Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, there is no denying it’s a strange and alarming time for everyone. While many buyers wouldn’t have chosen to be looking at purchasing their next home during an unprecedented lockdown of society, there are a lot of savvy people who can see opportunities for buying.
Assess your own situation
While the outbreak is one matter, the economic aftershock of the pandemic is another.
Chief economist at realestate.com.au Nerida Conisbee explains that conditions can change rapidly, both positively and negatively, so we need to take it day by day.
If you find yourself working in an industry that is currently affected or will possibly be affected then you need to take a realistic look at the likelihood of continued employment.
If you feel comfortable, or as comfortable as you can be, then now could be a great time to find that dream home.
Plan for the worst when it comes to your finances
While it’s impossible to know exactly what the future holds you can plan for the unexpected by making sure there’s a financial buffer for you to access when times get tough.
It goes without saying that the more money set aside the better, but this isn’t always possible – especially for families with kids or those working in industries affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns, such as tourism and hospitality.
The health crisis, however, isn’t the only thing that’s unusual, says Melbourne buyers advocate Cate Bakos – the record-low interest rates are also worth considering.
“We are not only in a historically low interest rate environment, with cash rates cut again by the RBA, our current interest rate actually aids households with smaller interest repayments enabling a greater monthly surplus, and this does hold special meaning in anyone’s economic terms.”
Seek out the best advice
The main word we’re hearing around this current situation is “unprecedented”, so it’s unlikely you’re going to get a black-and-white answer. But the more informed you can be about all probable scenarios, the better.
If you’re at all in doubt about heading into a long-term relationship with the bank and a new mortgage then bend the ear of all the knowledgeable experts you can get your hands on.
Remember, property is for the long term
An important thing to remember is that property, unlike other investments, is a long term purchase. Experts agree that owning the family home is a great way to ensure long-term financial security, and while markets can dip in the short term, property values will generally increase over the long term.
If you’re in doubt about your financial situation, speak to your bank first and foremost.
“Don’t panic sell,” Conisbee says. “It’s always best to buy in a downturn and sell in an upturn. Now is a really good time to review your portfolio.”
Bakos adds: “As Warren Buffet has famously been quoted, “Be greedy when others are fearful, and be fearful when others are greedy.”