The pandemic had a number of major impacts on the housing market and homebuying. One of them was the shift to virtual open houses to observe social distancing rules.
However, virtual home showings were a trend before COVID-19, and in all likelihood will be relied upon in the future even after crowds are able to gather again.
With that in mind, it's important prospective homebuyers know how to get the most out of a virtual open house. Here are some things to remember, as well as some pitfalls to watch out for.
It's a lot easier to tour multiple showings in a day when you don't have to travel in between locations. The rise of virtual showings means you can theoretically view as many listings in a day that you like.
Plus, if you're looking in different geographic markets, you can more easily compare homes in your target neighborhoods. Just be sure not to overexert yourself by attending too many virtual showings.
Avoid sweatpants and pajama shirts when attending a virtual tour. One rule of thumb with digital showings is to dress exactly as you would for an in-person visit.
You want to project an air of professionalism, even if you're attending the viewing from your couch.
Make sure to double-check when the showing starts. There's really no excuse to be late when there's no commuting. Also, keep in mind that it's often considered best practice to join a video conference a minute or two before it begins in order to start the showing right away.
Technical difficulties can be extremely frustrating — and you certainly don't want the live feed to cut out during the tour.
To avoid such maddening scenarios, test out the technology beforehand. Realtors may use a range of different videocasting tools, from Twitter, Zoom or YouTube to a proprietary platform. Ensure that your experience won't be interrupted by becoming familiar with the technology ahead of time.
Also, test your internet before every listing to make sure you have a strong connection.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. While the virtual setting may seem a bit stifling at first, the tour is your chance to get to know the home, in and out. To that end, if you have a question – ask it!
Be sure to ask the realtor to demonstrate how various appliances and fixtures work, like the oven, showerhead or basement lights.
However, be mindful of etiquette. You probably don't want to blurt out a question as the realtor is speaking. Also, if multiple people are attending, the showing agent may ask that questions be held until the end. If a question pops into your head as the tour is ongoing, you can write it down for easy reference later.
Once the livestream ends, it's time to start thinking about your follow-up options. If you want to learn more about a home or take action, do so quickly. With the efficiency and speed of virtual home showings, competition may be stiffer, especially if buyers from all over the country can join.
Ready to take the next step in your homebuying journey? Contact The Federal Savings Bank today to start the process of finding a mortgage.