Now more than ever, we are living in uncertain and challenging times. COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work and play. To get a better understanding of how this pandemic has affected the mortgage industry, we interviewed a few of our Loan Officers from different regions including Heather Devoto from McLean, VA, Anne Borghesani from Plymouth, MA, and John Dolbec from Warwick, RI. Here’s what they had to say:
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced during this pandemic?
Across the board, teleworking has been an adjustment because of the lack of face-to-face communication, interruptions from kids at home, and difficulty of training new employees. However, technology has made things easier because anyone can jump on a video conference call and quickly address any questions or concerns in a timely manner.
What advice would you give someone looking to purchase a home during this time?
If you are ready to buy or refinance, rates are low and it is a great opportunity to take advantage of that if you can. If you are not quite ready yet, it’s never too early to know where you stand in terms of qualifying to buy a home.
Are there any positive things you’ve seen during this time?
The mindset about virtual technology and video conferencing has certainly changed for the better; people are much more comfortable logging into software applications like Zoom and Skype. Also, as a society, we are realizing that we can carry on with “business as usual” despite not being in an office environment. And for a lot of people, working from home has enabled them to spend more time with family.
How has the home buying process changed during COVID-19?
Buyers can now make offers sight unseen. We’ve seen most home sellers will not accept buyers without a pre-approval letter. Financing has become more creative using drive-by appraisals, title companies are now doing remote closings for convenience, and Open Houses require appointments, masks, booties, and hand sanitizer.
How have you and/or First Home Mortgage adjusted and adapted during this time?
We’re adjusting well and every member of our team has worked hard to take action to keep coworkers and clients as safe as possible. Our offices have come together working harder than ever. We’ve implemented new procedures to increase our levels of customer service.
Are there any other tips you’d like to give to potential homebuyers?
The market is competitive, and you want to be able to move fast! Spend the extra time, in the beginning, to educate yourself about the intricacies of buying a home so you can be confident and make smart home-buying decisions. Once you are ready, talk to a loan officer to get the ball rolling on qualifying instead of looking online at homes you may or may not be able to afford.
Are you looking to buy a home or refinance? Please contact one of our loan officers today!