Virtual House Hunting Tips
Regular house-hunting isn't always easy, but adding distance into the mix can present challenges you don't have when looking a few neighborhoods over for a new home. While it may not be a walk in the park to buy a home from far away or just online, it is possible. If you find a great agent and follow these steps, you can take away some of the stress that comes with moving and having to buy online.
1. Start Your Research
Knowing what is in your neighborhood is something we tend to take for granted. You know where the best sushi place is and exactly what grocery store is closest to your home for those last minute runs. When moving to a new neighborhood, especially in a new state, it is key to decide what is important to you when it comes to proximity. Does your new house need to be near a park for your kids? Do you need to be 5 minutes from the closest Starbucks? You'll also want to look into crime rates and school ratings if you have children. Researching your potential neighborhoods will help you feel better about choosing a new home that may be far away. Have your agent set you up with receiving listings that fit your criteria so you won't miss them.
2. Use Technology To Your Advantage
Google Maps may not be constantly updated, but checking out an aerial view can give you an idea of what your neighborhood looks like if you don't have the opportunity to travel right away. Getting the lay of the land is just another way to feel comfortable about your new neighborhood. Go on social media and look up the communities online. Getting to read peoples feedback on areas can help in your decision if that is a place you want to be by or live in.
Make sure you are working with an agent that has the technology to show you homes virtual. Make sure you communicate which apps work best for you. Examples of common platforms can include using Facetime, Duo, or even Skype. There are many ways to see a home virtual. If any of these are impossible to get a hold of you can always get your agent to send a recording of walking thru the home and pointing out all the specifics.
3. Decide Your Non-Negotiables
Choosing a home from out of town already comes with challenges. With the current situation of Covid-19 it is important to know what you are looking for in a home and what you are needing and want in a home. If you're heading in to check out houses and have a weekend filled to the brink with potential home tours, it will make your life easier if all of those homes meet your requirements. Instead of seeing all homes that 'might' fit, have your agent remove any houses that have a non-negotiable feature - whether that is no backyard or not enough bathrooms. It will make the most of your time and remove some of the stress of seeing homes that aren't for you. Creating a list of your wants vs your needs can help out drastically when looking for a home.
4. Be prepared to travel.
Even if you have a great agent showing you as many homes as possible online, eventually you will need to plan to take a trip to your future home site to see it in person. While you may have adjusted your budget already to purchase a home, consider factoring in travel costs so you aren't stressed about eating out or gas money during your trip. Narrowing down your home choices will help you so you are not driving all over the place and help you make a decision faster and lose out the home the fits you the best.