House hunting is always a fun challenge for homebuyers, rife with possibilities and the excitement that comes with imagining what your life may look like in a new home. There have been some incredible advances in how we search for homes, with access to the MLS granted with a couple of taps on our mobile device. We also have incredible camera equipment to snap striking still-frame shots and high-definition videos from all kinds of angles that showcase properties in their best light. Real estate professionals and companies can update followers on listings, the market, and more, in real-time. All of this used in concert offers homebuyers more online information about properties than has ever existed previously.
During this time of social distancing, let’s learn how to leverage the incredibly useful tools that are available to aid in your home search. We put together a few tips for house hunting that make it possible to find your dream home and stay connected to your market from the comfort of your couch.
- Use online search portals
Any respectable real estate website has a search portal with access to properties via the MLS. Most portals allow you to search by city, and even drill down to specific neighborhoods and communities. You should also be able to indicate the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and even some amenities like a pool, etc. within the search query.
The Bennion Deville Homes website, for example, has access to thousands of listings throughout Southern California, and even offers tools such as map-based search so you can get a feel for the surrounding communities, amenities, and proximity to local points of interest. Employ these search portals to your advantage while you surf the web from home.
- Visit via virtual tours
If you can’t get into the home you want to see right away, you can still explore the fit and finish of the property through the use of virtual tours and other tech-based products. Many real estate professionals will post walk-through tours as a part of the property information on the MLS. These tours are sometimes packaged as a slideshow using still-frame shots that start at the front of the house and work through the interior and out to the exterior of the home.
In other cases, a real estate professional may invest in producing a high-definition video tour that flows through the house. Some real estate professionals will even offer immersive virtual experiences such as Matterport, which creates a first-person view from the center of each room in the home, as well as a 2D floor plan and a “doll-house” view, which is essentially a 3D floor plan that offers additional perspectives on the home’s layout. In lieu of being able to walk a property, these can be an apt substitute to keep a home on your wish list until the time is right to set up an in-person visit.
- Stay plugged into social media
As with other small businesses, many real estate professionals are using the power of social media to create a presence for their services. In addition to offering advice to consumers, giving a peek behind the curtain of what life in the real estate industry is like, and supplying updates on the market, they will also give exclusive access to the homes they have listed for sale. Leveraging the tools at their disposal such as the high-definition videos and high-resolution images mentioned above, they will also use each social media platform’s arsenal to spread the word about homes they are representing. For example, Facebook and Instagram offer a feature called stories, which allows a user to post a photo or video for 24 hours. Facebook and other platforms offer live video, giving the user an opportunity to stream directly from their device. Instagram even has IGTV, an entire section of the social media platform dedicated to extended length video content.
With state and local regulations reducing the amount of in-person contact we should have with each other, we expect more and more real estate professionals to use these tools as an opportunity to spread the word about their listings by posting visual assets and even giving virtual walk-throughs with commentary, all done by using their smart phones. Tap into this wealth of information from your local real estate experts to stay on top of what’s happening in the market and to also have access to these types of exclusive first-person tours.
- Connect with a real estate professional
A real estate professional is always just a phone call or email away and can offer you their unique insight as well. They may also be able to gain access to homes that are listed for sale or have additional information about the property. Through features such as video chat and conferencing, this interaction could even take place “face-to-face!”
Our Bennion Deville Homes real estate professionals are still working through these uncertain times and are here to assist you in any way possible, from answering questions about the market or a property to offering advice on what to do if you are exploring your real estate options. We may be limiting the amount of personal engagement with each other, but we can still connect thanks to the technology available at our fingertips. Through it all, we are here to unlock possibilities for you.
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