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How COVID-19 Changed Our Real Estate Priorities

The COVID-19 pandemic caused us to have a lot of realizations. In my case, it’s three things – first, we have to make the most of the time that we spend with our loved ones. Second, healthcare is one of the most important, yet often neglected segments of many countries. Lastly, most of the work that we do in the office, can really be done at home! Commuting to and from the office is just unnecessary, unpaid work that we have been required to do all these years.

Now that I’m working from home full time, I realized that not every house is conducive for work. I live in a nice mid-rise condominium and as much as I love where I live right now, this place is just not designed to be a home office. For instance, my video calls are disrupted whenever my neighbors do some repairs and drilling in their units. I can only do so much to make my walls sound-proof. 

Last year, I have started looking for new properties and possibly, a new home that better suits my work-from-home lifestyle. During my search, I realized that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our priorities when looking for real estate. For one, the pandemic emphasized the importance of having savings and emergency funds. Consequently, many people now hold on tighter to their money, so a long-term commitment such as real estate may seem terrifying, especially since house prices are increasing at their fastest rate

I’ve already done my research, and to help you with your own, here are the steps that you should take to check if you can afford the property you’re eyeing.

Define Your Budget

If you’re a yuppie like me, your budget would most likely depend on your monthly salary. Use this calculator to check which among your real estate options you can afford based on your income. Input your salary, bonuses, and debts, and the calculator will do the rest for you. There’s also an option to calculate for two-income earners, in case you’re planning a joint application.

Calculate Your Mortgage Expenses

Finding out how much your mortgage costs can be intimidating. The good news is that there are now resources that are available online to help you calculate your monthly payments. One good site where you can get a decent estimate of your loan is MortgageCalculator.uk. I like how straightforward this calculator is – you simply type in the purchase details such as the home price, deposit, and terms, then you’ll see a detailed breakdown of the monthly fees. You even get a unique link after every specific calculation that you can refer to at a later time.

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Compare Financing Options

After figuring out how much extra money you have and then the cost of buying a new property, if needed, the next step would be to know how much money you need to borrow. Various financing options include bank loans, private mortgage companies, or government-assisted financing programs.

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I actually managed to get a 900 sqm lot in my province last year. It’s interesting how the pandemic changed my priorities when acquiring real estate. 

Location

Distance from our company’s office no longer mattered because we’re already working from home. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I would have limited myself to locations near the business districts, which are definitely more expensive.

Connectivity

One of the first things that I ask real estate agents now, is whether the location is covered by fiber internet. If my lifestyle is going to revolve around my home, internet connectivity should be a priority.

Quality of Life

Gone are the days when I’m willing live in a cramped apartment, just so I can live close to where I work. Now that I’m working from home, I can prioritize space, nature, and my health, all to have a better quality of life.

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How about you? How has has your priorities for your home and lifestyle changed over the last two years?