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Tina Epstein

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    Buying your dream home during a pandemic: 7 essential tips

    realtor in brooklyn holding a house key

    While homebuying during the COVID-19 pandemic presents its fair share of challenges, the good news is that it’s a realistic and attainable goal. It helps to know the right steps to take, as well as the mistakes and pitfalls to avoid.

    If you’re committed to buying a house during the pandemic, the following tips will help you make it happen:

    1. Don’t change jobs yet

      The coronavirus pandemic is a time of great uncertainty. If you’re serious about buying a house during this time, make sure to hold on to your current source of income.

      You can consider adding side hustles to supplement your income, but only as long as you can support both responsibilities along with your personal or family obligations.

    2. Follow the “30/30/3” rule

      Buying a house requires a great deal of financial discipline. Here’s an insightful formula proposed by finance expert Sam Dogen called the 30/30/3 rule:

      • Don’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on your mortgage. Always leave ample room for your basic living needs.
      • Keep 30% of the property’s value saved in cash. 20% goes to your down payment, while the other 10% will be a cash buffer that can protect you from unforeseen financial troubles.
      • Target homes valued at no more than 3x your annual gross income. To help you filter your options for a home that you can realistically and comfortably afford, simply multiply your annual gross income by three.
    3. Prioritize turnkey properties over pending constructions

      If you are looking to move right away, choose existing houses or condo units over properties that are still under construction.

      To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with buying new construction. The only problem is that the coronavirus pandemic can cause unforeseen construction delays that can keep you from moving into your new home when you want to.

    4. Prepare a thorough list of questions and requirements for virtual home viewings

      Some home sellers will only allow virtual home tours while the coronavirus threat remains at large. You won’t be able to scrutinize the property up close, so just be ready to dig into the details you need to know about with a comprehensive questionnaire for the seller or listing agent.

    5. Be prepared to move on quickly if you get outbid by competing buyers

      Chances are, you’re not the only buyer looking to take advantage of the low mortgage rates resulting from COVID-19. Expect to find yourself in a bidding war with other interested buyers, especially if you’re eyeing a desirable listing or a sought-after neighborhood. If bidding causes the selling price to balloon well out of your reach, move on to your next target.

    6. Shop around for the best loan

      Inquire with three or more loan companies in your area before taking out a mortgage. This will give you options to compare, based on various factors like the amount you can borrow, the terms of payment, and even the ease and convenience of communicating with the loan officer.

    7. Work with an experienced and trusted local real estate agent

      Get greater peace of mind as you navigate the homebuying process during the pandemic when you work with an established local real estate professional. Your agent’s resources, insights, and professional connections will simplify your experience from start to finish.

    Looking for more tips in buying a home during the pandemic? Learn more about me, Tina Epstein, and how I can help you shop for the best homes for sale in Marine Park and other wonderful Brooklyn neighborhoods. Call 917.364.1070 or email tina(dotted)epstein(at)compass(dotted)com today.