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Buying your first home during COVID-19? Use these 5 tips to help you navigate these uncharted waters

Buying your first home is a huge milestone and can be stressful even under ideal conditions. Add a global pandemic to the mix and it might start to feel unmanageable. We’re here to tell you—you’ve got this! Use these 5 tips to help you navigate your first purchase during these unprecedented times and land your perfect home.

The Basics

Before starting your home search, it’s always important to do the necessary legwork and come prepared; the pandemic hasn’t changed that! Assess your finances and ask yourself important questions to be sure that you’re ready to take the plunge into homeownership. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, the best next step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. The benefits of a pre-approval are two-fold; you’ll save time by only searching for and viewing homes within your budget, and sellers will take you more seriously because you’ve come prepared and the chances of financing conditions falling through are lower.

Once you know how much you can afford, make “must-have” and “nice-to-have” lists. Committing to these lists will help you stay on the right track and will keep you from becoming overwhelmed. Now you’re ready to set up alerts for homes that meet your criteria! Setting up alerts on our website is quick and easy and will have you receiving listings right to your inbox in no time.

Find the Right REALTOR®  

Finding the right REALTOR® is a key component in this journey; after all, you will be entrusting them to help you find and secure what’s likely to be your first large investment. Resist the urge to go with a relative or friend-of-a-friend because it’s convenient, instead base your decision on experience, track record and reviews, and cost. We break down the right questions to ask when selecting a REALTOR®.

Pre-pandemic, it would’ve been natural to meet up with the REALTORS® you’re considering for coffee or lunch to help make your selection. This is part of the process you can streamline during the pandemic for your safety and the safety of the REALTORS®. Start with video calls to help you select your top contenders and if an in-person meeting is still important to you, only meet with your top two instead of a handful of REALTORS®. At Purplebricks, our Home Buying REALTORS® are solely dedicated to helping buyers find their perfect home. They don’t need to worry about listing homes, marketing, or an offer coming through that they need to attend to as you’re viewing a property. Without these distractions, our Home Buying REALTORS® can focus on you and your search. Plus, we offer $2,000 cash back* just for buying with us!


Viewing Homes

Now that you have your pre-approval, home alerts and the perfect REALTOR®, you’re ready to start visiting homes. A recent study shows that 44% of buyers in Ontario are now willing to buy a home even if they're only able to view it virtually. If you're not comfortable going to an in-person showing, you have options. Book virtual showings instead or take advantage of technology and strike a balance—use 3D tours and virtual showings to narrow down the homes you want to see in-person.

If you decide to attend in-person showings, communicate with your REALTOR® on the expectations for the showing before your arrival. Bring a pair of gloves, a mask and hand sanitizer in case it is not made available by the seller. Once you’re inside of the home, avoid physically touching any part of the home. Many sellers will leave lights on and doors open to encourage a “hands-off” viewing and help you move through the home easily.

It’s important to follow the health recommendations in your province at all times. Keep your distance, space out in-person showings whenever possible, wash your hands when you get home, and be vigilant. Most importantly, if you are feeling unwell, do not attend any in-person showings.

Document Signing

While electronic signatures are not legally recognized in all provinces, many provinces had already adapted this method pre-pandemic. During the pandemic, those provinces that did not accept electronic signatures have made exceptions for the time being. To be sure, confirm with your REALTOR® that all documents will be signed electronically instead of in person. Here at Purplebricks, we’ve been using our industry-leading electronic process for years to make this part of the journey as convenient as we can for our buyers.

Rest and Recharge

House hunting can be draining, especially when markets are hot like we're currently experiencing in many regions across Canada. Keeping your immune system strong is always important, but even more so during a pandemic. Listen to your body and mind, and know when to press pause. Sometimes taking a break and returning to your house hunt with a clear head is all you need!

Need help navigating the real estate market during the COVID-19 outbreak? A Purplebricks REALTOR® can help.

If you need to sell your home or buy a home during the outbreak, rest assured that a Purplebricks REALTOR® can help you navigate the market. Purplebricks is here to support Canadians by providing them with a full-service real estate experience while saving them thousands in commission when selling their home. As for homebuyers, we share the commission by giving buyers $2,000 in cash back* when you buy a home with us. Call 1-855-999-9740 for more information.