Video tours have existed for years, but the pandemic really grew this marketing option. With restrictions and in-person meetings limited, brokers, agents, sellers, and buyers had to use digital based options including drone footage, walk-through videos, and ‘zoom-style’ walkthroughs. While many videos are very professional, others can be awkward and not well-done. Here are some tips to be sure the shiny-ness and glamour of video tours give you proper information to move forward or onto the next listing.
Many sites and listings include online video-based tours. These are pre-recorded and may or may not have sound or descriptions available. If your initial look at photos makes you interested, then watch the online tour. Sometimes the recording will give you an idea of the home’s layout, but not always. A good real estate agent will include a floor plan to help visualize the layout. These tools are perfect for reminding what particular rooms look like after you’ve completed a virtual tour or in-person tour.
Most real estate agents will offer virtual tours by appointment and occurs through a video-chat app or program. At the scheduled time, the agent will call you or you will click a link to join the video-chat tour. Generally, ahead of time the agent will send you a floor plan. This will help you visualize as the agent leads you on the tour through the main areas of the home, will answer questions, and revisit rooms unless another tour is scheduled.
Question Everything, Almost
During a virtual tour, take on the persona of a curious toddler. Ask about the specific materials of flooring, cabinetry, and countertops. Be sure to ask about colors that appear dark and apparent patters, since depending on the quality of the phone or device being used by the realtor, colors and patterns can get distorted. A good way to keep track of thoughts is to write notes for each room and follow along on the floor plan to visit each room or area of the home. Think of your current home or apartment, and what things you’d want to know more about. This could include the roof’s age and condition, foundation, and furnace or fireplace details. Above all else, ask, ask, ask! At the end of the virtual tour if you’re really interested, schedule an in-person visit. If you are unsure, take time to think about the home overnight, review your notes, and the online information about the listing.
Video based tours are a great way to start your home search. Keep in mind these digitally based tours are a marketing tool and are used as such by brokers. You should always have one in-person visit to the home to see all the details instead of relying on videos when making a final decision, as digitally-based tours should be only one step of your home search.