Money Checkup Podcast

Buying Property During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Episode 43: Buying Property During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Amber Romo, a real estate agent in the Los Angeles area, has been buying and selling homes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The processes of showing homes has changed a great deal — Amber is not doing open houses and can’t allow clients to touch anything in a home — and buyers are expressing more interest in large yards and extra bedrooms for home offices. Mortgage underwriting has gotten more conservative. Investors need to consider whether their tenants will be able to pay rent in full. 

“More than ever right now, do a deep dive into your finances before you pick up an investment property to make sure you could cover yourself in a bad situation.”

That said, Amber says she and her team are as busy as ever. Inventory is low, making many neighborhoods sellers’ markets. 

ABOUT THE GUEST:

Amber is a REALTOR® and part of The Miller Group, the top producing team for Beach City Brokers in 2019. Prior to working in real estate, she brings over 10 years of experience in the financial services industry where she learned the importance of putting her client’s needs first and always exemplifying the highest level of professionalism and respect. Her unique blend of financial services experience and work in the real estate industry makes her a valuable asset to her clients allowing her to understand their individual needs and create a custom plan to help them achieve their real estate goals. 

Social, website, book link:

Amber.tolivebythesea.com

Direct line: (424) 236-9575

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Amber worked in financial services for a decade before transitioning into real estate. She found that many of her clients who were well off in retirement had invested in real estate and seeks to help Californians build wealth through real estate. 
  • When the COVID-19 pandemic began, California limited agents to buying and selling homes virtually. About two weeks later, agents were allowed to show properties again with strict guidelines. 
  • Now, Amber is showing many more vacant homes, as sellers have already moved but are still working on selling. Restrictions include: An agent can only enter a home with two buyers, agents are not doing open houses, and potential buyers cannot touch anything. 
  • Amber has not had any buyers stop their home search process, although some paused during the spring months. Her team is busier than ever. 
  • Inventory is lower than usual, which Amber believes is due to seller wariness about having people in their homes during the pandemic. Low inventory makes this a seller’s market, and in some areas, homes are still selling fast with multiple offers. 
  • Generally, Amber is seeing buyers express more interest in larger yards and additional bedrooms compared to buyers before the pandemic. 
  • Mortgage underwriting has gotten much more conservative. Buyers should expect adjusted programs, additional employment checks, and more difficulty getting jumbo loans. 
  • Some investors are seeking to pick up investment properties at bargain prices, but generally speaking, Amber isn’t seeing that yet, since eviction and foreclosure protections are still in place in many places. 

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If you loved this episode, here’s another I know you’ll enjoy too! Episode 41: Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

WORDS OF WISDOM

“It can be a stressful thing, buying a home, selling a home. But knowing you’re doing the right thing makes it a lot easier.” 

“Now more than ever, it’s important to work with not just a local REALTOR®, but a REALTOR® who really knows what they’re doing, that’s going to be honest with you, and have the right help in your purchase.” 

“I’m starting to see people have more of a need for a yard, but also an extra bedroom… They need an extra bedroom because a lot more people are working from home. If you’re trying to juggle working from home, especially with children, maybe your dining room table is no longer sufficient.”

“If I have cash offers, even if it’s a little bit lower right now, that’s what I’m recommending to my clients. There’s more of a chance that something is going to fall out of escrow with financing.” 

“Sometimes people will be picking up investment properties and they’re counting on that income from the rental to help cover it. Talk with your advisor about making sure you have sufficient reserves set aside in case you had to cover that mortgage yourself if your tenants couldn’t do it for a substantial period of time.”

“More than ever right now, do a deep dive into your finances before you pick up an investment property to make sure you could cover yourself in a bad situation.”

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