Has anyone bought a property recently?

Has anyone bought a property recently? Or thinking about it? Thoughts on doing it during COVID? Pros/cons?

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My son bought his house here eleven months ago and the value now is estimated to be up a little more than 5% since then, 2% during the past 30 days. He is in close proximity to a small city/large town and bought when the loan rates were about 1/2% higher than they are now. His is a large 3/2 with LR, DR, FR and two other large spaces.

The area is swamped with buyers looking for space for a home office now that they can work remotely and get out of major metropolitan areas where the cost of living is higher and personal space to avoid COVID is less available. The competition for larger properties is intense and likely to get worse.

In this area (southern half of Florida) it is still likely to be a reasonable time to purchase because 1) rates are low for borrowing, 2) FL has no income tax and modest property taxes so you should still be able to tax deduct all your mortgage interest and property taxes, 3) did I mention that mortgage rates are low?, 4) some very nice homes are available for under $150/sq ft, 5) most available housing is less than 40 years old.

The downside is that although Zillow shows lovely photos of homes, their fish eye cameras make spaces appear much larger than they are and a little computer tweaking has dark rooms appear bright and wall colors look like something you could live with. This makes it urgent to visit the properties in person. The other factor is that many homeowners do not know how to take care of their homes mechanically or otherwise. Get a reputable home inspector to evaluate the house on your behalf before you buy. My son paid about $50k less than the asking price because of neglected repair and maintenance found by the home inspector and that does not even start to cover the shop vacs full of pet hair we cleaned off all those little high 'statement ledges' in the home that once cleaned had the house stop smelling like a dirty kennel.
I have not, but as a former broker, I follow the local market closely. (MD suburbs of DC.) Properties are flying off the market as folks with steady incomes, but working from home, want more/better configured space. In that sense, the local market boom is covid-related, as are the historically low interest rates. With interest rates at historic lows, I would leap at buying if I had a steady, qualifying income. Also, local contractors are super busy renovating homes so that people will have better work and school from home space. With lumber prices double what they were 12 months ago, new home prices are rising accordingly.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

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