2020 has been a very unique year for many due to the coronavirus pandemic. One of the most significant aspects of this year has been the surge of San Francisco homebuyers that have begun looking for a new home. As HomeLight notes in their Top Agent Insights for Q3 2020 report, the demand for homes has surged due to mortgage rates being at all-time lows, and work from home arrangements enabling professionals to work from the locations of their choice.
If you’re in the process of looking for a new home or are thinking of getting into the market, here are a few tips to help you find the home of your dreams.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage
In today’s hot housing market, speed is essential to making a successful offer on a home. Mortgage pre-approval is invaluable to purchasing the home of your dreams. To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll need to provide a lender with a host of documents that may take some time to compile. These include bank statements, annual tax filings, paycheck stubs, and retirement or investment account statements. These provide the lender with a comprehensive overview of your financial situation and allows them to determine the amount you are eligible to borrow.
Since every lender offers different terms and rates on their mortgages, we recommend you seek pre-approval from multiple lenders. Keep in mind that mortgage pre-approvals are only valid for a certain period of time. You will often have to meet conditions to maintain the mortgage pre-approval validity. For example, a lender might issue pre-approval on the condition that you maintain a certain credit score.
By getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you get a head start on the lending process and show sellers that you’re able to move quickly. Combine this with the expertise of a real estate agent, and you can rest assured that you’re making an informed decision.
Take advantage of virtual showings
Many homeowners are conducting virtual home showings instead of hosting traditional open house events for the health and safety of buyers and residents. If you choose to attend a virtual open house, you can expect to gain some of the insights that you would from an in-person viewing, but from the comfort of your home.
It’s best to work with a real estate agent early on as they’ll have access to all the virtual houses listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). . Need an agent? Drop us a line and we’ll put you in touch with a top producer. Just let us know where you are looking. Once you have the right realtor on board, you can create a shortlist of properties. You’ll want to ask your agent for floor plans of the homes and review posted photos and videos. This will help you gather a comprehensive perspective for the showing.
If you like what you see and want to further pursue the purchase, you should follow up with the seller’s agent to schedule an appointment for an in-person showing. Many sellers are still glad to host prospective buyers for a dedicated in-person viewing.
Sign your PEAD forms (like now)
Virtual showings are a great way to work out whether a house is right for you. However, it will never replace an in-person inspection. Open houses are prohibited for safety. Any in-person viewing of a home now requires a signed Property Entry Advisory and Declaration form (PEAD). Your realtor will provide you with these forms. Have them signed and submitted to the seller’s agent as soon as possible. Real estate in the Bay Area moves quickly so Buyers need to be prepared and well-informed.
We hope these three simple tips help you get ready to make a move towards homeownership. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We have successfully helped many first-time homebuyers navigate the San Francisco market.
We’d be happy to help you too.