In the days of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, more and more businesses are moving to the internet, real estate included. If you’re in the market for a new home, you might be wondering if virtual home buying is possible. Good news—it’s very possible! Here’s what you need to know.
Virtual Home Buying: Making Remote Buying Possible
Even before the COVID-19 health crisis, many aspects of real estate were done online—home searches, loan applications, signatures, and more. But with indefinite stay-at-home orders issued for Maryland, agents, buyers, and sellers alike are pushing to move the process online as much as possible.
The online process of finding and buying a home is called virtual home buying. Here’s the lowdown.
You still need an agent
Buying online doesn’t mean buying solo; in fact, because the property you’re buying is both very real and very expensive, you definitely want to make sure you’ve got an expert in your corner. An expert local real estate agent, that is.
Agents are useful for more than just a few reasons; not only can they ensure you’re finding the right home in the right spot at the right price, they also coordinate inspections and appraisals, facilitate communication between yourself and the seller, and guide you through the entire process, start to finish.
Online searches make finding home easy
Online home searches have become quite robust over the years, and nowadays, you can find the perfect home and learn just about everything there is to know about it without even leaving your couch. Online searches like this allow you to set specific criteria—town, neighborhood, amenities, size, style, beds, baths—to narrow down your search to only the homes that fit your exact needs and wants.
Your agent can take your search one step further by searching their own network of agents and contacts to find ideal homes that might not have made it to the internet yet.
Virtual tours give you a peek inside
A home might fit your criteria on paper, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the perfect fit. A virtual tour can help you get a better feel for the layout and flow of the home. Not all agents include virtual tours on their listings, though it’s definitely becoming more common these days! Alternately, you might want to search specifically for homes that only include these virtual sneak-peeks.
Need more details? Try a virtual showing
Virtual tours are pretty in-depth, but they still aren’t the same as being there. But if you’re staying at home or are out of state, how do you get that same in-person experience? A virtual showing might be able to help with that. Unlike virtual tours, virtual showings give you the ability to sit in the driver’s seat and control the tour.
In a virtual showing, you and your agent will connect via video chat, and your agent will walk you through the home, virtually. You’ll provide instructions for them to revisit rooms, look up and down, open doors and drawers, and even ask questions of the other agent or seller. It’s the next best thing to being there in person.
There’s a lot you can do online
In addition to searching for and viewing homes, there are a lot of other aspects of the process that can be done online. The home loan application process can be done online by submitting paperwork via secure portals. Much of your paperwork can be signed virtually using programs like DocuSign. Some transactions might even allow for online notarization—or if not, mobile notaries are an option, too.
Ready to Learn More About Virtual Home Buying?
If you’re thinking of buying a home in the Crofton or Baltimore area, then you’re probably ready to learn more about virtual home buying. If that’s the case, please pick up the phone and give me a call; I’d love to help. Have questions or concerns about how your home buying goals might have been affected by the recent health crisis? I’m happy to answer any and all questions.