In a matter of weeks, the virtual world has become our new normal. From business meetings to happy hours, people are finding creative ways to adapt to life at home.
The real estate industry is no different. People still need to move, and virtual home tours themselves are nothing new. In fact, approximately 20% of our past clients found their home as a result of virtual showings. Yet, as you may know, buying a house isn’t as simple as viewing homes.
There are a variety of steps involved in the home buying process, and completing these activities from home poses unique challenges at multiple points in your transaction.
With the help of our local partners and service providers, we’ve created a process that addresses every step of your home buying journey, allowing you to purchase a new home in the safest manner possible.
Let’s start by looking at our virtual home buying process as a whole:
Now that you’ve seen the process, let’s break down each step of our virtual home buying guide:
Step 1: Virtual Consultation
This step is not much different from our typical buyer’s consultation, except for the fact that the meeting is held over video conference. This is our opportunity to get to know one another and decide if we are a good fit to work together.
We’ll start by discussing, well, you! Understanding your motivation for making a move and what is important to you as a person helps immensely in the home buying process. Our goal is to deliver a fully personalized experience, and this is how we’ll do just that.
Next, we’ll discuss the market. We’ll cover difference between a buyer’s and seller’s market, as well as the specific market conditions in the area you would like to move to. This also serves as a natural transition to diving into your search criteria.
We will work with you to identify your list of “must-haves,” a price range that you are pre-approved for and comfortable with, and any additional criteria that you would like to have.
Once we’ve answered any additional questions you might have about the home buying process and how we will help you achieve your goals, we’ll walk you through our loyalty agreement and associated business disclosures, them send them via DocuSign for you to easily review and complete.
Step 2: Home Search
Now for the fun part! Odds are you’ve been browsing homes for some time, and during this step, we are going to help you get specific about the homes you are considering.
We’ll set up an MLS portal that will email you homes that fit your search criteria as soon as they hit the market, giving you inside access that buyers looking on third party websites won’t have. During this step, we’ll be keeping in close communication to keep track of the homes you are considering, as well as conduct any background research needed to help you evaluate homes.
Step 3: Virtual Tours
Normally, we would schedule a time to go and see your favorite homes once your list is narrowed down. The virtual showing process is quite similar in approach.
When you identify a property that you want to see, your agent will schedule a time with the listing agent to do a walkthrough of the home. The virtual tour can either be done live over Facetime or recorded for you to watch at a later time. We recommend blocking the time along with your agent so that you can view the property live, as this allows you to ask questions on the fly and point out areas you are interested in seeing more of.
Virtual tours are becoming very popular, but they are not created equal. We’ve created a guide specifically for virtual tours to ensure your success in using video to evaluate homes. Check it out for best practices and tips that will make your experience a great one!
Step 4: Electronically Sign
After conducting a video tour with your agent, you are confident you’ve found the perfect home. Now it’s time to make an offer. Fortunately, our process in place for presenting and executing offers is already completely digital!
We’ll start by walking you through the purchase contract and identifying opportunities for negotiation. Once we have arrived at terms that you feel good about and are confident will result in the acceptance of the seller, we will create a digital offer and send it to you via DocuSign.
Along with your offer, we recommend you create a personalized letter to send to the seller to introduce yourself and highlight why their home is the one for you. Stories matter, and a seller that has loved their home for years may want it to go to a family that will love it just as much. We will then send the offer to the listing agent to present to the seller.
Step 5: Deliver Checks
Once your offer is accepted by the seller and your contract is executed, normally you would need to deliver two checks: your earnest money check to the title company, and your option money to the seller. To ensure your safety, the title companies that we frequently work with have implemented processes for you to either safely wire the earnest money or drop it off securely at their office while maintaining social distancing.
For the option check, your agent will arrange a time to pick up the check, again while maintaining social distancing, and ensure that it is delivered in a timely manner to the seller. Regardless of your situation, we are prepared to handle this step with your safety in mind.
Step 6: Home Inspection
From a buyer’s perspective, setting up the inspection itself will not require contact with your inspector. We will ensure that the seller is aware of your inspection appointment so that they can properly disinfect the property and maintain social distancing while the inspector is in their home.
Typically we recommend that buyers attend the last 30 minutes of the scheduled inspection in order to go over the report with the inspector. Every inspector operates a bit differently, but we will work with your inspector to schedule a time to connect over video chat to discuss the findings included in your inspection report, and then proceed with any repair requests that follow.
Step 7: Closing Time
Whereas you would normally go in person to complete your closing paperwork, we are working with title companies that are taking innovative approaches to make closing day safer for you.
For example, Fair Texas Title has created a process for “Curbside Closings.” Simply call when you pull up to their office, and they will bring out your paperwork, then return to their office where they will connect over video chat to walk you through each specific document. A remote virtual notary will join to verify your identity and signatures, ensuring that the process is completed in an efficient and safe manner.
Step 8: Enjoy Your New Home!
Once funding is complete, we will deliver the keys to your new home to you! If you need help finding moving companies, we will be happy to reach out to companies our past clients have had good experiences with and ensure that their are taking proper health precautions.
The world is changing, and we are ready to adapt in order to make your real estate goals happen. If you have any questions about our virtual home buying process or would like to schedule a virtual consultation, call us at 972-608-0777 or request a call HERE.