As we approach a new year, many of the plans that were put on hold in 2020 could now become a reality. Despite the continued presence of COVID-19, much progress has been made to help mitigate its impact, including the roll out of mass vaccines which will take place over the coming months. In fact, a new online calculator in the U.K. shows when you are likely to receive your vaccine down and where you are in the queue! It appears that life may start to return to some kind of normality by the summer, and this means that you can start to dust off those plans for moving home and start preparing for your next move.
Reports have suggested that property prices in the U.S. are likely to be the most robust in 15 years, with Redfin reporting that ‘home sales, new construction and homeownership will rise to record highs, as mortgage rates remain historically low.’ Furthermore, the company’s chief economist Daryl Fairweather believes that 2021 will see ‘more home sales than any year since 2006’.
Many people who were thinking of putting their property on the market in 2020 have delayed the decision due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. Fear over the security of jobs and the availability of buyers in the market led many to decide against listing their properties. However, with a brighter 2021 predicted, and people becoming more desensitized to the pandemic, it is likely that a flurry of properties will become available, and it may well turn into a buyers market. If you are thinking of making a property move in 2021, here are a few tips to help you on your way.
Pick Your Location
This may seem an obvious point, but it is important to give due consideration to the exact location that you want to move to. Check out local amenities, schools, shops and medical facilities as well as transportation links and local parks. Research similar house prices in the area and even check out the local news to see what is happening in the local community. Keep COVID-19 in mind and consider what aspects of your current location were most valuable to you during lockdown. Experts predict that we will face another global pandemic in our lifetime, so it’s worth making sure your next move provides the right environment should we face a similar crisis in the future.
Research Properties Online
The real estate sector has had to adapt quickly to the demands of a lockdown buyer and so you may find that there is much more information available online than was previously available. We all know that pictures can often paint a rose-tinted picture of a property, with rooms looking vast thanks to a creatively used fish-eye lens. Many properties now offer virtual tours which provide much more detail to prospective buyers before they’ve even committed to a visit. Some buyers also participate in online Zoom tours or Q&As, allowing you to ask all of those pertinent questions very early on in your qualification process. This means that you can avoid much of the wasted time of viewing properties that aren’t suitable and really focus in on those which are likely to closely fit your ideal requirements.
Review Your Financials
The pandemic has hit both buyers and sellers hard, and lenders have changed the requirements for granting mortgages since the pandemic hit. It is therefore well worth checking out your current financial situation and what you’d be able to borrow before you start looking again. It may be that your available lending has decreased somewhat. On the other hand, you may find that lending rates are much more favourable, meaning that you’ll actually be able to borrow more than you were previously looking at based on your affordability. In fact, according to an article on the Motley Fool, loan limits on conforming mortgages will be going up in 2021, meaning that you may be able to borrow more to buy a house without needing a ‘jumbo loan’.
According to the Federal Housing Financing Agency, it appears that the new loan limit for conforming loans across most areas will rise to $548,20 next year. This is a leap of $37,850 and relates specifically to one-unit properties. For the vast majority of people this change won’t affect them, but for those who fall within the change limit, this could mean that they qualify for a conforming loan instead of a jumbo loan. Conforming loans typically attract lower rates and are therefore far more favorable.
The new year is always a time for setting new goals for the year ahead and after such a turbulent 2020, many will be hopeful that the next 12 months will provide a most positive experience. With property markets looking favourable, could 2021 be your year for finding your dream home?