Among the disruption of usual practices caused by COVID-19 is the way home buyers and real estate investors are able to see properties for sale.
The solution? Real estate virtual tours.
While this property showing technique has gained tremendous popularity during the coronavirus pandemic, some real estate agents have always used it with great success to show homes for distant buyers. Now it has become a standard practice for areas going through quarantine and the subsequent re-opening phases.
In this article, we are going to lay out a guide for real estate virtual tours for investors. You will learn what to look for, what questions to ask, and how to navigate the necessary real estate technology.
Getting into Real Estate Virtually: The Process
Though it might seem unnerving to go through with virtual real estate investing, rest assured that with proper expectations and planning, real estate virtual tours are just as informative and exciting as in-person tours. They have become so popular amongst buyers that Zillow reported 30% of buyers would consider buying real estate virtually even after the pandemic.
What Can You Expect From Real Estate Virtual Tours?
Virtual tours for real estate typically consist of your real estate agent walking through the investment property for sale and guiding you to inspect it via a live video. These video calls may take place over a variety of different software, so choose a virtual platform both you and your agent are comfortable connecting through. The goal of the virtual tour is to show the home as if you were there in person, so a high-quality video connection is a must.
Real Estate Virtual Tour Preparation
Before jumping into scheduling virtual tours for real estate, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Am I financially stable through these unprecedented economic circumstances?
- Do I have an understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. housing market 2020?
If you answered yes to both of these questions, you are ready to make a solid real estate investment.
Now that you know it’s the perfect time for you to invest in real estate, you can start searching for the right investment property. You can use trusted resources such as:
Related: The Best Website for Your Investment Property Search
All three are excellent websites for finding investment properties, but if you are looking for top-notch results, real estate investment tools, and crucial rental property analysis to help inform your investment, Mashvisor is the way to go. You can even look for and analyze off market properties in Mashvisor’s Property Marketplace.
Once you start looking at properties, take advantage of the following tools:
- Pictures/videos included in the listing
- 3D walkthroughs (digital renderings)
- Virtual open houses
Utilizing these resources can help you narrow down your virtual search before moving onto real estate virtual tours. Sometimes it isn’t possible to get your hands on 3D walkthroughs, and virtual open houses aren’t always an option. However, whenever possible, these resources can save you and your agent valuable time.
Work with a Real Estate Agent
A crucial step in buying real estate virtually is working closely with a trusted real estate agent. Your realtor will be your guide through real estate virtual tours, as buyers are not always permitted to view properties in person due to social distancing guidelines.
During the coronavirus pandemic more than ever, it is important that you trust and have open communication with your real estate agent. The process of getting into real estate can be tricky to navigate, even during usual circumstances. Now, during quarantine, it is even more important that you choose your real estate agent wisely.
Related: How to Choose a Realtor: A Real Estate Investor’s Guide
Before scheduling your first virtual tour, here are some details you should discuss with your agent:
- A list of any questions you have about the investment property. What wasn’t clear to you from the listing?
- A plan on how your agent will walk through the property. Have a floorplan on hand while your agent walks through the home so you can follow along without becoming lost.
- Ask your real estate agent to convey details about the property they think you may not pick up on through the video, such as small imperfections or minor damage.
- Ask your agent to describe their overall impression of the property, including sensory information you don’t have access to. Does it have an unpleasant smell?
A good real estate agent will do most of this without your direction, but don’t be afraid to lay out your expectations and ask questions during the tour. You can also ask your agent to return to parts of the house you want to see again. Be sure to take your time and thoroughly look at each room, just as you would during an in-person tour.
What to Look For?
It can be helpful to make a list of everything you want to take a closer look at before the tour.
Some things to look for outside:
- Roof condition
- Siding condition
- Driveway condition
- Gutter condition
- Window condition
- Foundation cracks
- Structural soundness
Some things to look for inside:
- Flooring condition
- Ceiling condition
- Broken fixtures
- Water damage
Taking note of these aspects of the properties during your real estate virtual tours can save you time and money if you decide to move forward with a property inspection. Many of the expensive problems that can arise from an inspection could have easily been detected by real estate investors during real estate virtual tours. For instance, a severely cracked foundation or extensive water damage could prevent you from purchasing the property.
Related: Buying a House Sight Unseen: A 2020 Guide for Real Estate Investors
Additional Tips for Real Estate Virtual Tours
A good piece of advice for investors utilizing real estate virtual tours is to be thorough and carefully review the investment property in every format possible. If you can, get a recording of your tour. That way, you can go back and revisit things you forgot the first time through. And if you realize that there was something your agent didn’t give enough attention to during the first showing, schedule a second tour to re-examine.
Remember, it is perfectly acceptable for buyers to schedule multiple in-person showings, and the rules and expectations for buyers haven’t changed because of social distancing. You are entitled to get a detailed look at your potential investment property, and with a good realtor and proper planning, there is no reason why that shouldn’t happen.
Do you have a free Mashvisor account? Use our Property Finder to find lucrative investment properties so you can start scheduling real estate virtual tours today!