For the time being, open houses are a no-go and in-person showings have become limited. However, this does not mean that home buying and selling has stopped! The real estate industry has quickly found ways to adapt to this new "norm" to keep clients safe during the buying or selling process.
Technology has opened up a world of opportunities for real estate professionals, but none of that matters if our clients are not reaping those benefits. Here is how you can receive maximum value during your virtual house hunting experience:
Look closely at listing photos and descriptions
Looking through photos of a home online obviously does not have the same affect as viewing a home in-person, but it is a great place to start when narrowing down your options. Unfortunately, pictures can be deceiving, so it is beneficial to have an understanding of what to look for in listing photos. Some red flags include:
- No interior photos - This might just mean that the owners have not had photos taken yet, or it could mean that the inside of the home is not picture-worthy.
- Shades or blinds are closed - Generally, a homeowner would want the blinds open to provide natural light. If the blinds are closed, it is possible that they are hiding a bad view.
- Listing description uses key words such as "cozy", "vintage" and "needs TLC" - These words can easily translate to small, dated and needs more work than you are willing to put in.
If you have any concerns with the listing photos or description, it is best to have your Realtor address any questions with the listing agent before you make a decision about wanting to see the home.
Get a detailed virtual tour
Instead of in-person showings, many agents are now offering to do virtual home tours instead. This is great because it provides you the opportunity to do a "walk-through" without putting yourself or your family in harms way with COVID-19.
Most virtual tours occur by an agent walking through the home while video chatting with the potential buyer. Any good agent will be thorough during the tour, but as the potential buyer, it is up to you to ask detailed questions about the home. Have your agent show you minor details of a home, such as any final additions from a renovation, moldings, cabinet handles, etc. The more details you can see on your virtual tour, the better your experience will be.
While you are on the virtual tour, it is also a good idea to have a printed layout of the house available with you. While your agent is walking through, you will be able to follow along and have a better feel for the space and set-up of the home.
Research the neighborhood online
A neighborhood can make or break your potential dream home. Before you make a life-changing decision, hop online and do some research about the neighborhood that you are thinking about moving to. Affordability, safety and amenities are just a few things you need to know about before choosing your next place to live.
You can look at online maps to see the aerial and street views of your neighborhood, along with what kind of access you have to shops, restaurants and other daily services. You can get a breakdown of Mid-South neighborhood demographics, restaurants, school ratings, market trends and more here.
It can also be beneficial to take a drive through the neighborhood, if it is accessible. You will be able to learn more about the road conditions, the quality of other homes in the area, and the general cleanliness just by taking a drive.
For more advice during the buying/selling process, please visit www.crye-leike.com/blogs.
ABOUT CRYE-LEIKE: Crye-Leike Real Estate Services (www.crye-leike.com), a full service real estate company for over 40 years, is ranked as the third largest independently owned real estate firm in the nation and the largest serving Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and the Mid-South. Crye-Leike has more than 3,200 sales associates, over 800 employees and 140+ company-owned and franchise offices spread across nine states. It generated $6.5 billion in sales volume and 29,925 closed transaction sides corporate wide in 2019 - its biggest year ever - and is on track to achieve the company's goal of $6.8 billion in sales volume this year.