Last week, we talked about the importance of optimizing screen appeal when selling a home. However, what happens when you’re on the other side of the transaction? Maybe you’re PCSing to Virginia Beach, and you can’t take leave to visit properties in-person. Or maybe you just got a new job in Smithfield, and you want to solidify a home of your own before you move. Because of this, you have to buy sight unseen. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 1 in every 20 homebuyers purchased a home sight unseen in 2020. When you’re relying on virtual tours, photos, and videos to represent a property, how do you protect yourself and make sure you’re buying the right home? Keep reading for some valuable tips and tricks that will ensure you have a positive experience buying a home sight unseen.
1. Choose a great real estate agent.
If you choose The Verity Group to help you navigate your buying journey, we’ll listen intently and make sure we understand your real estate needs. We’re experienced with assisting military service members find their perfect home from a distance, and we’d be thrilled to do the same for you. Our team is extremely familiar with Hampton Roads and beyond, so if you’ve never been here before, don’t worry! We can recommend great neighborhoods and find a home that meets all of your needs.
2. Figure out exactly what you want.
Buying a home remotely means you need to be very clear about your negotiables and your non-negotiables. This way, your real estate agent will know exactly which properties to suggest. Maybe you’re dreaming of a waterfront property in Yorktown to accommodate your boat, or you’re excited to find a starter home in Chesapeake that can grow with your family. Clarify your preferences about budget, size, location, amenities, age of the home, and more. If you have any deal breakers, let your agent know.
3. Attend a virtual showing.
Once you’ve found a home that seems promising, ask your agent to schedule a virtual showing over video chat. This will give you an opportunity to see the home up close and personal and ask any pressing questions that have been on your mind. At this point in the process, you have to rely heavily on your agent’s opinion, since viewing a home over video chat isn’t quite the same as viewing a home in-person. However, if you’ve chosen an agent you trust, you should feel confident that they have your best interests at heart.
4. Vet the area.
Have your agent film the streetscape or use google street view/satellite to give you an idea of the surrounding neighborhood. Your agent can also take videos and upload them through a drive share program like Google Drive so you can refer back to them since you can't physically revisit the property. In addition, research the community yourself to make sure you're comfortable with the overall area. Look into local schools, gyms, churches, the crime rate, and more. If you feel comfortable with what you discover, that’s a green light that you’re on the right path.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask “stupid” questions.
If you’re confused about something, don’t hesitate to speak up. The home buying process is complex and can be intimidating, so there’s no such thing as a “stupid” question. The more clearly you understand what’s happening, the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel.