The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of changes in almost every industry. In the real estate sector, it has changed the way home buyers and property investors view properties that are available for sale. Although real estate agents have been using virtual tours to showcase properties to remote buyers for years, the pandemic has fast-tracked their popularity and usage. Today, they are standard practice for areas that are still under strict stay-at-home restrictions.
While virtual tours might be useful and appealing for the online shopper, the process of purchasing a home is intricate and calls for a comprehensive evaluation. Note that these tours are just selling tools that a real estate agent leverages to sell a property – the objective is to emphasize the best features while leaving out the negative ones. To help you make wise decisions, this article will share 6 actionable tips to make the most of a virtual house tour.
1. Request for a Floor Plan Before the Actual Virtual Tour
Given that you’re not walking through the home in person, it’s important to orient yourself with a floor plan. It’ll allow you to view or click through the house in a way that makes sense to you and offers a clear idea of the building’s dimensions. Asking for a floor plan before the actual virtual tour gives you a clear picture of room locations and how the house looks like. What’s more, a floor plan serves as a checklist that enables you to see everything in the house.
2. Ask as Many Questions as Possible
An in-person tour allows you to touch the countertops, see the laundry room, and assess the ceiling heights. But for a virtual tour, you’re likely to miss some crucial details or they might not be as clear as possible on a screen. So be sure to ask as many questions as possible. Start by seeking more information about finishes and brand names of equipment and appliances in the house. Ask questions about crucial, but frequently ignored spaces such as storage areas, garage, and laundry room. You can even request to see these places, especially if the tour is live.
3. Thoroughly Review the House in Every Format Possible
Carefully review your potential home in every format possible. Ask for a recording of your virtual house tour. Then, take your time to relook at the things you overlooked the first time. And if you discover there is an area or an appliance that your agent paid less attention to in the first tour, you can book a second tour to take another look at them.
4. Explore the Neighborhood
Impressed by what the virtual tour showed you? The next is to see how the neighborhood looks like. And you can only do that by visiting the area in person. Some of the things to look at during your in-person visit include nearby retails, schools, community amenities, and conditions of neighbors’ houses. An appealing house quickly becomes less appealing when you notice your immediate neighbor has a constantly yapping dog or a trash load on his backyard.
5. Virtual Tours are a Step in the Home Buying Process, Not a Complete Replacement for the Entire Process
Don’t consider a virtual house tour as a replacement for your home buying process. Instead, look at it as a useful tool to help you list down potential homes. By asking for a floor plan, visiting the house virtually, asking questions, and driving around the neighborhood, you can narrow down the list of homes you want to tour in-person to two or three, reducing your exposure.
6. Have an Inspection Done by a Professional House Inspector
A thorough inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process. The inspection will help you assess the condition of the heating and cooling unit, roof, garage, and other parts of a house. Don’t let a wonderfully organized virtual tour persuade you that the house is perfect and skip the in-depth due diligence.
Once you complete the purchase process, there are a few projects you’ll need to carry out to tailor the home to your needs. And that’s where a reputable company that provides home remodeling services come into play. This company will handle simple projects like window replacement and more complex ones like kitchen and bathroom remodeling. You’ll have peace of mind from knowing that someone who knows the ins and outs of remodeling is handling your projects.
A virtual house tour is a crucial step in the home buying process, especially during this COVID-19 era. But keep in mind that these tours are marketing tools that real estate agents use to speed up the process of selling houses by attracting more buyers and convincing them to make a purchase decision. To get the most out of them, be sure to implement the above six tips, and ask as many questions as possible.