Your Ultimate Guide to Virtual Home Buying

Virtual home buying is becoming increasingly common these days. Video tours have replaced open houses and closings can be done electronically, making for a truly remote buying experience. Are you looking for a new home but unable to see the property in-person? This guide outlines the benefits of virtual home buying — along with tips for remote showings — to help you make the most of your home buying experience.

Benefits of Virtual Home Buying

In many ways, the virtual home buying process is similar to purchasing a house in-person. However, you will have to depend on your real estate agent to handle nearly the entire process, from attending inspections to guiding you through all the paperwork. You will want to find an agent familiar with remote home buying and the area you are looking in. Their experience will go a long way if there are any red flags about the buying process or the property.

Another benefit of virtual home buying is being able to tour several houses in a short period of time. You could normally spend an entire day driving from one home to the next, making notes and trying to remember them all. However, virtual home tours allow you to view several homes back-to-back and compare them from the comfort of your computer screen. A virtual tour even lets you go back and re-analyze a property as many times as you would like, without having to disturb a homeowner.

Closings can also be done remotely. Your agent will just send you the contract and addendums that can be signed using an electronic signature system. This allows the agent to go to the closing table with the closing documents — without you being there physically — and have the funds wired to complete the transaction.

Tips for Virtual Home Tours

If you are ready to take part in a virtual home tour, here are a few things that will help you make the most of the experience.

Have a Floorplan Handy

Touring a new space via video can be a challenge, as it is often hard to see how rooms connect or how they are oriented. You should have a floorplan of the home handy so that you can follow along during the tour. Not only is it helpful in understanding the flow and general layout of the space, but the plan can also provide a reference for each room’s size and ceiling height. Print out the floorplan ahead of time so that you can take notes on the home’s layout.

Ask About Sounds and Smells

Sounds and smells are also important factors to consider. On a home video tour, you might not be able to hear the neighbor’s dog barking outside or smell any strange odors. These could be deal-breakers, so ask your agent to be your nose and ears for you. Have them point out any creaky cabinets, pet odors, squeaky floorboards or other issues that you may not notice in a video call or photos. You can even ask your agent to show you the view from windows or zoom in on details that may have otherwise been overlooked.

Tour the Outside

Do not forget to see the outdoor areas of the home. This includes the deck or patio space, front and back yards, garages or sheds. Examine the condition of the driveway and exterior elements, such as the siding or roof, that could be expensive to replace. You will also want to note any concerns about lawn care needs and if the home includes a pool or hot tub. 

Explore the Neighborhood

Your new neighborhood is just as important as the house itself. Use Google Earth to see if the home you are interested in is near shopping centers, schools, parks and restaurants. You can also do a physical drive-by of the neighborhood if you are moving locally. Pay attention to the quality of the roads and whether or not there are any power lines or freeways nearby that may contribute to noise in the yard.

These are not the only tips to keep in mind when taking a virtual tour of a home for sale, though. If you decide to buy a property following a virtual showing, add contingencies to your contract for added protection. Many contracts are contingent on repairs being made or houses passing inspection — this is highly recommended, especially if you buy virtually.

Virtual home buying has become increasingly common in today’s technological landscape. Are you on the hunt for a new home? Explore and compare Perry Homes’ move-in ready properties online from the comfort of your computer screen to find your new home base today.