Tips For Virtual Home Shopping. It Can Be Done!

Tips For Virtual Home Shopping.

It Can Be Done!

As a military member and family, you may not be able to spend time shopping for a new home in your upcoming PCS installation area. Shopping for a home sight-unseen may seem daunting, but shopping for and purchasing a home virtually has skyrocketed in recent years. Sight-unseen home offers have increased nearly two-fold since 2018. So… you are not alone, and REALTORS® are more than ready to assist you virtually. Computers, tablets, and smart phones have allowed us to become accustomed to virtual home ‘touring’. You can also consider virtually shopping as a tool to narrow the list of properties that you want to see in person. But remember, today’s fast-moving real estate market requires offers made at lightning speed to be considered. 

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your virtual home shopping experience: 

Know your must-haves and your nice-to-haves.

Make a list that includes all the things that the house must have to be ‘the one’. Then write down a second group of the nice-to-have features, things you would like but would be willing to forgo if necessary. This will help you (and your REALTOR®) to streamline your search. Keep the list at hand for your virtual home tours so you can remember what you are looking for. Your list and be revised and refined as you shop. 

Know your budget before you start shopping. 

Get your loan pre-approval so you know how much home you can afford. This will give you buying and negotiating power, and a comfort level while home shopping. 

Choose your REALTOR® wisely.

Interview a few, read online reviews, and communicate with them candidly regarding your needs and goal to purchase a home virtually. Make sure that your communication styles and schedules are aligned for success. 

Download FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype.

These are your non-negotiable tools when purchasing a home remotely. If you are not able to tour the home in person, you will need a tour via live video. Pre-recorded tours are nice, but they do not allow you to be interactive. On a live tour, you can take your time, ask questions, revisit subjects of note, and request special attention. 


Take notes as you watch.

This is helpful especially if you are planning on virtually touring a number of homes. You can compare notes (and homes) later. You can carefully review your notes to get a good understanding of each home. Request a floorplan, if available, before your virtual tour, it will help orient you to the home’s layout and traffic patterns and you can make relevant notes on it. 

Ask the right questions.

Think… What condition is the paint in? Will a six foot couch fit along that wall? Ask your REALTOR® about things that need to be felt or heard, etc. Ask about the home’s HVAC, water heater, closets, utility room, and storage. Don’t forget to ask to see the exterior of the home, how the property looks from the street, curb appeal etc. Ask how the home smells – mold, pet. Ask about neighborhood noise. You will need the REALTOR® to be your eyes, ears, and nose, so to speak. Make notes about anything you feel you missed during the tour so you can follow up with your REALTOR® or home inspector, or when you have an in-person tour before closing (if applicable). 

Do your research.

Reading the listing details is not enough. Ask about flood risk. Use Google’s street view feature to ‘walk’ the neighborhood. Investigate property records, as they can give you a good idea of the property’s history and background. 

Lastly, if you are hoping to complete the entire transaction remotely, you will need to select your mortgage lender, and title/closing company wisely too. Not all company’s offer e-closing and remote notary options. Shop around, ask your REALTOR® for some recommendations. Contact us to connect with a REALTOR® that has military relocation experience and can offer a seamless virtual experience for you.

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