Your Virtual House Hunting Checklist and Pro Tips!

Your Virtual House Hunting Checklist and Pro Tips!

Jun 16, 2020 June 16, 2020

In the modern world we live in, virtual real estate showings are becoming more and more standard. By and large, these guided showings have made it easier to tour a property you would want to buy -- they’re faster than driving from property to property, and they help you narrow down your search. And hey, you can do it from the comfort of your own home! 

So, what started as a recommendation by the National Association of Realtors at the peak of the pandemic, virtual house hunting has turned into the choice for many buyers who are looking at properties from another state or country, or who simply want to be safe and minimize contact with others. And it makes sense -- virtual property showings can be an effective and convenient way to see a condo. 

But before heading out for your virtual house hunting adventure, let’s first look at the three most common ways to view and tour properties online:

GOOD: Virtual Video Tours

Virtual Showing - Real Estate Agent in live walk through

Now, these are pre-recorded videos of a property for sale. These will usually include all the highlights you may have read about on the listing. You might have seen such videos on YouTube or your agent may have already shared an email or Dropbox link for you to view.

These video tours will mostly take you through each living space in the house and show off the views and exterior as well. However, since they are pre-recorded, there is no room to ask to pause to see something specific or make a special request for details or any other sort of personalization. Nonetheless, they are definitely better than plain photos, where you need to piece images together to understand the layout and property.

BETTER: 3D Virtual Reality and Interactive Tours

3D Virtual Reality Tour

A step up from the simple video tour, these augmented reality tours lend much more control and authenticity to the home viewing process by recreating a vision to the scale of the property. With a 3D headset, you can easily look around and see things almost like you’re inside the home. It also gives utmost control on navigating through the living spaces, and to check out different angels you otherwise cannot on a recorded video.

Some 3D tours will even let you interact with the living space, giving you the option to switch between furniture settings or change some things around in the room.

BEST: Virtual Showings

Agent face-timing with client

Often confused with virtual tours, which are photos, pre-recorded video or 3D tours of a property,
virtual showings are live, one-on-one, viewing sessions (video calls) organized by the seller or real estate agent. Virtual showings are the gold standard of online house hunting. They’re not only convenient in terms of social distancing, but also because there’s no extra equipment required - a simple smartphone with an app like FaceTime, Whatsapp, Skype, Zoom or Google Meet gets the job done. 

Since these are live sessions, you can easily ask your host to focus on areas that interest you and have a personal touch to the entire experience. And, of course, while a virtual showing is not the same as seeing a property in-person, the following checklist will make sure you get it as close to the real thing as virtually possible. 

Virtual House Hunting Checklist

So, here are the top 9 things buyers should ask for when doing virtual showings:

1. Ask for Floor Plans in Advance

First, ask your realtor if floor plans are available and make sure you get them ahead of your scheduled showing so you can get a sense of how the property is laid out and your showing will flow. If it is a very large property, discuss the course of your tour in advance with your agent, so you’ll have a smooth virtual experience and won’t feel lost mid-call. Also test whatever app or technology you’ll be using ahead of time to be sure everything is working for you and your realtor.

Pro Tip

Begin with a wide-angle view of the front door and then going with the natural flow of the house - moving through the main areas, kitchen, and then heading into the bedrooms - makes it easier to understand any layout. This will give you a better sense of how each living space is positioned in relation to other rooms.

Pro Tip

Multiple Floors or Entrances? Ask to backtrack to the point of entry and then move on to the next level for better spatial understanding. Picking the right viewpoint in a room is important, too. While the center of the room may seem like the ideal spot for a 360-degree look around, walking around the perimeter of rooms, as you might in person, is also good.

Pro Tip

Ask your virtual host to stop at entrances, near windows, in hallways, and on landings, replicating the natural stopping points of an in-person showing for a better experience.

2. Ask for a Dusk Appointment – Natural Vs. Artificial Light

Lighting plays a very crucial role when it comes to virtual showings. Seeing your next home in natural light is always better than the artificial alternative. While this might have you believe that morning or noon showings are best, remember that the glare of white light during the day will interfere with the clarity of your visuals. This is why it’s highly recommended to pick an evening slot if possible to get the best camera view.

Pro Tip

Have your host open up the curtains, doors/screens, and windows for a good indoor-outdoor view. This will give you a good sense of how much light the house gets. Since you’ll be opting for an evening tour, also ask them to switch on all the lights to see whether there is consistent lighting throughout. 

3. Ask to See the Details

Just like in a regular showing, you shouldn’t shy away from looking into details. Ask your host to open up kitchen cabinets, drawers, closets, etc. to get a good idea of the kind of storage space you’re getting. If there’s a particular type of backsplash mentioned in the kitchen, ask for a closer look. What’s not okay, is asking to get into the seller’s dresser drawers or other personal furniture drawers. Further, you should also ask for a closer look at the materials used in the kitchen, baths, and flooring too, since these would be easy to notice in-person but not so much online.

✅ Pro Tip

Don’t be shy! Ask to see inside A/C closets, under cabinets, and any appliances. In the bathrooms, check grout, vanity tops and light fixtures.

