If you’ve been thinking about buying a house and finally decided that it’s the right time to take the next steps, congratulations! The home buying process can be overwhelming but it is so exciting, especially when it comes to looking at potential homes. With the coronavirus pandemic, the process of finding your forever home is a little bit more complicated, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop your search altogether. With the help of technology, safely finding the ideal neighborhood for your family and house hunting can be taken virtually!
Grab your laptop or cell phone. Here’s how to make the most of virtual house hunting.
Take Advantage of Video
Most realtors have quickly adapted to the coronavirus outbreak and are now offering virtual tours of a home within the listing itself. If the listing doesn’t have a virtual tour video listed on it or you are interested in seeing more, always have your Realtor reach out to the listing agent and see if it’s possible to set up a FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype tour of the property.
Utilizing video as much as possible allows you to see a home, all of its features, and any blind spots that might have been missed in the original virtual tour video. In addition to the video, be sure to ask for a floor plan to get a better idea of how the house is situated and what the sizing is of each room.
Utilize Google Maps
Google Maps has come so far in the last few years and now offers the ability to “walk” specific areas. Utilizing this feature when virtually house hunting can give you a better idea of the local area, its walkability, and other homes in the neighborhood.
Turn to Neighborhood Publications, Social Media, and Data
Neighborhood publications, social media, and data will give you more information about the neighborhood you are currently virtually house hunting in. You’ll be able to get a sense of the activities that happen, the sense of community, and any specific data you might need, especially when it comes to the local school system. Just search the town name or neighborhood name in Google!
Facebook is a great resource for getting to know your potential neighbors and to see what other residents of their neighborhood think. Simply make a search with the town name/neighborhood and there should be a group that pops up!
Talk to Residents & Real Estate Agents
If you’ve found your dream home but not sure about the neighborhood, reach out to your real estate agent to get their feedback on the area. They may also be able to get you in touch with other residents, which are a great resource for any specific questions you might have.
Take a Drive
Pack the family up, drive through different neighborhoods, give your work commute a try, and see what stores are close by. This will allow you to get a better idea of what your new lifestyle will look like.
View Other Listings in the Area
By looking at other listings in the area, you can get a better sense of the current housing market, as well as understand the life cycle of families living there.
If You Visit a Home, Take Precautions
While virtual house hunting is great, it’s hard to commit to investing in a new home without seeing it with your own eyes first. If you do decide to take a tour of a home you are interested in, take the proper precautions. This includes:
Do not touch any of the surfaces in the home
Wear protective face coverings
Practice social distancing
Wash your hands with soap and water when you leave the property
Tour with a very small group to ensure a safe showing for everyone