Date Archives: September 2020

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September
17

What to Know Before Buying a House Virtually

When the global pandemic first started, Christopher and Sarra were living in Ohio and had just given birth to their first newborn daughter. Offered a new career opportunity in New Orleans, they had to quickly find a house and move. 

Because of COVID-19 and their new baby, they didn't feel comfortable traveling to New Orleans and touring multiple homes in person. Instead, they reached out to Latter & Blum Realtor, Stephanie Burkett, who is highly experienced in virtual showings and selling of homes due to her experience working with military clients. 

After several virtual tours, Christopher and Sarra finally found a place to call home in New Orleans without ever touring it in person. The family's experience of finding a home essentially "sight unseen" is not an uncommon one, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. Below are some tips for prospective home buyers that are considering buying a home virtually. 

 

1. Learn how to read about a listing online

Before you reach out to an agent and start an online search for your home, watch out for these red flags as you click through pictures:

  • Are there more photos of the home's exterior than the interior? If so, the inside might need work.
  • Photos with closed curtains or blinds could potentially be hiding an unfavorable view.
  • If a picture of a bathroom focuses on a sink, it can mean the bathroom is very small.
  • Photos that appear stretched may be smaller than it appears online.
  • Be aware of listing terms. A "fixer-upper" can mean an investment opportunity or require updating.

 

2. Pick the right real estate agent 

Like Christopher and Sarra, choosing an agent that is experienced in helping families relocate is a major plus when shopping for a home virtually. After all, your agent will be your eyes and ears during the entire touring process. Agents that specialize in relocation may understand more of the challenges that come along with buying a home sight unseen, especially since there are a lot more unknown factors and hand-holding involved. 

Pro Tip: Don't hesitate to ask your agent the following questions: Can you help schedule movers and get different moving options and quotes? Can your agent help set up services at the home or at least provide contact information for water, gas, garbage, electrical, etc.? 

 Looking for a qualified Realtor? Visit here to help you find the right agent for your needs. 

3. Request an in-depth video tour 

Before going on a virtual tour, have the floor plan of the space handy to help with determining how big a room is or how high the ceilings are. Ideally, your agent should start the tour while driving up to the house, in order to give you a better sense of the neighborhood and local amenities. If you're a parent, you may also want to request that the agent drive to the nearby schools to give a sense of how long it would take the kids to get to school each morning. From there, the agent should show you every part of the home from every possible angle. 

Pro Tip: Ask as many questions as possible — particularly about the things you can't learn just from looking at a home. Is the neighbor's dog barking all day? Can you hear planes overhead? Is there a fire station nearby? Does the house have a certain odor?

 

Visit our website to start your virtual home search today!

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