Millions of Americans that planned to buy a home in 2020 have found their plans affected by the Covid-19 restrictions around travel and social distancing. But the good news is that habits developed during the pandemic can help make your home search efficient and effective no matter where you are. Here are a few of these useful tools.
1. Find the Right Agent
A remote home buyer might have to rely on their agent more than they expect. So it's imperative that you find an agent that understands what you're looking for. Even if you're able to visit the area you want to buy in, spending the time to find the right partner means faster searches, less wasted trips, more targeted showings, and easier negotiation.
Don't settle for the first agent that you meet. Instead, talk with them to see how well you can communicate, what value they are adding to your conversations, and how much experience they have in your type of home purchase.
2. Use Remote Tools
While some remote buying technology and tools have always existed, these have been updated and promoted during the Covid-19 era. Make use of them to avoid making extra trips to see homes, meet with your agent, fill out paperwork, or complete negotiations. Start by looking for an agent who uses extensive online listings, can provide additional photos or videos, and offers digital document signing.
In addition, use modern technology on your own too. You can often look up a home's history — prices and sales, owners, and legal issues — online. Use mapping programs to get views of the neighborhood from your mobile device. Or, check online for information about things like neighborhood crime rates and the number of unsold homes in the area.
3. Outsource Everything You Can
You can learn a lot and complete many major steps in the home buying process by outsourcing the work to others. This saves time and money, and it prevents you from becoming too personally attached to an unsuitable property.
Remotely hire professionals like home inspectors, photographers, appraisers, or even drone services to visit the property and bring information to you. Ask your agent to provide a video tour of the home. If you have a friend that lives locally, enlist them to take a tour of some of your potential homes and report back.
By employing the techniques and technology made more widely available in 2020, you can shrink the amount of time and work needed to find the right new house. And then you'll be able to move forward with this new chapter in your life no matter what circumstances you face.