Buying property virtually during lockdown

Written by in Buying on April 17, 2020

Over the past few weeks, the real estate industry has adapted in regard to technological innovation to tackle the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19.

With public auctions still on hold, real estate agents across the country have adopted virtual auctions as a means to continue selling property. Video conferencing, virtual inspections and privately arranged open homes are all on offer to help potential buyers get a feel for homes currently on the market.

But what is the best way to navigate this new way of dealing with real estate? Here are a few tips to consider when looking at your new potential home in this digital world.

1. Know exactly what you want and make a list

Assessing and choosing a new home can be time-consuming, especially as we learn to navigate the new rules and regulations. To avoid unnecessary outings and potential exposure, have a decisive list of must-haves and stick to properties that remain serious contenders.

If you need to be in a particular school zone, or perhaps you are determined to have a single rather than double-storey home, then ensure the homes you are reviewing have these features before moving on to the next step.

 2. Ask for more photos directly from the agent

We live in a world where digitally altering photos is the norm. While not on the same level as the traditional glossy magazine, artificial lighting and a few minor edits can be made to real estate imagery.

The solution? Ask for specific photos and videos without all the editing, directly from the real estate agent. This can give you a greater insight into the home, plus you may be able to see areas that were not photographed or videoed.

3. Ask a lot of questions

It’s all in the detail with property, and without a proper inspection it can be hard to determine the little things that may be wrong with a home. For example, does your current home have a squeaky floor? Or is the lighting particularly poor in one area? Use the issues you may already be facing around sights, sounds and even smells as the basis for questions to ask about your new potential home.

4. Determine if a private inspection is possible

Once the home meets your criteria, the photos check out and your questions have been answered – now is the time to arrange a private inspection.

Historically, inspections tended to be a rushed process with many potential buyers entering a home at the same time. Nowadays, real estate agents are working hard to accommodate serious buyers and allow them time to really walk through the home.

Take the time to assess the following and allay any concerns you may have with:

  • Structural issues like bouncy floors, blisters in the paintwork or cracked walls
  • Traffic or noise issues
  • Proximity to desired amenities

For a full checklist be sure to check out our guide to inspections.

5. Research how online auctions are conducted

If your home is not a private sale and will be going to an online auction, find out the platform that will be used and familiarise yourself with it.

It is well-known people attend onsite auctions to get a feel for the process before participating themselves – preparing yourself for the online process should be no different. Knowing the fundamentals may help give you the advantage you need to walk away with your dream home.