May 07, 2021 at 12:35pm | Bambi Kelly

4 Things When Viewing a Home Online


When it comes to house hunting there's nothing better than being able to visit in person. However, 2020's coronavirus had the real estate market taking drastic and immediate steps in leveraging online technology such as virtual open houses, virtual staging, and Matterport home tours, to meet the needs of homebuyers. Because of the pandemic, many aspects of how we do business have been reshaped. It's that precise reason why many of today's homebuyers are thinking about where they want to live and why. Not being specifically tied to location in proximity to a building and commute times, many people can now consider buying where they want.

What we have also noticed, at least for our Texas real estate market and specifically for the Northwest—North Houston markets, is an increase in out-of-state buyers. Out-of-state homebuyers looking in the Houston real estate market are definitely using the online virtual options first when narrowing down their home search options.

When you are looking at homes online prior to attending a public open house or scheduling a private showing, consider these four things as you view homes online:

Photos - Analyze the Photos of the Home


Make sure you take a look at all of the photos and spend some time noting where windows are and what the natural light is like in that space. Of course, some photos just don't do a room proper justice. Especially if a do-it-yourself homeowner took the photos. You can generally tell as the photos will be vertically shot rather than horizontal.Most resale homes are going to be owner-occupied, so you may have to do some creative thinking on how you might rearrange furniture or how your style of furniture may look in that space. When we are working with our seller clients, we have a staging checklist. We have agents on our team that are educated in interior design to work with our clients so that the home is as minimalistic and clutter-free as possible so potential buyers can better visualize their own "stuff" in that space.

New construction homes, especially if they are just beginning to lay the slab, will generally only have floor plans and maybe photos of the model home (if it's that floor plan) and photos of the community amenities. A good thing about floor plans though is you can get a really good idea of where your furniture might fit and how you would use that room.

Take Note of Potential Fixes/Renos


Looking at a property online, you may or may not notice any particular fixes that are needed. Well, maybe wall paint. Paint is such a personal choice. But, it is an easy fix.

When taking note of those particular items, don't just fixate on what isn't to your liking. But look at what would work for your family and lifestyle as a whole. Things such as location to schools, transportation, community amenities, lot size, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, covered patio, fenced-in backyard—those are things you can't necessarily change or find in another home.

That is why having a real estate agent representing you as the buyer is recommended. Fixes, repairs, touch-ups, upgrades (paint, carpet, etc.), can all possibly be negotiated. Making a backyard bigger (or smaller) is not.

And that leads us into...

Sizing Up the Outdoor Space


Depending on your stage of life outdoor space is just as important as your indoor space. Are you just starting out as a family? Do you need a large yard for tag football, room for a basketball hoop, maybe a pool? Outdoor kitchen, large deck or patio for barbecues? Are you an avid gardener, have a large dog, or multiple dogs?

Or maybe you're at the stage of life where a smaller yard is better. Less grass to mow, maybe a small patio for some potted plants? Or just enough room for some tomato plants and peppers, maybe a lemon tree?

So when viewing the outdoor space online consider those things when viewing the landscaping. Other questions to consider might be how much maintenance the landscaping will require such as tree trimming and shrubbery, replacing annuals.

3D & Virtual Tours


Many of The Matthew Guzman Team listings have 3D tours (Matterport tours), and video tours. In addition, we offer virtual walk-throughs with one of our agents. If you're not able to tour the property in person, a video walk-through with an agent—like a guided tour—will give you a great feel for the layout of the home.

The Matthew Guzman Team is ready to assist you in finding your next home, whether you prefer a virtual or in-person showing, we are a great resource in your home-buying journey.

Check out open houses this weekend. Stop by The Matthew Guzman Team, RE/MAX Universal open house! We'd love to meet you. Or arrange for a virtual tour of a home of your choice.
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