Virtual home buying has grown exponentially in light of the global pandemic, but it’s also a welcome innovation that’s likely to stay. If you’re a homebuyer in this new world of real estate, what should you expect during virtual open house tours? We’ll answer all your questions, so you’re fully prepared and can move quickly once you’ve found your ideal home.
What Is A Virtual Open House?
First, let’s define this new technology. Most homebuyers are familiar with real estate websites that offer a scrolling set of property photos. This is helpful as a starting point, but it doesn’t always provide a sense of scale. It’s also hard to imagine how it actually feels to walk inside the home. However, virtual open house tours allow potential buyers to view properties using 3-D and 360-degree photography and video.
At BHHS Fox & Roach, we offer both virtual showings and virtual open houses. A virtual showing is a video walk-through that homebuyers can view any time on the property’s listing. A virtual open house is a live broadcast online with a real estate agent answering questions in real-time.
How Does A Virtual Open House Work?
So, what happens during a virtual open house? To help you envision this experience, let’s talk about a traditional open house. You walk through the property, compare the home’s features to your wish list (and other homes you’ve seen), and ask the real estate agent about any benefits or drawbacks to the home.
Virtual open house tours work the same way. However, you’re viewing the house through live video instead. Many real estate professionals use platforms like Facebook or Instagram Live, YouTube, or FaceTime, which allow for an interactive experience. You can ask questions, return to a room in the house for a closer look, and take notes on how the property compares to others. Plus, you can do all this from the comfort of your home, keeping you safe and saving you time.
Tips for Engaging in a Virtual Open House
Buying a house remotely is undoubtedly a new experience for most homebuyers. Here are some tips for getting the most out of every virtual open house tour.
Find a Real Estate Professional
Not sure how to find homes virtually? To save time and effort, choose a trusted real estate professional who can research and line up virtual open house tours for you. Seek out someone with the agency resources to support this new technology throughout the homebuying process, like BHHS Fox & Roach’s Virtual Home Advisor System.
Review The Listings Beforehand
Before you attend a virtual open house, review the listing thoroughly. Look at the photographs and watch the virtual showing, if available. Are any important details missing? What questions do you have for the real estate agent? Are there areas of the home that you’d like to see more closely? Preparing ahead of time will help you remain focused during the open house and less likely to forget something.
Test the Technology
If you’ve never used the real estate agent’s chosen technology, run a quick test before the starting time. Depending on the platform, you might need to download a file to your computer or establish an account. If a problem comes up, you’ll have time to resolve it so you don’t miss any of the tour.
Be Ready Early
Since there will likely be several buyers and agents joining the virtual open house tour, it can be disruptive if attendees arrive late. Sometimes, notifications drown out the person speaking. Or, latecomers might ask questions that have already been answered. You’ll get more out of the experience if you’re ready and on time.
Follow Up with the Seller & Their Agent After
Buying a home virtually often moves faster than the traditional process. This is especially the case right now since the pandemic has created a shortage of homes on the market temporarily. If you’re interested, be sure to follow up with your agent immediately following the open house. Keep an ear out for other buyers who seem ready to make an offer, so you have a sense of the competition.
If you’re planning a virtual house hunt, success comes down to three things: finding the right partner, being prepared before each virtual tour, and acting quickly. Ready to begin? Search BHHS Fox & Roach’s inventory of Virtual Open Houses.