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Home Shopping: Online Vs. In- Person

So you’ve made the decision to buy a home, you’ve checked your finances and you’re ready to start looking for your dream house. These days you have two ways to go about viewing a property, first is the traditional in person visit and second which is through online platforms.

Technology continues to evolve and improve over time, where we are at a point when it is possible to check a property through online home listings. Partly due to the current situation surrounding COVID-19 and the stress on social distancing, this method has become more widespread. You can now view a home and go through the entire home purchase online. While many online listings are packed full of great photos and lots of information, going through the home buying process virtually and being unable to view a property in person may leave some things overlooked, as they are not as obvious through a screen. Although having a live or pre-recorded tour can be another great way to view the properties you are interested in buying –  nothing beats a visit in person to cover off any potential issues.

5 things you can miss out on if you don’t visit the property in person:

  1. Spatial Difference

ANGLES! There are a ton of photographers who learned the art of angling photos and have perfected making things seem bigger or smaller than they are. Trust that seasoned real estate photographers know how to use these techniques to make a property look its best. Not to mention possible photo and video enhancements in the post processing can also make a huge difference on how property can look like post edit. On the flip side there are some listing agents who choose to use cellphone images, in which case a very nice property will be overlooked simply because the listing agent did not spend time or money presenting the home in its best light. Si it can both ways and ultimately not be an accurate representation of the actual condition of the property.

  1. Odors and cleanliness

This is something you can only experience when viewing property in person. There are homes that were stunning online, only to find out that they had 1) animal smells, 2) smoke smells, or 3) mold smells.  Strong odors are definitely a turn off to most buyers and may come with an additional cost if you’re looking to rid the house of it. There are homes that have been on the market for an extended period of time for this reason alone. As photos and videos may not be able to cover every corner and area of the home you may miss spots and crannies that will cost you to clean up if you end up buying the home.

  1. Ambience and Neighborhood

A major factor that is often overlooked when searching for a home online are the neighbors and the surrounding area. Sometimes buyers are shocked by the surrounding properties, which would not have been obvious online. Most buyers consider the neighborhood and overall community, a deal breaker when purchasing. If you’re limited to online viewing you will not be able to get a good clear grasp of the ambience and feel of the property and its surroundings. 

  1. The finer details

As mentioned before it will be hard to cover every nook and cranny of a property. So you won’t have a look at the smaller details. If the agent or photographer did not specifically take photos of the soft-close drawers, crafted fixtures or even wall textures. A buyer may miss the intricate details of a house that pushed it higher than its competitors. Well built homes have features like heavy insulation, steel foundation pilings, or an expensive water filtration system – that aren’t highlighted in online photos. 

Bottom Line

A home is the biggest transaction most of us will ever make. That’s why it’s important to give it a thorough thought before saying yes to a home. There are aspects of  looking at homes in person that just can’t be captured when searching for homes online. So remember that it doesn’t hurt to ask help from the experts. Find and work with a seasoned real estate agent who can help you navigate through your options. 

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Ann Rudd

Ann is a 3rd generation real estate professional in her family and has inactive licenses in Maryland and Pennsylvania and is actively licensed in North and South Carolina. Seeing other members of her family help others achieve their home ownership dreams inspired her to become a real estate agent. Helping families is what her job is all about. Whether they are buying a larger home, downsizing, transitioning to a new town or neighborhood, Ann's mission is to make those transitions as smooth as possible.

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