23 June 2020
Searching for your dream home is one of the most exciting parts of the home buying journey. We understand that over the last few months you may not have been able to physically visit that perfect house you found online. However, many Estate Agents have adapted to our ‘new normal’ and are offering virtual viewings to help you find your new home.
Thanks to technology, you can still continue your search from the comfort of your couch, kitchen or home office set up, in a more in depth way than you may think. While we understand how important first impressions are and getting a feel for the house in person, virtual viewings are a convenient and immersive way to see key features of the property and ask the Estate Agent any questions you may have along the way.
Some Estate Agents are offering self-guided 360 - degree videos of the property which can be accessed on their website or on house searching sites like Daft.ie and MyHome.ie. Alternatively, if there’s no video available, you can always reach out to an Estate Agent to set up an interactive video viewing appointment on platforms like Zoom or FaceTime. This is a real time video tour hosted by an Estate Agent which has the added benefit of allowing you to ask all your questions there and then.
At permanent tsb, we’re here to support you at every stage of your home buying journey. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together some top tips for virtual house viewings to help you get one step ahead.
Even before the virtual viewing, you should take a look at the property from the outside and other houses around. It will help spot signs of any serious structural problems that the house may have.
Things to look out for: Are there any signs of damp like peeling paint or tide marks on the walls? Are the gutters leaking? Are there any loose tiles on the roof? This could indicate that the property hasn’t been looked after over time, which could mean ongoing problems like leaks and decay. If you find a house you’re interested in but are unsure of the structural state of the property, it can also help to seek the input of a professional by organising a structural survey of the property.
If you are unable to travel to the property, another great tool for exploring the garden and outside of the house is Google Maps. By using “Satellite View”, you can get a good overview of the size of the garden and you can even take a look at neighboring properties to see if they have an extension or attic renovation which can give you an idea of the potential for the house you’re viewing.
By visiting the exterior of the property, it will also help to get to know the neighborhood. You need to really get a feel for the area before you decide to live there, and the only way to do this is to visit it at different times of the day and night.
We’ve put together some useful questions you can ask yourself when viewing the neighborhood to help you get a feel for what your day-to-day life would be like there;
Another great way to get in the know is to call your insurance company about the house. If for example the house is near a body of water, it could be susceptible to flooding, which in turn would drive up your premiums.
You may well find a house that's worth taking the risk on and paying extra, but it's always a good idea to make an informed decision knowing this information beforehand.
Estate Agents can show off the good elements of a house, but you may find they need some probing on the grittier details.
Be prepared to ask the nosy questions:
Even though you may not be able to physically see inside the property right now, there’s certainly some benefits to take from live video appointments whereby you can still spot that unsightly carpet, dated 1950s wallpaper or pink bathroom set. And not forgetting with self-guided 3D tours, you can surprisingly do many things from standing at the fireplace, to measuring the size of the wardrobes.
Finally, if you feel you have more to see, don’t be afraid to ask for another video viewing or request a private viewing appointment if possible.
Now once you’ve found your dream property, the next stage is the bidding process. We know this can be a bit daunting if it’s your first time so why not check out our “Bidding for Beginners” blog to help you get started.
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The content of this blog does not constitute advice and is for general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice before relying on anything stated in the blog. Some of the links above bring you to external websites. Your use of an external website is subject to the terms of that site.