laptop with Google Maps on the screen

These days, virtual home tours are on the rise as an alternative to in-person showings. But the contactless house-hunting process might leave too much to the buyer’s imagination. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of a digital shopping experience:

Make Technology Your Best Friend

There’s plenty to admire about touring your future living room while relaxing in your current one, but it’s important to realize that photos don’t always tell the whole story. After all, cosmetic and structural issues can be cropped out before pictures are uploaded. That’s why you should ask for streaming or video tours, which might be the closest possible experience to a walk-through. 

 

In addition to getting a better feel for the interior of the home, ask to see the exterior and the neighborhood while on your streaming tour. Google Maps can provide you with a basic snapshot of the area, but a live look at neighborhood traffic and how neighbors treat their property is critical. 

 

If a homeowner or realtor is unwilling to give you a live look, you might consider shopping elsewhere. There may be glaring issues with the property or area that they’re trying to omit by offering limited digital tours. After all, most people have been using a cell phone, tablet or laptop with a good camera to work from home. Remember: They have the equipment, now they need to show their commitment. 

Realtors Should Be Your Eyes, Ears, and Noses

During an in-person tour, you would likely hear noisy neighbors or traffic, smell disturbing odors, or notice that your WiFi connection/phone reception is terrible inside the home. Not on a virtual tour. That’s where realtors come in. They should be familiar with a home’s amenities AND able to answer questions about noise levels, sewage issues, high-speed internet access and more. 

Since you’re not viewing homes in a traditional manner, it’s important to check off as many boxes as you can before signing the dotted line. That’s why insisting on a home warranty and getting all the proper inspections could help limit surprises after moving in. If, however, all of this still leaves too much uncertainty, building your next home is also an option. It might take longer to move in, but it could help reduce your concerns about unwanted surprises. 

Whether you decide to buy or build—or view properties in-person or virtually—we at Open Mortgage are always here to discuss your financing options. Visit OpenMortgage.com today to learn all about our services and to start talking with home-financing professionals.

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