May 21, 2020

Should I Buy a House During a Pandemic?

We’re all living in a “new normal.” Our jobs, our routines, and our lives have been disrupted—but what about buying a home? Is it even a good idea at a time like this?

The answer isn’t a one-size-fits-all “yes” or “no,” but the pandemic has created both new opportunities and new challenges that you should be aware of.

“Rates have been a big factor,” said Blake Thomas, Tulsa Federal Credit Union senior mortgage loan officer.

“We’re seeing historical lows. If you are in the position to buy, now is a good time from a rates perspective.”

Blake Thomas,
Senior MLO at Tulsa FCU

And, Thomas said, his mortgage group has already moved operations to be almost totally electronic, with e-signatures on most mortgage documents. The team was already moving to digital before COVID-19, but that effort has pushed even further since.

“Social distancing really didn’t slow us down,” he said. “Most all our signings are e-sign or by individual appointment to allow social distancing, and our preparation helped us be ready for this.”

“Right now, we bring in a mobile notary to sign at closing, and we have held closings where we keep all the parties separate,” Thomas said. “If you are in the market to buy and don’t need to make a huge down payment, there are products for you.”

Added Social Distancing Procedures

Mandy Stewart, a Keller Williams Realtor in the Tulsa area, said she is still seeing the fairly typical flow of customers for springtime in Tulsa. She’s seeing a lot of movement in the market for homes priced $250,000 and less.

“Those that can take advantage of the low interest rates right now are, and that’s what is making it feel like a typical, busy spring,” she said. “What is helping to keep us busy right now instead of seeing a slowdown like so many other industries is the low interest rates.”

But, Stewart said, she has adjusted significantly how she operates in the last month or more as a response to COVID-19.

“Everything about how we conduct business has changed,” she said. “Most of our showings are virtual. We just are not doing a lot of in person anything. We are able to continue to conduct business very easily; it is just done virtually. We are giving a lot of video tours and Zoom meetings. We are wearing masks and gloves to all in-person meetings. It’s just a different style of doing business.”

“If people can embrace the technology, it won’t be a very different experience for them.”

Mandy Stewart,
Realtor for Keller Williams

Stewart said most clients are happy with virtual showings initially but understandably need to see the real thing before making a decision.

“We are figuring out ways to get them inside, and we work with the current homeowners to make sure they feel comfortable having people come inside their home,” she said. “So, we are sure to wear gloves and masks, and we are very careful not to touch anything. It has been a learning adventure for all of us.”

With contactless closing and the real estate industry is pivoting to provide social-distanced viewings, sales have continued steadily in the Tulsa area this spring.

“It is still business as usual, just with a little flair,” Stewart said. “The market is still moving. We have new listings and things are selling. The market has adjusted, the workers have adjusted, and if allow for a bit of flexibility—you can get what you need as well.”

This article is for educational purposes only. Tulsa FCU makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as legal, tax or financial advice. Nor does the information directly relate to our products and/or services terms and conditions.