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A guide to virtual home buying

It’s been about a month since Georgia has reopened. But with the risk of local transmission still considerably high, everyone not involved in essential work is encouraged to remain at home.

So, what about your home buying experience that was halted by the coronavirus pandemic? Is it safe to go outside and look for homes, or is it better to wait until everything is clear?

With restrictions easing, you can resume your home buying experience. You might have to tweak it a little, though. Instead of the traditional route, consider going the remote way. We’re talking about virtual or remote home buying. Here’s how you can find and buy your dream home without ever stepping outside.

  1. Find the right real estate agent

    These days, the right real estate agent isn’t just someone who understands your unique needs and preferences. You’ll need to find somebody with the right set of tools and methods to guide you through the remote home buying process.

    Communication is also key. Your real estate agent will do most of the ground work, if there is any. Whether by text messaging or video call, both of you should be able to keep in touch constantly.

    As you look for a real estate agent, focus on the ones that have some experience on remote home buying. You’re new to this experience, so find a realtor who can assist you accordingly.

  2. Hire a mortgage broker

    With the coronavirus pandemic, applying for a mortgage loan just got extra challenging. Some lenders have raised their credit score requirements. Meanwhile, others have opted to ask for higher down payments.

    For your remote home buying experience, consider hiring a mortgage broker to help you out with your loan application. Just like a real estate agent, a mortgage broker serves a middleman. They will be your bridge to a whole array of lenders.

    With a mortgage broker, you’ll be able to carefully explore your options and even apply for a loan that fits your financial capabilities and needs perfectly.

  3. Go on virtual tours

    Sellers are also adapting to the times. In order to show their homes to prospective buyers without risking anyone’s safety, they’re expanding their digital marketing strategies.

    As you browse online listings, look for ones that offer virtual tours. This will allow you to view homes you like. Ultimately, you’ll be able to decide if the property is worth an actual visit, which is something you can arrange with the seller and their agent.

    But what if a home you fell in love with doesn’t have a virtual tour feature? You can still get in touch with the seller and their agent. Maybe all parties can arrange for a video call that will walk you through the property.

  4. Make use of the due diligence period

    Once you sign the purchase contract, you and the seller enter the so-called due diligence period. In Georgia, this usually lasts 10 to 14 days, although extensions can be arranged if needed.

    Make good use of this time. Go through all of the paperwork to check if the property is clean. You can also use this time to have the house appraised by a property appraiser, and then inspected by a home inspector. If there are any repairs that need to be made, negotiate with the seller on who shoulders the cost. Another thing you can do during the due diligence period is to visit the property again for a final walkthrough.

    Since the seller will take the house off the market while it remains under contract, you’ll have to pay the due diligence fee. This can cost anywhere between $500 or $2,000 and is non-refundable. You’ll also have to make an earnest money deposit, just like in usual home buying processes.

    If you change your mind about the sale, you can terminate the contract during this window and get back your earnest money deposit.

  5. Do an e-closing

    If you decide to push through with the sale, there’s no need to meet the seller and their agent in person. Thanks to the E-Sign Act of 2000, your electronic signature is perfectly acceptable for documents.

    Make sure to sign everything you need to sign and transfer all of the relevant documents to the right person to avoid constant back-and-forths. Once everything is deemed satisfactory, the funds will be wired to the seller and you just bought a house.

Ready to start your virtual home buying experience?

Browse our website to start looking at homes for sale in North Atlanta communities such as Roswell, GA and Brookhaven, GA. You can also call us at 770.579.5650 or send us an email at info(at)pagemorgan(dotted)com.