Our world was already becoming increasingly virtual, but thanks to COVID-19 the progress has accelerated. You can now order your groceries, go to work, and “visit” other places right from your couch. But did you know you can also buy a new home without leaving your current one? Whether you’re being very careful about quarantining or you’re trying to move across the country, you don’t always have an opportunity to view a home in person before buying it. However, if you use our tips, buying a home remotely can be almost exactly the same as buying in person.
Virtual Homebuying Success Story
How to Buy a Home Virtually
If you watched our success story and are ready to buy a home virtually, here are our tips to make the process go smoothly.
Start with the right agent
Just like the in-person homebuying process, the right agent can help make online home shopping easier as well. Your agent will know the area you are buying a home in and can give you tips on safety, things to do in the area, walkable spots, and more. This is especially important if you are buying a home remotely because you are in another part of the country. Their expertise will be invaluable to you if you are not from the area, or if you have never even visited the area. They can also help you navigate the remote buying process and consult with you as things change. FaceTiming your agent is a great way to feel like you’re in a home or a neighborhood when you can’t be there physically.
Set up alerts
While your agent will be keeping an eye on new listings for you, it doesn’t hurt for you to be looking as well. Plus, it can be fun to see different homes and picture yourself in them! One of the first steps to buying a home online is to set up alerts for new homes on the market. You can use a search tool like our Search for a Home tool to keep an eye on new listings. You can filter by price, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square feet, and more. Then you can set up a notification so that new listings matching your search criteria can be sent right to your inbox. It couldn’t be easier!
Look at everything
One of the keys to virtual homebuying is to look at everything you can. The real estate market is adapting and becoming increasingly tech-savvy, so take advantage of it! Be sure to check out any professional videos or 3D Matterport tours that are offered for listings. These can allow you to feel like you’re actually in the home and to get a feel for some of the spaces. With the 3D Matterport tours, you can even measure the spaces to see if your current furniture will fit! For examples of all the information that can be available to you online, check out one of our recent listings.
Tour the neighborhood online too
While you might not be able to physically walk around your potential new neighborhood, you can still “visit” before you buy a home virtually. Google Maps allows you to a street view that lets you “walk” around many streets. This can give you an idea of the neighborhood “feel” and local vibe. Check out your agent’s website too. Many have pages on different neighborhoods with a description of the area and helpful statistics like population, recent sales information, and the average selling price. They might even have neighborhood videos capturing some local charm and restaurants.
Do a virtual tour and walkthrough
Many agents are doing live virtual open houses so be sure to tune into those as well. They will give you (and anyone else watching) a tour through the house and commentary that might not be written anywhere else. It’s all the same information you would get with an in-person open house, but you can attend right from your couch. You can even ask questions in the comments and have them answered live. Once you become more serious about a specific home (or a few homes) you can schedule a private virtual showing with just you and your agent. This will allow you to have one-on-one attention in the house and will allow your agent to be more candid with some of their thoughts and comments about the home.
Part of virtually buying a home is virtually closing as well. Gone are the days of needing to go into a bank or office to get your paperwork done. You can now sign most of your documents via your phone, tablet, or laptop from anywhere in the world!
Ready to Buy?
At first glance buying a home virtually can seem like a crazy idea. We are so used to the idea of Saturday open houses and in-person tours. However, as we adapt to our new normal, we have to shift our idea of what it means to buy a home. The truth is, nobody knows when we will go back to how things were, if ever, so putting off your real estate plans could mean waiting a very long time. Plus, thanks to technology, you can buy a home virtually with very few changes to the homebuying process. If you’re ready to embark on this process with a local Long Beach agent, fill out the form below to get started!