Virtual tours can provide a safe alternative to traditional home showings and open houses during the pandemic.
Purchasing a new home can be stressful even during the best of times. But navigating the process during a global pandemic is a whole new challenge. Buyers and sellers are still making it happen, however, with help from smart adaptations like virtual home tours. This alternative to traditional showings and open houses allows you to view a prospective home through a live video from the comfort of your own home.
Real estate agents and sellers can use video calling apps such as FaceTime or Zoom on their phone to give you a walk-through of the home. It’s a great option for potential buyers in areas where in-person showings are currently restricted or for those who aren’t comfortable entering someone else’s home right now. During the tour, the agent will virtually guide you through each space, pointing out specific features and answering questions as you go along. “You’re going to get so much more information with a guided tour than you could ever get from a rendering or by taking a virtual tour by yourself,” says Rachel Stults, a housing expert at Realtor.com.
Participating in a virtual home showing isn’t as simple as taking a virtual museum tour, for example, where you can just sit back and enjoy the view. There are a few things you should know ahead of time, including how to prepare and what to look for during the tour. These expert tips will help you make the most of your virtual home tour so your socially distanced homebuying experience runs as smoothly as possible.
1. Write down a list of must-haves.
As with a traditional home showing, knowing what you want going in can help ensure a successful tour. Scott Campbell, a real estate agent with RE/MAX United, suggests writing down a list of wants and needs beforehand. “That way, the agent can get through those concerns first, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything during the tour,” says Campbell. Your list could include requirements for the layout, such as a finished basement or a first-floor laundry room, as well as more cosmetic features you love like crown molding or hardwood floors.
2. Have a floor plan handy.
Trying to tour a new space via video can be confusing, as it’s often difficult to discern how rooms are oriented and connect. To help keep things straight, Stults suggests having a floor plan of the home handy so you can follow along during the tour. If available, the plan can also provide a reference for each room’s size and ceiling height. Consider printing out the floor plan ahead of time so you can make notes on the home’s layout if needed.