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Tips for Buying or Selling a Florida Home During a Pandemic

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Buying and/or selling a home is a move people generally plan years in advance, however 2020 has been a game changer. Usually, summer and spring is the time in which people get ready to sell or buy a home in Florida, but with the changes to norms brought about by coronavirus and the quarantine, some of these patterns were put on hold; all the while we saw mortgage rates drop to a historic low. In fact, national mortgage rates are so low right now they have reached a record 2.88%, the lowest recorded rate of all time. 

Despite the opportunities in the housing market, there are still some people who’ve planned to buy or sell a home this year but are still reluctant to take the leap. If you feel like this you’re not alone because with some restrictions still in place and so much uncertainty still surrounding the economy, it’s normal to want to proceed with caution. If you’re truly thinking about buying or selling a home in Florida during COVID check out these tips.


Selling a Florida Home

Stage the Home

Anyone selling their home knows they need to showcase it in the best possible light. With people being apprehensive to physically look at properties many home tours are being done virtually. Making sure your home looks its best can be done through professional photography and staging. Many realtors have the ability to help sellers with this process and in some cases this alone can boost the value of the home which means more money in your pocket. Here are some simple staging tips:

  • Consider a fresh coat of paint. Certain paints colors can boost the value of your Florida home and who doesn't love to make more money when trying to sell their home? 
  • Clean up the outside. Curb appeal is the first selling point for any home. Make sure there are no weeds, overgrown grass or kids’ toys ruining the first impression of your home.
  • Let the sunshine in. Aim to shoot mid-day. Scrub your windows clean, open the curtains and let the natural sunshine brighten up every room. This is an inexpensive way to make your home in Florida more peaceful and attract potential buyers. 
  • Undo the lived-in look. Remove all personal effects from your home before going camera-crazy. This includes stray shoes, family photos, piles of magazines, small kitchen appliances and more.
  • Shoot from the right spot. When capturing a room on camera, try to get as much of the space in the frame. Aim to include three walls, which can mean shooting from the corner or doorway. It’s also important to shoot straight and from chest height so as not to distort the room.
Sanitize for Showings

If you will be allowing potential buyers into your home, don’t forget to play it safe. Set up a box of disposable masks, shoe covers and sanitizing wipes at the door for all visitors who will be walking through your home. If you will be hosting an open house, it’s best to allow a limited number of people inside at a time to make social distancing possible.

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Price it Right

Even with the rates as low as they are, you never want to be the seller that misses out on selling their home because it’s overpriced. Don’t forget that even though people are working, some may have also experienced a reduction in pay. Always, list the selling price a little high so there’s room for negation, but never list it way above the market value.

Buying a Florida Home

Prepare for Preapproval

Before going in for the preapproval, really take a look at your finances to make sure buying is the right thing for you to do right now. Yes, the rates will save you a lot of money over time, but make sure you are in the position to make the investment of buying a home. Take a glance at your credit report, make sure credit cards are paid down, and take your income into consideration. If you have had a reduction in pay this may affect the amount you could get approved for. It might be worth it to compare what’s more important, having a house now and taking advantage of rates or having a house later, but being able to afford more of it.

Get Preapproved

Houses are selling faster than usual and because the buyer pool is larger, so large many sellers are not even taking appointments for those who aren’t preapproved. Work with your credit union or bank to have a preapproval letter. This always makes the process of looking at home easier too, that way you know exactly what to look at and what you can afford.

Find the Right Realtor

A large pool of buyers means a lot of competition, as if there wasn’t enough on a normal day in Florida. Right now you’re going to want to find a realtor with superior negotiating skills and someone who isn’t afraid to compete with other people putting in offers. When selecting a realtor many mortgage loan officers can help with finding one. If you’re looking at a mortgage with TFCU, finding a realtor and signing up for the HomeAdvantage program can even save you money when purchasing a home.

Buying & Selling in Florida

Closing a Mortgage

One important thing that both the buying and seller will experience is the closing of the home. With many workers in the home-selling industry, from professional home inspectors, to mortgage lenders, to movers working with a smaller team now, be prepared for various steps of the home-selling process to be modified. It’s best to be patient and to anticipate that things may take longer than usual. This is especially true with lenders, as low mortgage rates are triggering a spike in refinance applications across the country and lenders are busier than ever.

There’s a lot that goes into both buying and selling a home, especially now more than ever. Remember these tips when getting ready to buy or sell right now and if you need help along the way, TFCU is always here.

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