Purchasing a House Sight Unseen
In a time of social distancing, if you are looking to purchase a home, you may be wondering how to go about touring houses without exposing yourself or others to COVID19. Or perhaps you’ve decided it is still an ideal time to list your house and want to find ways you can showcase your home while reducing foot traffic.
Naturally, we all want to keep ourselves and others healthy and limit spreading the virus. If you still tour a home in person, this may mean wearing gloves and a face mask (many sellers will probably insist on this, especially if they are still living in their house). You may limit who goes to see homes for sale to just you or your spouse, as opposed to the whole family tagging along. You might even decide to drive around the neighborhood you’re looking at and walk around the outside of the house you are interested in (with permission from the sellers, of course) and save touring the inside after your offer has been accepted. Even with these precautions in place, you could feel most comfortable foregoing physical visits to a property completely. Below are a few tips for sellers and buyers to help make a sight unseen purchase possible.
Use A Realtor You Trust
A good relationship with your realtor is always important when purchasing a home but especially so if you decide to make an offer on a home before stepping inside. Your agent can walk through the property while on a video call with you and be your eyes. You can ask questions as they walk through the rooms; a good realtor will be honest and upfront with you about any issues they may see that might not come across in photos. Additionally, you can request your agent bring along a measuring tape to measure out any rooms for your reference. A good realtor will serve as your advocate and make sure you don’t have any regrets down the road. Below is an example of how a video tour might go.
3D Virtual Tours are a great tool to use if you have your house on the market but want to limit how many people physically tour your house. In fact, Zillow saw a 400% increase in agents using the 3D tour feature in just one week with the onset of COVID19. Videos and 3D tours offer more exposure of the house and help your potential buyers really visualize the space in case photos don’t convey the size of rooms or flow of the house. Here is an example that demonstrates how technology can show off every aspect of your house:
VR and 3D Tours
Include Contingencies in the Contract
Virginia Realtors now has a COVID19 addendum that can be added to contracts; the addendum can be used to extend deadlines or provide a penalty-free way to terminate the contract if the purchaser’s financing falls through due to COVID19. As the purchaser, you should always opt for a home inspection contingency addendum but it is paramount if you haven’t seen the property in person. You may also want to add additional or specialized inspections if there is anything you may be worried about. If you are the seller, it’s helpful to stay flexible and open to contingencies as this will ultimately help the execution of the sale.
With experienced realtors and the help of technology, purchasing or selling a home is still very achievable while ensuring you keep yourself safe and healthy.
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