4. Ask to See the Views

While most hosts will remember to show you the main views (and take pride in showing them) like those from a balcony or out the front door/building, you should ask to look at the views from bedroom windows, the backyard, and even the street and the neighboring buildings. These will help you get a good feel of the property, just as you would on an in-person showing.

5. Ask to See Your Favorites

Remember the things that first made you fall in love with the property? Maybe it’s that chef’s kitchen with a wet bar, summer kitchen on the terrace, marble flooring, Italian furniture, or the spa shower - whatever it may be, make a note of your favorites and keep the checklist handy to tick off as your online showing progresses.

✅ Pro Tip

If you have any oversized furniture or need to know the space of a room, be sure to ask your agent or host to bring a tape measure, and measure the areas of interest. This is especially important if you don’t have the floor plans.

6. Ask About the Community

While this is something most people will remember to ask or investigate in a regular showing, it often gets overlooked when touring online. Always remember to ask what’s the general lifestyle of the building or neighborhood. Also, be sure to ask your realtor to tour the common areas of the condo building as well as the street view to get a sense of what the neighborhood is like and who your neighbors might be. You can also get a sense of any major repair or improvement work that might be going on in the area or in a nearby building, parks, restaurants or other valuable community amenities. 

7. Ask about Defects or Material Issues with the Property

When going property shopping, online or in-person, it pays to be upfront. So, during your virtual showing, make sure to ask if there are any major defects or flaws in the property. Considering it is easier to overlook issues not plainly visible during virtual showings, this one question can save you from plenty of hassles later on.

✅ Pro Tip

Ask about any undisclosed issues during your virtual one-on-one and save yourself from last-minute disappointments.

Also, you should know that even though sellers are not required to fill out a property disclosure form under Florida law, they are required to disclose any material property defects. Significant or material defects are those that can have a negative impact on the property’s value or the buyer’s readiness to purchase. Some examples include faulty electrical wiring, infestations, mold, vicinity to public utility plants, and plumbing leaks. 

8. Ask to Record the Virtual Showing

In case the seller doesn’t already have a video of the property in question, ask them to record the showing, so you can go back for a second look. This will come in handy especially when a spouse or family member can’t house hunt with you and when you’re choosing between multiple properties with the same number of rooms and baths, or condos within the same building. A last-minute video walk-through to jog the memory, or to show other family members can be of great help when making a decision.

✅ Pro Tip

Before the virtual showing is over, request a copy of the floor plan if you don’t already have it, photos, digital brochure, or any important documents or disclosures of the property, particularly any Homeowners Association (HOA) information if you’re looking at condos.

9. Give Feedback and Ask ‘What’s Next?’

As you get ready to end your virtual showing, be sure to give your realtor feedback, and revisit any points or areas outstanding in your mind. Ask to double-check any areas or details you want to see again. And then, make sure to ask your agent for the next steps. Irrespective of whether you want to move forward with the purchase or not, a simple discussion on what to do next will give you and your agent perspective and a positive direction to move forward.

✅ Pro Tip

As real estate showings are part of Miami’s reopening, we’ll be more than happy to accommodate any in-person walk-through requests for your next condo purchase. And for those who aren’t in the Miami area or if you want to continue avoiding contact, we’ll be happy to arrange virtual showings for your property of choice.

We would also like you to know that we are adhering to all social distancing requirements and other safety protocols set out by Miami-Dade County for our in-person as well as virtual showings to make the process as smooth and safe for you as we can. Contact one of our real estate experts today to arrange a showing at (786) 930-4220.

Checklist of Things to See before Your Virtual Real Estate Showing is Over:

🔲 Front yard

🔲 Back Yard

🔲 A/C Blowers, Condensers

🔲 Washer/Dryer Location

🔲 Garage

🔲 Side yards

🔲 View of the House from the Street

🔲 View of Neighboring houses

🔲 Kitchen

🔲 Every bathroom listed 

🔲 Every bedroom

🔲 Closets

🔲 Any storage space

🔲 Common areas, gym, pool, clubhouse 

🔲 Street, Neighboring buildings or Neighborhood

Contact Us
Founder, & Owner/Broker, BlackBook Properties
(305) 697-7667
Request Info
By sending you agree to CondoBlackBook's Terms of Use

