There is no doubt that COVID-19 has created various new obstacles for many industries, including the real estate industry. With social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions in place, along with the restriction of open homes and private inspections, many buyers and sellers are confused about the process of purchasing a home. However, thanks to modern technology, many real estate agents are conducting virtual inspections via video conference, allowing prospective purchasers to view a property without physically seeing it. As convenient as this may be, there are some things to take into consideration before signing a contract.
A photographer’s job is to make sure that whatever they are shooting presents the best way it can. This often means that they will take photos of the best features of the house and leave out the worst, so it’s important that you are mindful of this when flicking through the photos online. For example, if there is a view in the photos, make sure you are completely sure which room the view comes from and that it isn’t obstructed by trees or another property. Certain angles of photos sometimes make it confusing to figure out the size of a room so you should ask the agent to provide a floor plan with measurements so that you know how the house flows.
If you are unable to do a drive-by, search the property on Google Maps and take note of what is around it. For example, the house might be across the road from a cemetery which may not be appealing to you as a buyer. You should also make sure you do your research on the neighbourhood by talking to people you know who live in or around the area, or taking a look at crime rates in the suburb, particularly around the street the property is on.
To avoid wasting yours, the agent’s and the vendor’s time, make sure you have a list of criteria that you want your next property to meet. Even when we aren’t in the middle of a global pandemic, this list is invaluable when finding your perfect property. Your list should have three columns – must-haves, must-not-haves, and negotiables. Once you have a clear idea about what you need, it will make finding the right property a lot easier and save everyone a lot of time.
Building & Pest Inspection
Even when you purchase a property after inspecting it, a building and pest inspection is usually a part of the contract terms. A building and pest inspection can reveal issues with the property that a trained eye might miss – like drummy tiles, water damage, and other structural issues as well as any termite damage that might exist. Obtaining a building and pest inspection is more important than ever if you purchasing a property sight unseen.
When buying or selling a property, you should always do your own due diligence and seek independent legal advice. A lawyer or conveyancer will be able to assist you with this and complete the relevant searches for the property, as well as help you find out any additional information about the area, such as future proposed developments.
It isn’t uncommon to purchase a property sight unseen, particularly if it is an investment. For more advice and tips on buying a home, get in touch with a mortgage broker at Preston Finance and Insurance.