You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics about Kissimmee, Poinciana, Winter Haven, Davenport, and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!
There are many challenges as a result of COVID-19, but it doesn’t mean you have to put your homeownership dream on hold. This is a great opportunity to use online resources available to get prepared for the home buying process and connect to the right experts.
We answer the most common questions from first-time homebuyers to help guide you during this pandemic.
How low will mortgage rates go?
The Fed cut interest rates to 0%, but that doesn’t mean mortgage rates are at zero. While mortgage rates are still very low, lenders are also managing the refinancing demand so rates have been fluctuating. According to many economists, we might expect mortgage rates to hit new record lows and remain low until this crisis is over.
Your best bet here is to shop and compare your mortgage offers. Your mortgage rate can make a big impact over the life of your loan, but it’s not the only factor to consider. Make sure you ask these five questions when interviewing lenders.
Are down payment assistance programs still available?
Yes, programs are still available during this crisis. We are seeing many program providers moving homeownership education to online only, taking applications from their remote offices, and temporarily suspending the availability of some programs and rate locks. It’s important that you research your options for your situation and build in some extra time to apply for available programs in your market.
You can read more about the impact we are seeing on down payment programs and how we are keeping our database current.
Can I do homebuyer education online?
Yes! This is the perfect time to educate yourself on the process and knock out homebuyer education. The good news is that those options have expanded with more down payment assistance programs allowing online homebuyer education. Plus, once you complete your homebuyer education course, you’ll be a much more prepared and successful homeowner. Homebuyer education certificates are typically good for one year.
If you are using a homeownership program, verify with your lender or housing finance agency what courses are approved.
Here are some good places to begin:
o ehome America online homeownership counseling.
o MyHome by FreddieMac walks you through financing your home purchase.
o ReadyNest homebuyer education test.
o Keep’s special resources for homeowners and homebuyers during this crisis.
How can I shop for a home?
Now that we’re spending more time at home, you might as well own it, right? With social distancing, shopping for a home will look a little different. The situation is fluid, but here are some changes Realtors are making:
o New showing procedures. Talk to your Realtor about procedures in your market. During a showing buyers may be asked to wear gloves and booties over shoes. And, only the Realtor may touch door knobs, light switches, etc. during the tour. Realtors are thoroughly disinfecting before and after showings.
o Online home tours. Some Realtors are offering to do live Facetime tours with perspective buyers. We also see more listings enable video and virtual tours so buyers can get a better feel for a space.
o New home shopping. If you are looking for a new construction home, check out these tips for shopping for a new home online.
Now is the time for open communication. Stay connected to your Realtor and lender so you are informed as this situation continues to evolve.
Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!
You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.
We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.