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Guide to buying a resale home during the pandemic

February 26, 2021

Buying a home under regular circumstances can be a lot to take on. Add on a pandemic with extra precautions and limitations, plus low listing inventory, and it’s tough to keep up.

While we’re nearly a year into this pandemic, it is likely that we won’t be out of it in a hurry. If you have your heart set on buying a home this year, don’t be discouraged! It’s still possible to find the home of your dreams during this time, you’ll just need to shift your expectations and roll with the process.

What to expect

If your homebuying fantasy includes spending Sunday afternoons casually hitting up open houses, you may need to rework that vision a bit. With most in-person open houses moved to virtual ones, and in-person showings pretty tight, a good portion of your home searching experience will be online.

When you do make it out to an in-person showing, expect to take extra precautions. This means answering pre-screening questions, sanitizing, masking up, and whatever other measures the seller requires.

If you decide on a home you want to put an offer on, be sure to act fast and anticipate bidding wars. With less homes on the market, most listings are getting lots of traction. So much so, that some are even going for hundreds of thousands over asking price! When it comes to bidding, decide on a limit and stick to it. In the end, if you can’t afford the home, you really haven’t won.

What to consider

Before hitting the market, it’s best to have a clear idea of what you want, and also what is realistic. Do your research on what city, town or neighbourhood you want to live, and where/what you can afford. With national average home prices up over 22 per cent in January over last year, according to CREA, it’s possible that some neighbourhoods that were once in your price range may not be anymore. So, be sure to do your research to eliminate disappointment later.

When it comes to what you want, think about your current needs, but also your future ones. With many people working from home, commuting needs have changed and home offices have ramped up. But, this trend likely won’t last forever. Find a place to call home that will work for you in the future as well, when more normalcy returns.

Bring in the professionals

Whether you’re buying your first home, or your 10th, the best way to navigate this tricky homebuying time is with a real estate agent. They’ve been working under these conditions for months now and can advise on the unknown and help make the process easier on you. If you don’t already have a real estate agent, check out our agent directory for agents in your area. Referrals from family or friends can also be a great way to go.

Even with mortgage rates at record-lows, it still pays to shop around for rates. A mortgage broker can help you determine what you can afford, and find the best rate that you’re eligible for.

Since in-person home viewings may be limited, a home inspection can be more beneficial than ever before finalizing an offer. It’s easy to get distracted by the masks, sanitizing and watching what you touch, so a second set of eyes (and a sharp one!) is always helpful. A home inspector can go through the home with a fine-tooth comb and highlight any issues.

Now can be the right time to buy, if you’re up for it! The real estate market is hot and isn’t letting the pandemic cool it down.

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