In the age of social distancing, how can you attend an open house? We all know and love the thrill of visiting an open house on a Saturday morning, but current COVID concerns make this a challenge.
Luckily, homebuyers can benefit from technology, thanks to 3D virtual open house tours. These are photographed, 3D walk-throughs of homes that are for sale, allowing buyers to see all of the detail, just as they would in real life. This lets you visit open houses, from the safety and comfort of your own home.
If you are new to attending a virtual open house, how can you make the most out of the experience? It helps to know a few tips.
Please keep reading to find our top tips for attending a virtual open house, along with what to do before and after.
Before the Virtual Open House
Before you start attending virtual tours, you will want to be prepared to ensure you are using your time wisely.
Here are a few virtual open house essentials to think about before you jump online and start browsing.
Connect With Local Realtors
How can you find virtual open houses to attend in the first place? It helps to connect with local realtors as a buyer. Find a buyer’s agent with strong local knowledge, great communications skills, and experience.
Let them know more about your budget and preferences, then ask them to help you find properties offering virtual open houses. This can save you time, as they might be able to provide insider knowledge on brand-new listings.
Do Your Research
In addition to talking to realtors, you will also want to do your own research to look for online open home tours.
Searching online for 3D tours will bring up plenty of gorgeous homes that match your qualifications. Even better, you can extend your search to other areas or towns, since you do not need to travel any further than your home computer for online open homes.
Real estate websites like Hommati allow you to search via towns and zip codes, and you are given a plethora of options, which you can filter to meet your criteria.
Make Sure You Have a Fast Internet Connection
Once you are ready to start browsing, you will want to make sure you have a fast internet connection. It is fine to view virtual open houses on either a desktop or smartphone. Either option works, so choose whichever is the easier option for you.
You want to make sure the bandwidth you have for your wifi is fast, because, otherwise, you may find the video lagging as you try to watch it, making it tough to get a clear picture of what the home looks like.
What to Do While You’re Attending Virtual Open Houses
Ready to step into your first virtual open home? It is easy to get distracted by the gorgeous furnishings, modern appliances, and that perfect fireplace, but you need to stay focused while viewing it.
Here are a few things to do during a virtual open home. The nice thing about 3D virtual tours is that they are not live, you are just watching the videos via your internet connection—this makes it easy to go back and watch again and again, or send to a relative to ask their opinion.
Write Down Questions
You are sure to have plenty of questions about the home while watching the virtual open, so log on with a pen and paper nearby. This helps you make notes to yourself, scribble down ideas, or indicate concerns that you might want to learn more about.
Remember, there is no such thing as a silly question when it comes to buying property, since it is a huge investment.
As you are looking through each room, watch with a keen eye and try to imagine you are there in real life. Would you want to know about the fridge space? More details on the solar panels? The depth of the swimming pool?
You are likely to forget some of your questions if you wait, which is why it helps to write them down as you click your way through the house. Try to focus on important matters like the home’s size, structure, and flow—issues such as paint colors or flooring are easy fixes.
Pay Attention to What’s Not Being Shown
A virtual walk-through should give you an accurate, 360-degree perspective on the property; however, there are sure to be areas that are not shown, either intentionally or not.
If a room or wall is not shown in the video, it could be because it needs some work and the sellers want to hide it. Or, it might just be not worth highlighting in the video.
Either way, if there is a floor plan, look at it and compare it to the video—if anything appears to be missing, you might want to make a note to ask for further details, photos, or videos of that area. Try to keep an unbiased, open mind as well.
Consider the Size and Space of the Home
If you are wondering what to know about virtual open houses, one great thing is that they tend to be more accurate than photos online. Real estate photography is often done with a fisheye or wide-angle lens, which makes spaces appear larger than they are. Virtual furniture and staging can also be made to appear smaller, which makes rooms look larger in photos.
However, 3D tours tend to give a more accurate portrayal when it comes to size and shape. You can use this to your advantage to work out if and where your belongings and furniture will fit inside the home.
Think about large items, like sofas, tables, and play areas for the kids—does this home look like it would accommodate everything you need without feeling too crowded?
After the Virtual Open
Once you have finished watching the virtual open, give it some thought—are you keen to pursue this property or are you convinced it is not the right home for your family?
If you have found a virtual tour you absolutely loved, here are the next steps.
Ask the Realtor Questions
Remember the questions you wrote down while watching the video? Now is a great time to connect with the listing’s real estate agent to get some answers. Send an email or make a phone call if you have any urgent questions.
There are a lot of questions to ask when buying a home, especially when it comes to the home’s condition, age, and the length of time it has been on the market.
Arrange to Visit in Person
If you are ready to take the next step, you may want to arrange an in-person visit. There are likely to be restrictions on open houses, due to Covid-19, so this will most likely be just a private visit with you and the realtor.
For this reason, it is only helpful to schedule a visit if you are serious about the property, since you do not want to take up too much of the agent’s time. Once you are there, make the most of the opportunity and look around the home in detail, asking questions or taking measurements as you go.
Be Prepared to Act Fast
If you have fallen in love with an amazing property, you need to act fast! Thanks to virtual open houses, you are not only competing with locals—anyone, anywhere could see the home online and want to make an offer.
It can be easy to miss out, or get caught up in a bidding war, so do not delay if you have found the right home.
Before you start seriously looking, you will want to have pre-approval for a mortgage. This way, you will be ready to make an offer as soon as you find the right home.
When making an offer, it helps to know in advance what other similar homes have recently sold for. Keep an eye on the market to see what recent sales have gone for, along with their time spent on the market.
Knowing how fast homes are moving can help you better understand the market. If you do your research correctly, you will make an offer that is within your budget, but also irresistible to the seller.
Find Your Dream Home—Online
The real estate market, like every other industry, has gone through some changes with the outbreak of Covid-19; however, thanks to amazing tools like 3D virtual tours, it is still possible to buy and sell with confidence, no matter where you are.
You can use these tips to make the most of your next virtual open house, making it easier than ever to find the right home. If you are looking to find more incredible properties on the market, along with more virtual tours, Hommati can help.
We are a national real estate website, helping agents, buyers, and sellers connect. For help with virtual tours, property values, or for finding the latest listings, we can help.
To get started finding your next home, contact us today. We are glad to answer any questions and to help you find the perfect home for your family.