Buying a house during COVID-19
Since the pandemic began, everything has changed. And so has the process of buying a home, from finding the right property to moving in. However, the needs and dreams are still there, and whether you need to move or are moving for the fun of it, you need to be aware of the new post-COVID reality.
That is why we show below a guide based on the recommendations of experts to carry out this process without any inconvenience:
Why do I want to buy?
This is the first question to answer according to experts in the real estate market, because depending on the interests you have, certain precautions should be taken. If you have seen a house, you like it and you have the need to live there as a family, buy it, said in his own words José Montalvo, professor of Economics at the UPF, who in turn rules out the possibility of large drops in prices.
It is true that there has been a drop in real estate prices, however, it has not been very severe in percentage terms. According to the rating agency Standard & Poor’s, the drop has been 2.3%, although this does not rule out the possibility of finding a good opportunity to change homes.
However, acquiring a home for one’s own use is different from acquiring it as an investment. It is one of the most important decisions in anyone’s life and depends fundamentally on the perception of job and savings security.
However, whether you are looking to acquire the house as an investment or to live in it as a family, the conditions are given to benefit even in the midst of a difficult economic context.
How to visit a house
Real estate agencies have had to adapt their procedures to a new normality, in which social distancing and the constant disinfection of hands with alcohol or gel is basic. It is tried that all the possible dealings are done remotely, although there is a part of the process that is necessarily face-to-face, as it is the visit of the client. The recommendation, even when visiting an office, is to make an appointment in advance in order to properly prepare the disinfection and safety protocols.
What if there is an outbreak and the process stops?
Generally, at the time of purchase of a property, the buyer signs a down payment contract during the time of waiting for financing to close the contract. However, f something gets in the way of moving forward, the buyer usually loses the money he gave as downpayment.
Just in case there is a new outbreak of the pandemic that prevents the process from continuing, which is a probability to consider, it is advisable to include a specific clause in the downpayment contract where the transaction is conditioned to avoid this type of situation.
In relation to the mortgage
Not all changes are due to COVID-19, the new mortgage law has also changed some aspects of the process. The deadlines have continued to be respected and in the case of new applications, the client can request information through the channel of their choice: digital, telephone or face-to-face. However, it is essential that the influx of customers in the bank or mortgage management offices be orderly and minimized as much as possible. For this reason, it is essential to make an appointment in advance.
On the other hand, a frequent doubt when asking for a loan is which exchange rate will be more favorable. According to the INE, last March, fixed-rate mortgages surpassed variable-rate mortgages, something unusual when a decade ago they barely represented 3% of the total.
Appraisal in 2 days
The protection measures that have been implemented do not delay the operation. The deadlines with the financial institutions must be met and generally the valuation process is ready in 48 hours.
Notary, registry and other formalities
The process at the notary’s office continues to be a face-to-face process. The notary is involved at the beginning and end of the process, since according to the mortgage law a minimum of 10 days must pass from the time the binding mortgage offer is received until the signing.
José Corral, spokesman for the General Council of Notaries, pointed out that “the action protocol we have against COVID-19 requires self-protection measures such as masks, keeping a distance and making an appointment in advance”.
Likewise, the property registration process is carried out in two phases of the process. At first, if you intend to buy, you have to ask for a simple note to make sure who is the owner of the property and check if you have charges.Currently, this can not be done physically, you can only apply online. On the official website it costs nine euros plus VAT and it is normally available within 24 hours.
At the end of the acquisition process, the deed is taken to the registry for registration, although that is a step that is usually done telematically by the notary’s offices, as long as the taxes have been complied with. However, it is not possible to pay telematically in all of Spain.
Is the moving process safe?
Although there is no total flexibility, there is no problem with using a professional moving service that strictly complies with safety measures. As part of the process, your mover may ask you certain questions, such as whether the household has had any COVID-19 infection.
Knowing the current position of the different aspects involved in the process of buying a house in times of COVID-19, you can go about the task with much more peace of mind. Through Brickken, it is much simpler, as you don’t have to worry about COVID-19 and real estate sales and purchases, only about analyzing which real estate investments you think will provide you with a return, and investing wisely.