Advancements in technology, the dynamic housing market, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, have brought some incredible changes to how people tour a house or apartment before making a decision to rent or buy it.
While just a few years ago it was compulsory to have an in-person showing, the last few years have proven that more property managers, homeowners, and potential buyers and renters have moved to arranging virtual tours. If you are new to this and still not sure what to expect, keep reading as we have prepared a full article with what to look for when touring a home virtually.
There are of course both advantages and disadvantages of setting up a virtual tour. To get started we will first look at the pros.
By far the main advantage of touring a home virtually is the amount of time you will be able to save. You can say goodbye to navigating a new neighborhood that you are not familiar with and getting lost in between the little streets, while trying to find the correct address. You can now easily arrange multiple virtual tours one after another from the comfort of your home!
By virtually touring, you can control your schedule more closely rather than relying on agents to show you around. Stop dealing with the back-and-forth of scheduling and just click play!
Having more time on your hands also means being able to look at a lot more possibilities. We like to think of taking a virtual tour as a funnel. It is a great way to get a good look at multiple homes and quickly eliminate the ones that did not catch your attention the first time. You will be able to narrow down your search more discreetly, and only focus on the ones that you are actually interested in!
Though you may feel choice paralysis in all the options you'll have online, you need to be sure of what amenities you are willing to pass for, and what you really want out of a home or apartment. For some, it's safety or community amenities, for others it's all about price and size.
Unfortunately, there are multiple disadvantages of taking a virtual tour. Here are some of them:
While touring a home virtually is a great way to get a feel of the layout, there are the little details that you will not be able to notice through the screen.
These details include things like smells, cracks on the floor, scratches on the kitchen counters or stains on the carpets. These small features are always worth considering before buying or renting a place. Additionally, with a virtual tour, you won't be able to get a true sense of the rooms sizes (even with measurements available) because you can't stand in the room and see how furniture would fit.
Thankfully, however, there are now technologies that allow you to virtually stage rooms to get a true sense of scale for the home
Another significant problem with arranging just a virtual tour is that you will not be able to get a feel of the new neighborhood.
If you are moving to a new city and you are unfamiliar with the area, make sure to go on Google Maps and spend some time just exploring the little streets and amenities in the area. Or ask the potential agent or homeowner if they can send you photos of the outside of the home and neighborhood.
Ask them to take a step outside and listen to any noises that might be coming from the street. While this will not give you the full picture, it is a good starting point! All of these details, however, are trumped in comparison to actually being at the home. But if you're relocating from another city or state, a virtual tour is your best bet.
Taking a virtual can be a massive time saver and can give you the basis of understanding what you want.
However, we strongly suggest that you see touring a home virtually only as the first step of the process. Narrow down and have your pick of the best places and make sure that you arrange an in-person viewing after.
The little elements of the home, the feel of the neighborhood and any potential smells are things that you will not be able to notice online. Especially if you are looking for a long-term home, make sure to take the extra step and see your future home before you sign the lease. This will ensure a good start to your time in that home.