Richard’s search for a dream house in the suburbs of NewJersey came to a screeching halt over the looming pandemic and strict lockdown; however, his real Estate agent made sure to keep his search going by way of virtual tours. Given the situation virtual tours seemed to be a silver lining, however, Richard missed the real feel of the place. Not satisfying enough, he agreed to take a relook at the house, this time more closely. Well, this has been the new norm given a haunting pandemic across the globe.
What we can’t see in a virtual tour is what we can sense, feel, touch, and smell. Leaving them out of our search bucket is not wise. So, what should one look for? The question lingers.
While we get a skeleton view of the entire house through pictures, videos, and virtual tours, here are the top seven things that your realty agent should look at with a magnifying glass for you during the virtual tour of the location or for you to keep a checklist off.
The most important and the top of our list are the various odors that we all experience daily but miss out big time on during a virtual tour. Pet odors, smoke, drain, damp & musty are some of the things we tend to sideline unknowingly, which will have a long term effect on us. These odors are something that needs deep cleaning and fails to go easily. The odors if left untreated penetrate deep inside the carpets, walls, floors and leave a layer of smell that is difficult to coexist with. It is best advised to get a deep cleaning, replacement of carpets, a fresh dose of paint to be done.
2. Unseen Damages
Keep a hawk-eye to look at every nook and corner of the house, be it walls, carpets and those unused corners of the house, every nook needs a close inspection, as every nook and corner of the walls/house is not visible in the tour, there is every chance we may miss to see them closely. It can be either an uncovered hole to a dampened corner, from a wall crack to a ceiling leakage. Hence, asking the agent to take a closer look will save a lot of time and money. An extra eye for detail should necessarily go for checking kids room for signs of paint chipping, sticker marks, pen/pencil/color drawings, torn wallpaper. They can also be categorized as the cosmetic looks of the house.
3. Minor bathroom Fixtures
These are somethings that miss the naked eye even after repeatedly looking around, the bathroom leakages, damages, handles, clogging, etc do not surface out unless we start using them or in due course of time. Hence, it has to be cautiously looked after, we can also request the agent to inspect with extra cost.
4. Home Appliances and locks
All the rented accommodations come with basic home appliances such as a gas unit, oven, microwave, washer-dryer unit, dishwasher, refrigerator. All the appliances are susceptible to repairs after prolonged uses, hence it is important to check the working condition of all the items before we venture to rent the place. Another important aspect to look at is the doors, handles, locks, alarms, and other home automation systems if any. An electrical inspection will be a good idea depending on the age and usage of these home appliances.
5. Fencing & Lawn related
While viewing an individual property, one should be cautious of the entire surroundings such as the lawn, fencing, tree growth (if any), and the maintenance contracts that are either running or overdue. Apart from an unkempt lawn, an overgrown shady tree also needs attention as they become the biggest hindrance to natural lighting.
6. Basement, Stairs, Windows
Basements, garages, stairs, windows all are equally important from a security point of view and need a thorough check. One needs to ask their realty agent to take you through a zoom-in mode if necessary to get the nitty-gritty details.
7. Secondary Repairs
Secondary repairs are all such items that do not need immediate attention but should be considered at a later date. Such as cleaning of Venetian blinds, broken chimneys, fireplaces, smoke absorbers, kitchen countertop repairs, etc.
Things you can request your agent
While you now have the kind of odors in place, do not hesitate to understand from your agent the finer visual details that you may notice. These cues will certainly help to identify odors and be well prepared to deal with them so that you will not fall prey to surprises. You can avoid this by simply probing more into the house niceties. About tenants, their course of stay, pets (if any), age of the house, understanding maintenance contracts- various inclusions & exclusions, etc.
This way you will also save up a lot of time and energy before your physical visit to the location. During murkier times like this, all we want is to step out of the house for something necessary and not end up getting disappointed. Trust in your agent is primary, however, doing your virtual scrutiny is recommended. Small pieces of visual evidence in the due course of time can always lead to things that agents may miss out or which we may not keenly observe.
As I sign off, here is my word of caution- Buckle up for your next virtual tour journey and do not miss the nuances of the virtual open house.