Hopeful homeowners have been stymied by social distancing. You get used to searching for a new home a certain way: the open house, the tour, the last-minute viewing before an offer comes in. However, no one wants to mill around a house with a dozen other people right now, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a seller happy to welcome you in at the drop of a hat.
If you want to house hunt during quarantine, you’ll need to get used to other ways of viewing a home. Here’s a look at how to make the most of some different virtual options, as well as how to keep yourself safe when you need to go in-person.
Pre-Recorded Video Tours
Know what to look for in buyer-recorded tours.
● Remember that most people aren’t videographers, so a seller’s DIY video tour may not do the property justice.
● Watch the video tour several times, focusing on different parts of each room on every watch-through. This will allow you to catch any potential red flags.
● Sellers know that video tours can’t cover everything, so reach out with questions.
Video chats and 3D-modeling programs can give you a virtual view inside.
● As social distancing guidelines extend, more and more buyers are asking for interactive virtual tours — either via video chat with an agent or using a 3D model of the property.
● If you’re touring via video chat, ask your agent to open cabinets and drawers, test water pressure, check for damage, and anything else you’d do during an in-person tour.
● 3D models give you a great sense of the layout of the house and how it feels to be inside, but they may make it harder to spot damage and other red flags.
Staying Safe In-Person
Need to check out a home in real life before you make a decision? Stay safe with these tips.
● Ask the seller if the residence is currently occupied, or if there have been any other in-person viewings recently.
● Cancel your tour if you’re feeling sick.
● Always wear a face mask and gloves, and ask your agent to do the same.
● Have the seller open any interior doors and flip on lights, and take care to avoid touching any surfaces while on your tour.
After the Offer
Once your offer is made, the process will probably be largely the same as before, but there are a few things that you’ll need to keep in mind.
● Inspectors in your area may be under-staffed or overbooked, so reach out and schedule your inspection as soon as your offer is accepted.
● If something comes up that needs to be fixed, understand that COVID-19 lockdown restrictions may cause construction delays.
● Consider negotiating the price down to cover the cost of any repairs, such as a busted attic fan, that can’t happen before you close on the house.
COVID-19 restrictions don’t have to bring your home hunt to a halt. You may have to learn a new set of skills to evaluate homes from a distance, but there are plenty of virtual options at your disposal. Following social distancing and staying germ-aware will help you to stay safe when you do tour a property in person. Soon, you’ll have a home you can call your own.
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