It was not that long ago that hunting for a home meant getting in the car, driving around various neighborhoods and writing down the phone numbers on all those real estate signs. Now the search for the perfect home is likely to being online, allowing you to sort through hundreds of listings in less time than it takes to gas up the car.
The online home search has become an indispensible part of the real estate industry, and now the open house is going virtual as well. Making the traditional open house into a digital affair has many of the same benefits as online home shopping in general, including more efficient use of time, better use of resources and greater satisfaction among homeowners and buyers alike.
With all of these advantages, there is a good chance that your next open house will be virtual, and it is important to know what to expect when you fire up the computer or open up your smartphone. Here are some key things to know about the virtual open house experience.
Since you will not be seeing the home in person, at least not right away, it is important to learn as much as you can about the property. Attending the virtual open house will only tell you so much, and the agent will try to put a positive spin on everything, so dig deep and learn about the history of the house, including past selling prices, real estate taxes and more.
The more you know the better, and when you attend the virtual open house you can come armed with questions to ask. Do not be afraid to ask the agent for more information; answering those inquiries is an integral part of the job.
If the home you will be touring virtually is local, you might want to take a look before the open house. A simple drive by can tell you a lot, including the nature of the neighborhood, the condition of surrounding homes and the friendliness (or not) of your potential neighbors.
Last but not least, it is important to make sure your technology is working now, well before the scheduled open house. Anyone who has ever attended a Zoom meeting or dialed into a conference call knows that technical difficulties can sink the best laid plans, so you will want to test your connection and the virtual open house software well in advance. Working the kinks out now is the best way to ensure a smooth virtual open house experience later.
With virtual open houses, homeowners can reach would-be buyers from coast to coast and even around the globe. At the same time, those in the market for a new home can shop far outside their geographical area, making relocation easier. Whether you are moving across the country for a new job, headed into retirement and looking for some sun or just too lazy to get off the couch, this unique form of real estate marketing has a lot to offer. And now that you know what to expect, you can make your first foray into virtual real estate a great one.