The COVID-19 pandemic rages on, but many parts of life are still moving as they have always moved. People are still buying and selling houses, though the pandemic has certainly changed many aspects of how home buying works. In fact, anyone looking to buy a house in today’s market needs to be aware of what homebuying is really like in the wake of the pandemic.

Some of the fundamentals of house buying have changed in ways that make a great deal of sense. Open houses are significantly less common than they have been in the past, as sellers and real estate agents alike must balance the need to show off a home with both the safety of all involved and local regulations. Virtual tours and open houses are becoming more common, especially as more consumers become comfortable with virtual communication tools.

What’s perhaps more surprising, though, is that housing prices are rising quite significantly. One of the most puzzling trends in the housing market is that even though many people have lost their jobs and incomes are down in many areas, the price of buying a home is rising faster than ever. Between high demand among those who now have more options about where they can live due to telecommuting and a seller class that is looking to cash in on low rates and high prices, there has been a paradoxical spike in prices even as the economy fails.

What does this mean for the average buyer? It means that prices are going up now, but there is also a tendency of many sellers to overvalue their homes. Therefore, buyers must be more cautious when looking at homes and spend more time looking at comps to determine a home’s true value. While market shifts may occur soon due to this behavior, it’s still a market in which the buyer must beware.

The pandemic will almost certainly have more lasting impacts on buying and selling homes. It’s important to keep up with these changes if you plan to buy a home shortly. While nothing is certain about how the market will react in the future, understanding what it will do now will give you a better chance to prepare yourself financially for buying a home.