How to Use Virtual Tools to Find and Buy Your Next Home
We shop for clothing, household essentials, and even groceries online these days. So why not use online tools to make shopping for a home just as convenient? More and more homebuyers are turning to virtual tools and services to find and buy the home of their dreams, especially since the onset of the pandemic. That’s because these tools make the entire process safer and easier.
Getting ready to start your own search? You need the helpful pointers below. But before you dive into these virtual tools and options, remember that you should always work with the expert team at R & R Real Estate Partners, even if you plan on buying your next home online.
Always Do Your Homework
Thorough research is the key to finding the right home in the right neighborhood at the right price. It can also make a difference when it comes to scoring the best rate on a home loan.
● Look online for websites that allow you to zero in on a particular housing market, including Albuquerque and its surrounding communities. Many also offer information on average prices and other essential information.
● There are also several sites that can make researching potential neighborhoods a piece of cake. You can view stats on crime, pollution, public transportation, schools, and more.
● Hopefully, you’re already taking advantage of Google Earth and Street View to explore the world. You can also use those same virtual tools to explore new neighborhoods.
● Explore your mortgage options. You can find plenty of mortgage websites and resources online, but it can be helpful to virtually meet with a mortgage lender to get pre-qualified and get an idea of what your mortgage interest rate will be.
● If your initial mortgage interest rate offer is on the high side, take action to lower it. For example, you can pay points on a mortgage, which is essentially a closing fee you give your lender in exchange for a more favorable percentage. An online calculator is also helpful for deciding if this is the right option for your situation.
Have Fun With Your Search
Now that you’ve done a little research, you can get to the exciting part: looking for your perfect new home! Virtual search tools are in high demand and make searching online effortless.
● Your first stop should be your realtor’s website for featured listings and other virtual tools that can simplify the process for homebuyers.
● Can’t wait for a tour? Most listings also include 3D walkthroughs so buyers can view and “tour” available properties at their own pace and on their own schedule.
● Many agents and sellers will use video conferencing services like Zoom to conduct virtual tours. It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with these tools beforehand.
Keep an Eye Out for Issues
Although virtually touring homes should be fun, you should also approach the process with a discerning eye. Stay alert of potential problems that could make a home a potentially bad investment.
● Be on the lookout for major issues that stick out. Mold residue, severely damaged roofs, and other red flags can be surprisingly apparent on virtual home tours, and they may indicate this isn’t a home worth buying.
● Not all issues need to be deal breakers. For example, a master bedroom with dingy walls doesn’t need to undergo a full paint job when you move in. Instead, you can order a few rolls of textured wallpaper to create an accent wall (some companies even offer easy-to-apply temporary options).
● If you choose to move forward on a home and the inspection comes back problematic, you can use a website like Thumbtack to find local contractors and compare their client ratings and prices.
Think About Virtual Closing Options
If you’re buying a home in a different state or prefer to avoid in-person meetings, a virtual closing may be a practical choice. Then you can truly say you bought your home online!
● Although they may be called “virtual closings,” you should note that some e-closings may still require you to meet face-to-face — at least with the person notarizing documents.
● You should also expect some of the same steps and expenses involved in a more traditional closing. Pay attention to the details, especially for e-closing forms.
Thanks to the availability of online tools and resources, shopping for a home online is easier than it has ever been. Even if you plan on viewing properties in person, using these virtual tools will make you a more informed buyer and help you narrow down your choices.
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