Virtual house hunting: The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we live and work. The real estate industry has also adopted digital solutions to help with property buying and selling. Customers can now search for homes virtually while sitting at home, thanks to advances in technology. Virtual reality allows you to see both the interiors and exteriors of a property. Prospective buyers can visit many properties online in a short period of time without having to leave their homes, making the house-hunting process safe during the pandemic.
Virtual house hunting gets a pandemic boost
While the use of digital technologies in Indian real estate began several years ago, it has increased significantly since the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Developers, agents, individual home sellers, buyers, tenants, landlords, and even vacation renters (for extended stays) are all taking advantage of online property tours. A virtual tour is a three-dimensional, 360-degree walkthrough that provides an impression of the property’s size and space. A client should ideally use a virtual reality (VR) headset for such tours. Aerial views of the housing complex are also provided by the augmented reality solution
Clients nowadays demand virtual tours, which can be as simple as a short video of the home or as elaborate as a live video call via Google, Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp. Aside from tours of the house, clients insist on seeing the view that a house provides, such as the garden, pool, main road, building on the opposite side, and so on, as well as the recreational amenities that the complex has to offer, such as the gym, walking track, or even the car parking area.
Benefits of virtual house hunting
The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented people from visiting properties that they would otherwise be able to view. To address this, developers have increased their use of virtual technologies to demonstrate their products to buyers. Buyers, for their part, use these tools as a preliminary screening mechanism. A virtual tour is typically conducted prior to a physical, in-person visit.
“It is important for buyers to get a true feel for the product before investing. Today, in the midst of COVID-19, virtual technology is the only way to provide better project detailing to the entire family, all at once and in one place. Furthermore, these tools broaden a project’s reach, from local markets to out-of-town and even international buyers. A good virtual tour can assist a buyer in making an informed purchase. With lockdowns in place, developers, brokers, and channel partners have turned to virtual reality to sell,” says Manju Yagnik, vice-chairperson of the Nahar Group and senior vice-president of NAREDCO West.
Although the deal is finalised and financial transactions are completed only after the physical visit to the property, these digital tours aid in shaping the customer’s decision-making process regarding whether to invest their time and energy in visiting the site.
In addition, online platforms and websites detail the project, the building, the apartment, and the floor plan. In addition, the platform includes online booking platforms, real-time video connections, and virtual tours.
Virtual house hunting during a pandemic: Points to keep in mind
A home should be a place where people can feel safe, comfortable, and connect with their loved ones. Make a list of must-have features for the house and set a budget for the purchase. Make sure the project is located near schools, offices, train stations, and bus stops, among other factors.
“As a family, discuss and decide on the requirements for space, price, type, location, developer, and so on. Everything is glamorous in a virtual tour. So, go over their product brochure and product details to get a sense of what they have to offer. You need to examine whether the floor plan, amenities and family needs of the developer meet your needs. Before signing the contract, get a good sense of the neighborhood and read through the disclosures and terms and conditions. There is no doubt that technology is useful and simplifies our lives, but be cautious of what you purchase.
Aside from ready-to-move-in properties, virtual house hunting is also useful for under-construction properties, where projects can be viewed and transactions can be completed online. Buyers can be kept up to date with videos (with the date and time of recording) of the project’s construction status, excavation pictures if the project is in its early stages of construction, and photos and videos of amenities, spaces, recreation areas, lobby, and so on if the project is completed.
Challenges in virtual house hunting
- It is difficult to accurately understand the natural light or ventilation in the house.
- If it is a resale apartment or a furnished house, one cannot check the quality of furniture and fixtures online.
- One cannot get a feel of the neighbourhood through virtual mediums. In most cases, decisions depend on information gathered from neighbours and building information.
- The entire transaction cannot be completed online, as one still needs to visit the site and interact with the sales and customer service teams or the seller.
While viewing the property virtually can be convenient, most people prefer to see it in person. Payments, particularly when dealing with large sums of money, made easier by seeing the person in person. Most clients are hesitant to take a virtual leap of faith because they value personal touch. Buyers prefer to physically inspect a resale or new property before making a final decision.
ALSO READ: The Best Apps To Look While Buying Property
Dos and don’ts of virtual house hunting
- Always request a live virtual tour rather than a pre-recorded one. Look for cracks, leaks, and traffic noise especially in the bathrooms, kitchen, flooring, and walls.
- Rely on reputable real estate websites. Find the perfect location, as well as an estimate of the price in the area, and do thorough research.
- Examine the area’s connectivity, the distance to your workplace, the availability of transportation, amenities such as hospitals, schools, and shops, and the safety of the area, particularly at night.
- Consider a virtual tour as a first step in the home-buying process, but make your final decision after a physical inspection of the property.
- Examine the property’s legal documents. Check the title, approvals, and certifications at the sales office/seller, but follow the pandemic guidelines – wear masks, use sanitizers, and maintain social distance.