In the age of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, a lot of daily life is turning to the internet. Work meetings over webcam, happy hours on Zoom, doctor visits via Skype… everything’s online these days. So it’s no surprise that homebuying is, too. Here’s what you need to know about house hunting online.
Pro Tips for House Hunting Online
Online home searches aren’t really anything new. In fact, sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin have been promoting from-the-couch house hunting for years now. But the recent health crisis has made house hunting online not just a convenience, but a necessity. And since more and more people are searching to buy, rather than just casually browsing, it pays to know how to play the online home shopping game.
Here are some tips for successful house hunting online.
Tip 1: You still need an agent.
Real estate agents don’t just find and show houses; they facilitate any and all communication between buyers and sellers—and in today’s world, that might even mean organizing a virtual showing or tour.
Agents also handle a lot of the paperwork (including the Purchase and Sale Agreement), organize the home inspection, and serve as a point of contact for many of the individuals and companies involved in the process. Plus, a good agent might be able to introduce you to properties that aren’t (or aren’t yet) on the MLS and won’t appear on online searches.
Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
In a less internet-driven scenario, you might find a few houses you like, then schedule an in-person showing to get a closer look. But with stay-at-home orders in place, that’s not really an option right now. Instead, you’ll want to learn as much as you possibly can about a home, to make sure it’s really a strong contender, before risking anyone’s health to schedule an in-person showing.
This is another way having an agent will really come in handy. Your agent should be able to easily obtain any information you want to know about a particular home or homes.
Tip 3: Request a virtual showing.
Online photos only go so far in getting to know a home. Some agents take their listings a step further with virtual tours or 3D tours, but even those might not feel quite “real”. The next next best thing to an in-person showing is a virtual showing.
Virtual showings differ from virtual tours in that they’re live. Essentially, you and your agent will first connect via video chat. Your agent will then “tour” you virtually through the home, giving you the opportunity to ask questions in real time, navigate through the home’s unique features, and get an “in-person” feel.
Tip 4: Find out what else can be done online.
In today’s day and age, a LOT of the homebuying process can be done completely online. Most lenders offer online portals for uploading financial documents and electronically signing your application. Many agents offer online document signing services for your Purchase and Sale Agreement and any amendments. Los Angeles even offers mobile notary services, so you can sign most of your closing paperwork right from the comfort of home. Ask your agent how much can be done online.
Ready to Kickstart the Homebuying Process?
If you’re ready to get started on the homebuying process, Brad Korb Real Estate Group is here to help. Unsure how current events might have affected your real estate plans? Contact us today with any questions or concerns.