In today's age of digital interconnectivity, more and more people are looking to buy real estate virtually, especially pre-construction.
Prospective buyers now get their first glimpse of potential homes in the Boston area through smartphone cameras connected by Zoom and FaceTime. Some realtors are also using 3D-modeling technology to create digital walkthroughs that potential buyers can replay at any time from different angles. They can also fill empty rooms and spaces with virtual furniture.
Realtors adopted new technology tools such as drone surveys, virtual walkthroughs, and 3D mapping years ago, but often only on a case-by-case basis. However, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and protective restrictions like lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and limited in-person interactions turned these virtual tools into an ongoing reality.
Examples of virtually staged properties at CHARLESGATE listings
Why Buy Real Estate Virtually?
Real estate listings are more detailed and robust than ever before. Realtors have been using technology to give clients accurate impressions of properties before an in-person site visit or walkthrough for the last few years.
Prospective buyers are turning to technology instead of swiping through photos on a listing site or scheduling visits to see a home in person to get a feel for the space. Instead, they use Google Maps to get the street view and exterior shots, full-home video tours from agents and third-party media, high definition and 3D listing photos, video calls, live social media tours, and 360-degree drag-and-move panoramic room tours.
So why buy real estate virtually? In a word: convenience. Existing technology has made it possible to do so without the hassle of traveling and with minimal interruption to clients' lives. Depending on circumstance and preference, virtual home tours might not only be the best way for buyers to see a home – it might be the only way they can get that “real feel” experience outside traditional listing photos.
COVID-19 transformed virtual technology tools into de-facto real estate industry standards. Video conferencing and virtual walkthroughs are now the norms. As a result, buyers are working with realtors and brokerage firms to buy property from a distance.
Technology has also enabled local real estate agents to serve a potential global audience, serving national and even international markets. With the speed, quality, and efficiency of this new-age information sharing, realtors serve a broader audience with ease – and their customers are better for it. Even in areas where the pandemic has slowed to a less severe endemic state, the popularity of virtual showings has remained high due to convenience.
And while concerns over a lack of personalization in a modern virtual process are noteworthy, having a knowledgeable, trustworthy realtor guiding buyers truly fills the gaps that technology can’t yet cover with a concerted effort and personal touch.
If you’re looking at property in Greater Boston, Massachusetts, and are located further than a comfortable and convenient driving distance, consider consulting with a CHARLESGATE agent who would be more than happy to give you a virtual tour and make you feel like you’re right there beside them.
How to Buy Real Estate Virtually
Sellers and buyers can now complete the entire process of buying real estate virtually. First, however, finding the right realtor is vital, so due diligence is critical when looking for one. Below is an example of how to navigate the virtual home buying process:
- Use technology tools: Tap into the right tech tools to get you started. Use Google tools (such as Google Earth, Google Maps, or Google Street View) to see the neighborhood and nearby traffic patterns. Then watch the seller's virtual or 3D tour and zoom in on potentially problematic areas.
- Take a keen eye to listing photos and videos: When buying a completed home from a previous owner, take a sharp eye to photos and envision the property as if you were in person. What would you be on the watch for in person? Be sure to look for those things online, too. Good photography can hide smaller (or sometimes larger) issues, so make notes of anything you have questions about or would like more detail on.
- Find a buyer's agent: When shopping from afar, it's best to hire a realtor allied to you and not the seller. You will depend on them to handle nearly everything the home-buying process requires. They can also do a walkthrough on their own and schedule a video call to virtually bring you with them. A buyer’s agent’s priority is to protect their buyer, but being comfortable with your agent matters, too. Don’t know where to get started? Send an agency your questions, and they’ll help you find what you need.
- Assemble your A-Team: As every good realtor – and every buyer who’s successfully bought a home – can attest to, buying a home is a team sport. You’re going to want an agent and lender who are great communicators, available to you beyond the normal 9-to-5, and who will work as a team, proactively ensuring that everything they can control goes swimmingly for you during the buying process.
The Benefits of Buying Real Estate Virtually
Some of the benefits of buying real estate virtually include:
- Convenience: make remote purchases from anywhere in the world.
- Speed: it's a faster way to invest in or purchase a property.
- Cost: save money by limiting travel costs, and save time by touring from the comfort of your couch.
- Access: you’ll tour your property and work with a live agent without sacrificing detail or personalization you would get in person.
- Flexibility: Bring diversification to your investment portfolio with properties across the U.S.
- Opportunity: You don’t need to be in Greater Boston to access its competitive real estate market. When you work with CHARLESGATE, we bring Boston to you.
- Ease: real estate investing marketplaces have made virtual real estate buying and investing almost as easy as investing in the stock market.
Who Buys Real Estate Virtually?
While buying real estate virtually was prominent during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it still holds relevance for certain groups of people. These include out-of-state or out-of-country investors, people preparing a move to Boston from afar, families and individuals relocating for work, or people who cannot or don't wish to make several trips to see houses in a particular area that’s farther and more inconvenient for them to reach.
CHARLESGATE is the leading new development sales broker and real estate agency in Greater Boston and throughout Eastern Massachusetts. Our clients have often found success by investing early and building equity quickly by purchasing units during the pre-construction and pre-sales phases, well before project completion.
If you want exclusive access to top development projects in Boston, or are interested in virtually buying a home or investment property, contact us today to learn more.