Real estate websites and apps enable homeowners to check out new listings in their area without having to leave their home. These “virtual tours” aren’t just convenient; in the coronavirus era, they have become an essential part of the real estate process.
And even once the need for social distancing subsides, virtual tours can still have their place; for example, they allow buyers to easily research out-of-state listings, doing due diligence even from many miles away.
That’s not to say that a virtual tour is ever quite the same as the real thing. Whenever possible, it’s far better to actually see a place before you make an offer on it, observing what it looks like in person but also how it smells, what the neighborhood is like, etc.
If you do take a virtual tour, however, there are some simple steps you can follow to make the most out of it.
Spotting the Red Flags
First, there are a few little warning signs and red flags to watch out for. Keep these points in mind:
● If you see a listing where there are far more exterior images than interior ones, it may be because the seller is trying to hide something undesirable or unimpressive inside the house.
● If photos include closed curtains or blinds, it may be because there is an unattractive view on the other side.
● Bathroom images that focus on the sink usually indicate an extremely small space.
● If you see photos that appear “stretched out,” it could be that either the seller or the listing agent is trying to make the space look bigger than it actually is.
● Also pay attention to little giveaways in the text of the listing. A “snug” or “cozy” home is usually going to be pretty small. And a “fixer upper” is a place that’s going to require some financial investment.
Additional Tips for Virtual Listings
If you see an online listing that really draws your attention, and you’d like to see more, one option is to ask the agent to connect with you via Skype or Facetime. They can walk through the home and give you a true virtual tour, showing you parts of the home that may not be clear in the photos or videos. And if there are parts of the home you have concerns about, you can ask the agent to give you a closer look.
Indeed, it’s important to ask the agent to really get in close on some of the details of the house, such as the crown molding or the flooring. This can be very revealing as to how well the home has been maintained.
If you’d like to arrange a virtual tour like this, your buyer's agent can reach out and coordinate a time that works for you.
Another recommendation: If there is a home that interests you, always ask for the seller disclosures. There may be some underlying issues with the house that the seller is compelled to disclose, such as an issue with the roof or the foundation. Again, your agent can be a valuable resource here, helping you make sense of these disclosures.
Learn More About Virtual Tours
When you work with an agent, virtual tours can be meaningful; at the very least, they can help you narrow down your list of the homes you want to see in person.
To learn more about virtually touring homes in Charlotte or the surrounding area, reach out to Ryan Minges Real Estate at your next opportunity.