We’re all about meeting our clients in-person, but it’s not always an option, and flexibility is essential. If you’re on deployment, moving across the country, or unable to meet in person your loan journey doesn’t have to be put on hold. That’s right, technology is changing industry standards and making it easier than ever for home buyers to complete the process virtually. To help you learn more about the virtual home buying process, here’s a closer look at how it works.
How buying a home virtually works
Buying a home virtually isn’t all that different from buying a home in-person. You’ll still tour houses, sign a purchase agreement, get an inspection, and close on your new home — you’ll just do it all remotely using digital technologies like video chat and document signing software.
Virtual home buying allows you to fit your home purchase in around your schedule. For example, instead of taking time out of your busy day to tour homes, you can view virtual home tours on your phone when it’s convenient for you. You’ll even be able to close on your home online, which is a big help if you’re purchasing a home in another state.
Sounds interesting? Below learn more about the most popular technology being used for real estate transactions.
Virtual home tours
If you can’t view properties in-person, virtual home tours are the next best thing. Similar to Google Street View, they allow you to navigate through a home by clicking on arrows that guide you into the areas you want to see. With a 360-degree view, they can give a far better sense of a home’s space than photos alone.
Live stream open houses
If you can’t physically attend an open house, you don’t have to miss out on the experience. Real estate agents have started live streaming open houses on platforms like Facebook Live and Zoom. Buyers can tune in at any time during the open house and ask their questions using the live chat feature.
Digital home closings
Instead of meeting the sellers in-person to sign all of the closing documents, digital home closings (e-closings) allow you to complete your real estate transaction remotely. Since many closing documents need to be notarized, you’ll usually video chat with a notary while you sign the paperwork.
DocuSign is a type of document signing software that’s often used in digital home closings. It allows you to sign real estate documents — like purchase agreements and closing disclosures — electronically. Your real estate agent will email you a secure link to a portal where you can sign any required documents. All you’ll need to do is open it, type your name in the open spaces, and click finish. Super simple!
Face-to-face interaction is also not required for an appraisal. Instead of going inside each home, appraisers are now allowed to conduct “drive-by appraisals.” With a drive-by appraisal, the appraiser surveys the neighborhood and exterior of the property from a public roadway. They can also perform desktop appraisals, which involve looking at public records, comparable home sales, photos of the property, and other online data to determine the home’s value.
Video home inspections
Lastly, many buyers like to attend the home inspection so they can ask questions and see potential problems firsthand. However, that may not be possible. To ensure that buyers still get the information they need, home inspectors can share photos and videos of their findings, as well as detailed written reports.
Many of the new technologies that we’ve adopted, such as digital home closings, actually make buying a house easier. And with interest rates at record lows, you could save thousands by locking in your mortgage rate now instead of waiting until you can be present in person. If you have questions about the virtual home buying process or want to know what mortgage rates you qualify for, give us a call here at OVM or start your online application today.