Your Miami Condo Awaits

Recent Posts

Miami Building Boom 2021: These are the 12 New Condo Development Projects Planned to Date
Real Estate News Miami Building Boom 2021: These are the 12 New Condo Development Projects Planned to Date
It’s a trend we’ve been talking about since the last quarter of 2020 - waves of buyers are contributing to one of the biggest real estate booms in Miami history. As individuals and businesses escape high tax states like New York and California, and have the freedom to work from any location, luxury condo developers in Miami are announcing new project after new project.   Miami condo developers have announced over a dozen new and relaunched condo projects since the beginning of 2021. In an attempt to appeal to a wide range of new residents, each new project aims to be taller, more luxurious, and offer the most exciting set of amenities imaginable, and could bring more than 10,000 residential units to Miami over the next few years. With the real estate market in Miami in one of its most lucrative cycles yet, here’s a look at the latest condo projects proposed in Miami since January 2021 (till the time of this post): New Miami Condo Development Projects 2021 E11even Hotel and...
Surfside vs Sunny Isles Beach: Which Miami Neighborhood is Better?
Neighborhood Comparisons Surfside vs Sunny Isles Beach: Which Miami Neighborhood is Better?
If you love coastal living with walkable access to Atlantic Ocean beaches, and you want to move to a beachfront address while bypassing the hustle and bustle of South Beach, there are two beachside communities to consider when looking to make your move: Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside.  While these communities are practically next-door neighbors (with ritzy Bal Harbour nestled between them) and they share many amenities, including direct beach access to the Atlantic. Plus, they both are in prime locations that provide quick and easy access to airports, shopping, arts and culture, and outdoor living, living there could not be more different from one another.   As insiders who’ve lived in these popular Miami neighborhoods, we’ve broken down the similarities and differences between these two beautiful seaside communities in case you are looking to move to Miami. Lifestyle: Sunny Isles Beach vs. Surfside While Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside both provide residential coastal living...
Miami Condos with Shabbat Elevators
Real Estate News Miami Condos with Shabbat Elevators
Last updated June 11, 2021. Whether you refer to it as the Sabbath, Shabbat, Shabbos, or by any other term, your religious commitment to observing a holy day of rest should not prevent you from enjoying a luxury condo lifestyle in the subtropical paradise that is Miami.  For this reason, a number of condo communities provide the convenience of a Shabbat or Sabbath elevator, which is a specially programmed elevator that stops automatically on every floor during the Jewish Sabbath, from sundown on Friday evening until sundown on Saturday of every week.  This service is provided in order to accommodate the Jewish religious law that prohibits religious observers from pushing buttons or operating machinery during the Sabbath. While Miami today is known as a particularly Jewish-friendly metropolis, Jews were not even allowed to enter Miami Beach Hotels until the late 1940s. But by the 1950s they began to lay down roots in Miami Beach and to impact the economy, politics, and social flavor...
The Top 10 Tallest Buildings in Miami (You Can Live In)
Real Estate News The Top 10 Tallest Buildings in Miami (You Can Live In)
If you’ve been visiting Miami over the years, one thing you’ve probably noticed is the buildings keep getting taller, and the skyline keeps growing. Ever since the FAA relaxed its height restrictions more than six years ago, Miami’s skyline has continued to elevate itself with glimmering designs of glass and light. The tallest residential building in Miami as of this post is the apartment highrise Panorama Tower at 828 feet. But that won’t last for long. Every few months, a new condo tower is announced with ambitions of becoming one of Miami’s tallest buildings.  Call them #supertowers, #supertalls, or #skyscrapers, they’re definitely building the city’s skyline, reputation, and luxury living to new heights. So, who can claim the title of Miami’s tallest building you can call home? Check out our list below of the top 10 Tallest Condo Buildings in Miami – present and under construction – if you like to live above it all. Elysee Miami | Edgewater Height: 649 feetFloors: 57Developed...
Brickell Avenue Bridge Schedule, Traffic and Solutions -- All You Need To Know
Transportation Brickell Avenue Bridge Schedule, Traffic and Solutions -- All You Need To Know
Ever tried driving from Brickell to Downtown Miami for lunch? Most Miamians dread the thought of catching the dreaded Brickell Avenue bridge, a drawbridge that opens every hour or half-hour during non-curfew hours to allow river and traffic and boats to pass under.  * This article was updated on June 7, 2021 So what’s the problem? A big one! When the bridge opens, it ends up turning the city into a parking lot. With the last two building booms, there’s been a sudden surge in Downtown population since 2010 that has not stopped, and hence, denser traffic. And with Brickell now one of Miami’s hottest neighborhoods, serving as Miami’s vital financial hub, dense residential condo neighborhood and go-to place for nightlife, travel to and from Brickell and Downtown Miami is unavoidable.  This is why almost every second year, the FDOT faces requests to place restrictions on opening the bridge for maritime traffic during rush hour or extending curfew hours. However, listen to the marine...
June Events 2021: Father’s Day and More Summer Fun in Fort Lauderdale
Events June Events 2021: Father’s Day and More Summer Fun in Fort Lauderdale
Summer in Fort Lauderdale is the best time for a beach swim, day on the boat, brunch with friends, and to beat the summer heat. With over 20 June events in Fort Lauderdale to choose from, our curated list offers the best variety of things to do this month. Choose from a musical comedy, a scavenger hunt, concerts, a food and spirits festival on the beach, a dance showcase, tons of summer camps, and virtual programs you can enjoy right at home in the A/C! Also, since Father’s Day is June 20th, we’ve provided a list of things to do to honor Dad. Read on for some of the best picks for Father’s Day celebrations and events to make summer fun in Fort Lauderdale: Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale - June Events at a Glance Father’s Day 2021 Celebrations in Fort Lauderdale June 2021: Fort Lauderdale In-person Events Bonnet House Museum & Gardens Family Summer Specials: June 1 to September 5 Erotica - Exhibit: June 1 to July 2 Paranormal Boot Camp: June 4 Mel Schwartz Sleeps With Mae West...