Moving in the Time of Corona might sound like a Marquez novel but, as UK buyers are finding, it’s very much not a work of fiction, with pandemic restrictions changing the face of house-hunting quite a bit.
While in-person viewings are still permitted in some parts of the country, many buyers are choosing to stay cautious and conduct their first viewings (at least) via an online medium. This could be a 3D tour, a pre-recorded video walk-through or a live walk-through.
If you’re scoping out potential new homes over the internet, then you can get more out of each viewing by following these tips.
Take notes as the viewing goes along
Make notes about the things you’d point out or ask about during an in-person viewing, such as:
- The age of the current bathroom and kitchen installations
- Any visible cracks or suspicious-looking patches on walls or ceilings which could indicate damp
- Whether that shiny new paint is hiding damp patches
- How much storage space there is throughout the property, especially in the kitchen and bathroom
- How old the windows are and what sort of condition they’re in, and
- What the views are like.
These are all things you’d be able to see for yourself or ask a live agent during the viewing. They’re also easy to forget about if you’re squinting at an iPad…
Some pre-recorded videos also feature a quick flyover with a drone or a walk-around through the immediate neighbourhood and these are particularly helpful.
Peer into every nook and cranny of a 3D tour
Every corner should be gone into with a 3D interactive tour, so make sure you have a good poke around as well. If some areas seem to have been missed out, ask if there’s a problem there. Many 3D tours feature measuring tools, so you can get a good idea of how your existing furniture will fit – or not.
Make your second viewing a live one
If the initial pre-recorded or 3D tour piqued your interest then you should arrange a live walk-through, conducted by the agent or vendor. This allows you to ask for a nosey under the stairs, a peek at the village noticeboard (you can learn a lot about the neighbourhood here) and to get up close and personal with the floorboards and the garden fence.
You can also ask about the schools, what rush-hour is like, what the corner shop sells, when the boiler needs to be replaced and all those other finer details that come with a second viewing.
Accept that you can’t completely replicate an in-person viewing
However, there are things that you can verify objectively, such as measurements, recent sold prices in the postcode, crime statistics and Ofsted reports. These are hard facts and so can rule in or rule out properties that you might want to arrange a third in-person viewing for, if restrictions allow.