These people bought houses without ever entering

Lail, a professional WWE wrestler known as Jaxson Ryker, wanted to move in with his wife and daughter from Orlando to be closer to family. in Mooresville, North Carolina. But because of his production schedule and the Covid-19 pandemic, he and his wife handled the entire purchase, from finding an agent to bidding and signing a contract, virtually.

“It was crazy,” he said. “But we had a couple of FaceTime calls, we did the home inspection and we loved it. With the coronavirus up and running, it was easier for everyone.”

Buyers are becoming more comfortable buying a home without being seen, with 36% saying they would buy a home entirely online, while 43% would sell a home that way, according to a Zillow survey conducted in mid-May. . With the pandemic limiting home viewing and travel options, and more people contemplating moves because they can now work remotely, the practice is likely to become more common, according to Zillow.

An increasing number of online listings are now designed to provide buyers with a more comprehensive experience. Between February and the beginning of April, the virtual visits created in Zillow increased almost 600%. Listings with a 3D tour also garnered more interest, attracting 66% more visitors and 90% more savings in April than those without.

The advantages of a virtual tour.

While buying a house without being seen is something that international buyers often do, it is not a common practice among typical buyers.

When orders to stay home prevented Jeff and Janet Ralli from looking at a house In their neighborhood in Ocean County, New Jersey, they went ahead online.

Their agent, Nancy Phander, submitted a 3D virtual tour and a video tour and submitted an offer based on what they saw.

Jeff and Janet Ralli bought this house in Ocean County, New Jersey, without ever visiting it.

“I don’t see an advantage to doing it in person the old-fashioned way,” said Jeff Ralli.

He appreciated that, unlike a quick in-person tour of a house followed by a night of “Oh! I should have seen him!” Regrets, the house was available for you to look at online whenever a question came up.

“When you are doing a home tour with a real estate agent, you are rushing, you don’t want to waste time and you miss a lot of things,” he said. “With the virtual tour, I looked at it over and over. It’s almost like doing a home inspection.”

He checked the hot water heater and walked over to see the date the oven was installed. He spent time looking out the windows to see the view from each room. He noticed the hardware in the cabinet and saw that there was a chip in the trim.

“It was much easier and better,” he said. “I’ve never had a more realistic idea of ​​what I’m buying before bidding.”

Buying a first home without kicking the tires

Amanda Stone and her fiance, Scott Maraldo, were already in a hurry to buy their first home before their lease ended. So Covid-19 made it even more difficult.

A house in Howell, New Jersey caught Stone’s attention online and she went to see her at March, just as the intensity of the outbreak was establishing. Maraldo was still doing his National Guard training in Georgia, so he timed it as he toured it.

“I had a pretty good idea what he was talking about,” he said. “Was it the same as being in the house? No, absolutely it was not. But it was not a difficult decision.”

Amanda Stone and Scott Maraldo in front of the house they bought that Scott had never visited.

They had looked long enough to know that it met all their requirements: at least three bedrooms, a pool, a space for a home office. They made an offer and Maraldo headed for a week without communication due to his training. When he came out, Stone told him they were on contract.

But Maraldo’s first opportunity to see the house once he returned to New Jersey, during the home inspection, was thwarted. The day before, the governor issued an order to stay home and they were unable to go.

“In addition to not being there for inspection,” he said, “we are buying this house, a huge expense, and he doesn’t even know what it looks like.”

The first time he entered the house was the day before closing.

“It’s not like we expected to move into our first home,” he said.

However, nothing to buy Maraldo without seeing the view bothered. I just missed not being able to have friends and family immediately after they moved out.

What to look for when you’re not there

Knowing the red flags of home buying can be difficult, even when you visit a home in person. But concerns can be compounded when you’re doing everything online.

To make sure you don’t miss a thing, have an agent or friend walk the house with you personally through video chat to show you every nook and cranny, said Beatrice de Jong, a real estate agent who works with Opendoor, a company that buys houses in sight without being seen. They can alert you to an odor, what natural light is like or how strong the water pressure is, he said.

“It is more difficult to see details like cracked, scratched or damaged floors on the video than in person,” de Jong said. Also ask about uneven or sloping floors, which could be a sign of foundation problems.

You’ll want to see that the switches and sockets work, he said, to check for electrical problems.

“It is challenging to get a feel for the neighborhood without being there,” de Jong said, “but location is the most important thing to keep in mind as it will have the greatest impact on value and is something that cannot be changed in a home.” . “

Take note of when the roof was last replaced and upgrade to other systems in the home, but don’t feel like you have to be the expert, he said.

“It will have the house professionally inspected before closing to make sure there are no surprises,” he said.