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Going Virtual - Tips for House Hunting Online

House hunting is a fun and exciting time — however, there are several reasons that it may be difficult for you to search for homes in a more "traditional" in-person way. Not to fear, thanks to technology you can still have a great time house hunting, virtually! Here are some tips for making the most of your virtual house hunt.

tips for virtual house hunting

6 Tips for Virtual House Hunting

Find a Stellar Real Estate Agent

First and foremost you should make sure to choose a Real Estate Agent who is experienced, knowledgeable, and up for the adventure of an (almost entirely) virtual homebuying experience. We highly recommend that you interview a few Agents before making your decision about who to work with.

Through the interview process you will get to know the Agent as an individual while also exploring their experience and work ethic. These are the 10 questions you should ask when choosing your Real Estate Agent. The beauty of technology is that you can request these interviews be done virtually using platforms like Zoom, Facetime, Skype, etc. An Agent should be more than accommodating to work with your schedule and technology preferences.

tips for virtual house hunting with a real estate agent

Pay Close Attention to Listing Description

It can be so easy to look over the listing description of a home, especially when there are pretty pictures to look at instead. But, when you won't be seeing the house in person, paying close attention to all of the details is very important. While the listing description won't give all of the details it will help you gather some additional information that pictures won't necessarily show.

Sometimes listing descriptions can feel like you're reading a foreign language, so never hesitate to reach out to your Real Estate Agent with questions or check out A Homebuyer's Guide to Real Estate Acronyms. Agents may also use flowery language to describe a home which could indicate a red flag so make sure to look out for Common Marketing Terms Agents Use in Home Listings and What They REALLY Mean.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Pictures are always the most fun part of reviewing a home listing. Interestingly enough you can find out much about a home simply by the pictures included (or intentionally NOT included) in the listing.

For instance, if there are only pictures showing the outside of a house this could be a sign that the inside is in poor condition so the focus has been shifted outdoors. Or if a room is very small, a wide-angle lens may be used when taking the photos which will inherently make the room look bigger than it actually is. Make sure to take your time as you look through the listing photos and ask your Real Estate Agent about anything that may be unclear.

Make the Most of Virtual Home Tours

Virtual home tours have become a very popular feature of many listings and you can often find them already included. While these virtual tours are very helpful when it comes to getting a more detailed view of the home — asking your agent or the Listing Agent (if your Agent isn't in the area) to take you on a virtual showing of the home is invaluable. This can be accomplished by the Real Estate Agent walking through the home during a scheduled video call, much like you would traditionally for a home showing.

tips for virtual house hunting

During a real-time showing you can ask to see specific features of the home that may not be covered in a virtual home tour. Don't forget to ask for the Agent to give a sweep of any yard space/land included with the home.

If it's possible, try to do a screen record of the showing so that you can go back later and re-watch the tour for reference.

Take a Look at Disclosures Statements

Disclosure statements are an important piece to any home sale but especially when you are conducting the process virtually. Any additional information you can gather about the home is vital. In most states, a person selling a home is required to document any known issues or defects with the home for potential buyers, including any current or past problems, in the form of a disclosure statement.

Check out the Neighborhood/Area Online

It's time to put your online detective hat on! Try your best to find out as much information online as you can to get an idea of what the neighborhood or general area is like. Use Google Maps and Google Street View or a similar mapping service to see what is in the area. Proximity, whether something is perceived positive or negative, can play a much larger role than you may have thought in a home’s value.

Look for things such as grocery stores, coffee shops, parks, or water features (lakes, oceans, or rivers) as they are all great things to have nearby and add to a property's value. You can also make use of county websites to look at property lines and who owns the surrounding property.

tips for virtual house hunting

Sites like YourMapper.com, StreetAdvisor.com, NeighborhoodScout.com and City-Data.com will allow you to research the area in detail and make a more educated decision as to if the location is right for you and your family.

If you have kids are would like to get a better idea of the schools in the area check out GreatSchools.org, SchoolDigger.com, PublicSchoolReview.com and PrivateSchoolReview.com. Reviewing schools within the community you are considering will allow you to quickly make an educated choice as to if the area is right for your kids.

Househunting is usually the most exciting part of the whole homebuying experience. At first, it may feel discouraging that you can't physically visit prospective homes. Thankfully, there are so many modern options with the help of technology that can offer you an opportunity to feel as close to in-person house hunting as possible. At the end of the day, don't forget the goal, finding and moving into your dream home. Happy virtual house hunting!

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Ready To Become A Smarter Homebuyer?

By signing up, you agree to Nestiny terms of use .
Whether you need a step-by-step guide, video resource or one of our many helpful tools, Nestiny has your back 24/7 for all things home buying and selling. You choose the pace, material, and when and where to learn. Unlock your free access to Nestiny today!
Are you a real estate professional? Go here .
By clicking this button, you'll enjoy free unlimited access to Nestiny and agree to our terms of use . And don't worry! Nestiny will not share your information with any parties without your consent.