PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- With COVID-19, you might think now is not a good time to buy a home. However, Consumer Reports says that's not necessarily the case.

For over a year, Seth and Renee Bellber have been talking about selling their home for something with a little more space. Despite there being a global pandemic, they’ve decided now is the time to hit the market.

“We just had been a little reluctant to pull the trigger, but after talking to our agent, she had explained that now is as good a time as any,” Seth Bellber said.

Although navigating today’s real estate market may be tricky, Consumer Reports says there may be some benefits to buying a home now.

“If you’re secure in your job and you’ve got some savings, it’s actually not a bad time to buy,” said Paul Hope of Consumer Reports. “There are going to be opportunities that probably didn’t exist even just a few months ago.”

The first benefit? Low interest rates. An average 30-Year Fixed mortgage rate this past April was just under 3.5% which is the lowest on record since 1971.

Remember that your credit score will dictate whether or not you can get the best possible rate.

Another benefit is lower competition. Mortgage applications have declined by 35% since the first week of March, which may mean there are fewer buyers in the market right now.

But the question remains: How can you shop for and perhaps even buy a home while social distancing?

Consumer Reports says it might be easier than you think.

“The irony is that the real estate market has been actually moving towards a sort of remote or digital experience for years,” Hope said. “So skilled realtors can do things like go tour a house for you with their phone so you can really get a sense for the house before you even have to go inside.”

You’ll most likely want to step foot in the home before buying. Although rules are changing, follow local social distancing guidelines, avoid open houses, and make sure your realtor arranges a private showing just for you.

As for the Bellbers, they’ll continue their home search with a little persistence and patience.

“I think at this point it’s about not feeling the pressure of having to jump into a home right away just because you feel like you may not be able to be allowed in that house more than once,” Renee said.

Gary Harper's 3 On Your Side reports air weeknights on 3TV News at 9.


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