Q: At the beginning of 2020 I had decided that I was going to buy a home this year. I’m currently taking financial fitness and homebuyer courses to get my credit in shape, etc.
I work for the DoD and my job is considered mission essential, so I am able to work 100% remotely and I’m not in any danger of being furloughed. If I stick to my savings program (for down payment) I would be looking to buy in November or December of this year.
What are your thoughts on buying a home during or following this pandemic crisis?
A: Thanks for reaching out and for your question. It’s a great one.
I say you should go for it — and continue on with your plans to buy a home later this year. I can tell from your detailed question that you have already done so many things right.
You’re saving for a down payment, getting your credit together, taking financial education and home-buying courses. That is all wonderful.
And it shows me that you’re setting yourself up for success as a first-time homebuyer — one who will understand the rights and responsibilities that go along with home ownership. (That’s one of the things I emphasize to prospective homebuyers in my book, Your First Home: The Smart Way to Get It and Keep It. After all, there’s no point in buying a house if you’re not financially ready or you don’t have an appreciation for what home ownership really entails; that could be a recipe for disaster and cause you to wind up in foreclosure down the road).
The fact that you feel extremely confident in your government job is also a huge factor.
Since your work is mission critical and you say there’s no danger of you being furloughed, that means your income is highly secure during this coronavirus pandemic.
We’re all hoping that the COVID-19 outbreak will run its course, that scientists will create a vaccine, and that the loss of human life, while at extraordinary levels, will be lowered by a cure.
Although none of us has a crystal ball about the future, it’s my opinion that once the public health care crisis is addressed, then the economic fallout from COVID-19 can also be more fully addressed.
In the meantime, we’re bound to have high levels of overall economic uncertainty and volatility. So even though you are properly preparing yourself to become a homeowner, do stay abreast of overall economic and housing-related market conditions.
Interest rates are currently very much in your favor. (As of this writing, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage had an annual percentage rate of about 3.5%. And since the Federal Reserve has committed to buying hundreds of billions in mortgage bonds to prop up the economy, some experts think rates could even dip even further – perhaps below the 3% level).
Either way, the cost of borrowing and getting a home loan is at historically low levels.
So again, I say press forward for now, optimistic and hopeful that you’re definitely on the right path and that you’ll be a first-time home buyer (God willing) before the end of this year!