Must Ask Questions If You Attend a Virtual Open House
Thanks to COVID-19, even more than two years into the pandemic, the new reality is that many open houses and home tours are being conducted virtually. For prospective home buyers, this new territory brings an added element to prepare for in the Waterloo Region home buying process.
Some questions that should be asked in a virtual home tour parallel those of in-person tours, but others are unique to today’s virtual world.
Could you zoom in?
Sometimes it can be difficult to get a true glimpse at what you want to see in a room. Asking the agent conducting the open house to zoom in on specific features is commonplace in virtual home tours, and they understand this is part of the viewer experience. Don’t hesitate to ask multiple times. Getting a better look at everything you want to see will help you feel like you’ve gotten the most out of your virtual tour.
How many square feet are in this room?
Virtual tours can slightly distort space, making it tough to gauge the size. The room-to-room square footage is information the agent is sure to have handy. Since you can’t be there in person, it will help you piece together the virtual visuals with the sense of physical space that we’re all accustomed to feeling in the places we live and you would usually get from a physical walk through of a Waterloo Region home for sale.
What color is that?
In the smartphone era, and computer era at large, we have come to understand that digital representations of color are not always true to the eye. Ask the agent to confirm specific colors, so you can plan accordingly. Have a color swatch on hand or look the colors up online as you go through the tour.
This is likely not that important in interior spaces, as paint colors can be easily changed, but outdoors, especially on the home's exterior, as repainting is likely to be a more expensive and time-consuming proposition it may be to some.
When were the appliances last updated?
The importance of this question rings true in the past, present, and future. Knowing the state of the home’s appliances, and the likelihood and timing of when they will need replacement, is vital information for both assessing the move-in readiness of the home and understanding what costs might lie ahead.
While it is often not a reason to adjust the offer you are going to make - especially in a hot seller's market when the bids will be very competitive, this information will help you come up with the 'complete' financial picture that every home buyer should have of the total costs of purchasing a Waterloo Region home.
Has the seller provided an inspection?
This is another example of a critical question, whether your home tour is virtual or physical. If the seller has already done an inspection, ask the agent to lead you to any areas of concern based on the inspector’s findings. If there is anything that has not yet been addressed by the seller, have your agent ask what their plan is for making the necessary repairs/updates.
When is the offer review date?
Understanding the seller’s timeline for reviewing and accepting offers will help guide your decision-making process and allow you to strategize based on the timeline. In most cases these days, a physical viewing is quite possible if you have serious interest in the property, but you will need to schedule such a viewing before that offer review date arrives.
More Pointers for Attending a Virtual Open House
In order to get the most out of a virtual showing of a Waterloo Region home you are interested in, here are some more, more technical concerns to keep in mind.
During the live-stream event, you can attend a virtual open house as it happens, or you can wait and see a recorded version of the open house afterwards. If at all feasible, attend the virtual open house in person so you can ask the listing agent questions about the property.
Keep in mind that a livestreaming virtual open house is not the same as a traditional open house, where you can show up at any time during the scheduled hours. Virtual open houses are scheduled to begin at a specified time. Make sure you log in a few minutes before the scheduled start time so you don't miss any vital information about the home from the agent.
You'll want to be at home and uninterrupted during the open house if at all possible. If you are house hunting with your spouse and have children, see if one of you can watch the children while the other goes to the session, and then fill each other in afterwards, or request a recording.
Learn how to use the software.
If you're planning on attending a virtual open house, find out what kind of software the agent will be using and familiarize yourself with it before the event.
Some of these open houses will require you to download an app. In certain cases, all you'll need is a link to attend. In either case, you should know what you require prior to the commencement of the open house and arrange appropriately.
Pay attention to the parameters.
The realtor hosting the open house will most likely outline how you can ask questions or follow up afterward – pay attention to the open house's guidelines so you don't bother the other attendees.
It's also a good idea to mute your microphone during the virtual open house so that your background noise doesn't drown out the agent's speech. If the agent allows questions, unmute your microphone to pose your query, then mute it again.
Looking to sell your Waterloo Region home? Or buy a new one? Let Team Pinto use their huge local real estate experience and expertise to help you. Contact the award-winning Team Pinto here, or book a free Zoom consultation to discuss your unique Waterloo Region real estate needs here