Touring a house on video? The questions you should be asking your agent

As we see video-chat home tours surge in popularity, it’s not always clear what the standard operating procedure should be – especially from the vantage point of your couch. There are plenty of recommended questions you should consider when touring homes in person, but what about when you’re social distancing? Whether you’re moving to New York, NY for a new job or you need to upgrade your home in Portland, OR, because your family is growing, you need to buy a home soon and you will most likely be having your next home tour on video-chat. So, here are some critical questions to consider asking your agent so you can have access to all the information you need before, during, and after your next video-chat home tour.

Questions to ask your real estate agent before your video-chat home tour

  • Is there a floorplan of the home I can reference during the tour? This can help you get a better sense of the size and layout of rooms as your agent shows you what they’re like in real-time.
  • If we experience network reception issues, can you record a video and send it to me instead? Be clear about which features of the home you’d like to focus on, which areas to spend extra time on and where to show multiple angles.

Questions to ask during your video-chat home tour

  • Do any features or surfaces look worn or damaged? It’s not always easy to tell from a video, so take some time to make sure looks match reality. 
  • What are the noise levels like inside and outside the home? If a home is on a busy street or near popular public areas, you’ll want to know if volume may be a concern.
  • Can you open any curtains or blinds so I can see all possible views? Sometimes a seller might be hiding an obstructed or unsightly view if a window is covered up.
  • How old are the kitchen appliances? The life expectancy of kitchen appliances varies and can be easily overlooked during a video home tour. Replacing old appliances can be very expensive so be sure that the home your touring has appliances that will function well into the foreseeable future.
  • What direction is natural light coming from? This can help you get a better sense of how much light you’d get in certain rooms when the sun rises and sets.
  • If touring a single-family home, how close by are neighbors’ homes? Knowing how close the home is to the ones next door can help you get a better idea of potential noise levels or whether a window looks directly into the homes next door.
  •  If touring a condo, can you show me any common areas, like the hallways or amenities of the building? Getting a sense of daily life in shared spaces will help you decide if the home’s a good fit.
  • In carpeted areas, can you walk around and tell me if you hear any creaking or other sounds? Finding out that your subflooring has structural issues, post-closing, can significantly add to the overall cost of the home down the road.
  • If there’s landscaping, is it well-maintained with quality materials? Curb appeal can play a big role in home value, so don’t forget to check the condition of the spaces outside of the home. This may just influence the amount you’d want to offer.
  • Do you notice any odors inside or outside the home that are unusual? You don’t want to buy a home that has a lingering sewer smell or maybe downwind of a paper mill or some other industrial site. You’ll need to trust that your Agent’s nose knows the area and most importantly, what odors do not belong in a house.

Questions for after the home tour

    • Did anything look noticeably different in person vs. in the listing photos? Sellers might accentuate a feature in photos, while it doesn’t look the same in-person.
    • Can you take me on a “drive” around the neighborhood? One of the biggest factors that buyers consider in a new home is the look and feel of the surrounding area. Taking a virtual tour can extend to other parts of the neighborhood if your agent is up for it.
    • Is there anything you noticed about the home that might be of concern? Since your agent is seeing the home in person, it’s possible they noticed water damage, any damage to the roof, a crack in the wall or chipped molding that you didn’t.

While it sounded futuristic only weeks ago, more buyers are making offers after taking video-chat tours than ever before. Local Redfin agents are still active in the market, with new tools for each step of the buying process. So, if you’re planning on taking advantage of the market during this historic Spring, we’ve got everything you need to find your next home – without leaving your current one.

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