroughs that allow you to adjust the angle, height, and position of the view in the room and roam all over the property.

One real estate company, Redfin, rolled out the 3D virtual tour concept as early as 2014; a blog post on Redfin’s official site claims that houses listed with 3D walkthroughs enabled “sell an average of 10 days faster and for $5,100 more than comparable homes”.

That is an important detail to keep in mind when house hunting; if you are looking at a home with a virtual walkthrough there may be more competition for that property, especially in current conditions.

It helps to get to know the housing market and learn what is typical in terms of how long a home may remain in the for sale listings. How quickly do homes sell in your market?

That’s good to know for when you get serious about buying a particular house and don’t want to lose out to someone else.

A certain contingent of house hunters don’t care for virtual tours, aren’t worried about catching coronavirus, and want the in-person real estate walkthrough instead. And there are many, many areas in the United States unaffected by the coronavirus issue at the time of this writing.

So what is the advice for those who choose to continue working on their loan in person with real estate tours and explorations of the local neighborhoods? Typical common-sense precautions. Hand washing, avoiding physical contact and staying home if you yourself have symptoms.

When you are symptomatic, or when your local officials warn against non-essential travel, it’s best to take that advice even if you feel safe doing something else.

You don’t have to suspend your house hunting activities thanks to virtual tours and other technology, but you also don’t have to stay locked away at home if you are no symptoms and aren’t advised to do so by your local health authority.

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

March 10, 2020

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association. He was Managing editor for www.valoans.com for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for FHANewsblog.com.

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