While the home buying industry seems to be recovering quickly from the disruption caused by the coronavirus, it has changed the way people look for and buy homes. It’s time to get creative! Whether you’re looking to buy a home and don’t feel comfortable attending in-person open houses or showings, or the individual sellers of the homes wish to keep in-person contact to a minimum, that’s OK. You have options!
Here are some tips for buying a home virtually:
1. Understand Online Listings and What They May Be Hiding
With the more homes you look at, you’ll get better at reading into those listings and corresponding photos. Your real estate agent can also cut to the chase and tell you which listings are worth your time. This way, you’re better able to determine whether a particular house is a good enough candidate to consider attending a more in-depth tour.
While your agent will help you analyze each online listing, check out these red flags to be on the lookout for as you click through photos that don’t always reveal the true details of the property:
- Determine if there are more photos of the exterior than the interior. If this is the case, the inside may need some work.
- Do you see closed curtains and blinds? That may mean they’re hiding a bad view.
- If you see photos of a bathroom that focuses on a sink, this may mean the bathroom is very small.
- If the photos look stretched out, the seller is attempting to make that room appear bigger.
- Pay attention to listing terms, as well. For example, “cozy” means the home is small and “fixer-upper” means you’re going to have to invest a lot of extra time and money into updating it.
2. Get the Most You Can Out of Virtual Tours
Many listings also have video tours you can take. Reach out to the agent to see if there is more footage that didn’t make the cut, which the agent may have edited for time. You may also want to FaceTime your agent who can walk you through a home and share footage of the features in real time. Ask your agent to zero in on the details, such as the finishes after a renovation or a ceiling’s crown molding.
Make sure you obtain a floor plan of the home to tell you how high the ceilings are or how big a room is.
3. Take Precautions When Visiting a Home
If the seller allows you to tour a property you’re interested in, consult with your agent to make sure home visits are allowed in your city or state. Most shelter-in-place orders are already lifted, but some “safer at home” guidelines are still in place in some states. Federal guidelines say real estate is an essential business, but it’s important to remember that individual states have the final word. This means regulations vary and may change at a moment’s notice.
Next, verify with the seller’s agent that no one is sick in the household. If you get the all-clear, heed these tips to protect yourself when touring someone’s home:
- Don’t touch anything.
- Maintain social distance from your real estate agent and anyone else.
- Wear protective shoe coverings and masks and carry hand sanitizer with you.
- Wash your hands with soap after leaving the home.
As you can see, there are ways you can buy a home virtually that keep you and others safe during the process!
Contact Berkshire Hathaway Premier Properties
For more tips from an experienced real estate agent on how to buy a home virtually, contact Berkshire Hathaway Premier Properties today at 832-626-4889.