10 essential questions to ask during a virtual open house
Live virtual open houses and private home showings are increasingly becoming a common and acceptable practice among tech-savvy real estate professionals. With accessible and high-quality video conferencing platforms like FaceTime and Zoom, you can now “see” houses you want to buy while staying safe and comfortable inside your current home.
If you are planning to pursue your house-hunting via a virtual open house or home tour, these are the important questions to ask:
- Can you zoom in [here or there]?
- If you are resorting to a home tour via live video call, ask specifically about the details that you would like to see—from countertop finishes, to the type of flooring used, or even if you think you noticed a crack in a tile as you were looking through the bathroom. Expect the listing agent to accommodate your requests to view every detail up close, as long as you are clear about what you want to see.
- Is a property disclosure statement ready?
- All home sellers must complete a disclosure form to the best of their knowledge. This document describes the current condition and history of the property with details like:
- Repair or renovation projects made on the house
- The last scheduled servicing of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems
- Presence of radon, asbestos, lead paint, and other hazardous materials (especially if the property was built before 1978)
- Any history of pest infestation, water damage, and other notable problems
Because you cannot view and scrutinize the home in person, this document should be an essential part of your decision-making process.
- Where is the property line?
- Your perspective on the size of the property will be limited when you can only view it from your computer or phone’s screen. This is why you should ask specifically about the physical boundaries of the entire property. This will give you a clearer picture of what your purchase will and will not include.
- What is the sun exposure like during different seasons?
- One of the biggest advantages of visiting the house you want to buy in person is getting various opportunities to engage all of your senses. This helps you appreciate the entire range of experiences that the house offers beyond what listing descriptions and photos can tell you. Ask questions about how changing seasons—or even times of day—affect the experience of living in the house.
- What school district is the property in?
- Whether or not you are moving into your new home with children, it pays to know about the local school district serving your neighborhood.
An address close to a reputable school district is typically valued higher and is taxed accordingly. On the other hand, the house would have excellent resale potential in the future, because the desirable location will always attract good offers.
Listing agents are not allowed to comment on the quality or reputation of the local school district, however. You will have to do your own research after you find out where the house is zoned.
- How good is the cell phone signal in and around the property?
- The quality of telecommunications service in the area is one important matter that you will not be able to observe for yourself through a virtual home tour. You will have to specifically inquire about this instead.
- Why are the owners selling the house? Have they already bought and moved to a new one?
- Finding out about the owners’ motivation to sell the property can give you important insights on how to position your offer.
If they are moving due to an urgent reason (like an impending job change), they are likely motivated to close the sale faster, putting you in a good position to negotiate toward a more favorable price.
- How long has the house been on the market?
- Knowing how much time a property has spent on the market will help you gauge how flexible the sellers can be when negotiating. If they have just listed the house, they will likely be more firm with their asking price.
If it has been sitting for a while, they might be more open to negotiating and changing their price. Be sure to find out why the property has not been generating much interest, though.
- Are there other offers for the house yet?
- Remember to ask about your competition, as well. Knowing what you are up against will help you strategize how to make your offer. If you can, dig deeper about any rejected offers and find out why the seller decided that way.
- Are the sellers willing to see the deal through despite delays?
- While you can negotiate and reach an agreement through virtual means, you might encounter delays in securing a mortgage or getting a home inspection while protective measures are in place to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Is the seller as committed as you are to complete the transaction despite the possibility of an extended closing phase?
Planning to buy a house in Warner Robins? View the finest homes for sale in Central Georgia with the expert Realtors of Warner Robins Home Search. Get in touch with us here to begin your homebuying journey.