Of course, you’re going to look for homes online, nearly everyone does these days. But I normally tell my clients to drive by the home before we schedule an appointment. If you love the home online and then drive by the property only to discover it in a junkie neighborhood or it’s too far from work, there’s no point to schedule an appointment and waste your agents time and the sellers time. But there are other things to be aware of when looking at home online versus in person. Here are five things that are completely different online than in person when viewing real estate.
#1. The size.
Photographers and real estate agents can get very creative with the way they take photos. And although you want to show the home in the best possible light, agents shouldn’t advertise something that’s not there. The home may look enormous with a wide-angle lens but in person, it could be no bigger than a closet.
#2. The smell.
We don’t have smell-a-vision just yet so it’s impossible to know what a house is going to smell like from a photo. The house might even look brand-new but once you get out there you find that there has been pet odors, a smoker living in the house or there’s a musty, mildew smell that could open an entire can of worms.
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#3. The environment.
The house might look beautiful but then when you visit the property you notice that it’s right next to a waste management facility, power lines, a busy freeway or a dangerous part of town. These are things to discover before finalizing an offer.
#4. The sense of calm.
Home staging can make a house look like as a model showroom and can distract you from what’s really going on from the outside. If you visit the home and there are shady characters perusing the neighborhood, gunshots in the distance, and, did you just witness a drug deal!? All of these things can be masked with a beautiful photograph of the inside.
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#5. Everything looks perfect.
Online photos and even listing descriptions will rarely show a home’s flaws. Photographs may only show the best rooms in a house so be really observant when it comes to the listing itself. Does the listing note that the house has four bedrooms but the photographs only show two? Does the listing show a basement but there are no photos of said basement? Be aware what the listing actually tells you in words versus the pictures that are actually being shown. A lot of times homes that need a lot of TLC will only show the outside of the property and maybe the view. If the home is vacant it would be a smart idea to drive by and look in the window to see if the inside is completely gutted.
Looking for homes online is perfectly fine and if you find a home you love I always suggest doing a drive-by first to see if it’s in a neighborhood that you even like. If you’d like to go further at this point, give us a call and I’d be happy to set up a personal showing.