WHY VIRTUAL TOURS Are More Important Than Ever in Nova Scotia Real Estate.
Effective May 8th, the Nova Scotia Government has mandated a province-wide lockdown until the end of May. These restrictions put in place to combat this 3rd wave of COVID 19 are having stronger implications on home buyers and sellers this time around.
Essential Business ONLY
The main restriction affecting buyers, sellers, and industry members, is not being allowed to travel outside their municipality unless it is essential. Essential being for work, medical appointments, or, in regards to real estate, if you need to purchase due to the potential of being homeless or owning two properties.
Buying a Property Virtually
Whether looking at a property from another area of Nova Scotia or another province, purchasing a Nova Scotia property is still possible. Virtual tours and viewings have become more important than ever in real estate as REALTORs® are still able to do virtual viewings if they are within their community.
A virtual tour is different from a video tour in that the REALTOR®, will be focusing and giving your details about aspects of a property that you as a buyer are specifically interested in.
REALTORS® can tour the property with you so you can view the property in real-time with them by using video conferencing apps such as Zoom, Facetime, or Google
Boots on the Ground
With many Nova Scotia properties being bought this past year sight unseen by buyers from out of province, there have been some stories of disappointment in the property or location of the property purchased.
It is essential to communicate features and issues of importance to your REALTOR® when they are being your eyes and ears on the ground in Nova Scotia. It is a lot more responsibility and liability for the REALTOR®. If the Buyer has a relative or contact already in Nova Scotia, then having them attend the virtual tours as well, would give an in-person account of the property on their behalf.
Things to Ask for in a Virtual Tour
Get to Know the Community
Many REALTORS® will have cornerstone content on their web pages of various communities and what they have to offer. You are not just buying a property you are moving into a community. What are the schools like? How far are the schools? What are the roads like in the winter? Where are the closest medical facilities? Shopping? What are property values like in the area? Are they increasing? Are there any planned developments nearby? What do the locals do for employment?
Get to Know Your Neighbours
Ask your REALTOR® to do a 360-degree view of the roadside and the backyard. This will give you an idea of privacy, sightlines, and the values of the local homes. Online photos can be very deceiving as far as the distance of the house to the road and they often lack enough photos of the yard and outbuildings.
Initially, your REALTOR® should do a walk-through, starting at the front door, to give you a sense of flow and orient yourself as far as layout. Try to get a sense of how your family would use the property. Is your family used to an open layout or do you need an office space that is away from the main living areas?
Then have your REALTOR walk through a second time, so you can look closer at the conditions of the floors, fixtures, appliances, closets, etc. You can also get them to open a few windows, and turn on some taps to check for leaks, and they are in working order. If there is the basement, have them check for signs of dampness, mildew as well as the ages or maintenance tags on mechanical systems.
This virtual tour should not be a replacement for a professional home inspection. The REALTORS® viewing would be to help you decide if you want to go ahead make an offer on the property and at what price to offer. Once you get an accepted offer then you would go ahead and work through the conditions you put in the offer such as financing and home inspection.
The house inspector has the qualifications to determine what is in working order, what may need repair immediately or down the road. The report from a house inspector would carry more weight as well if you were going to ask for a price adjustment for any issues that may arise.
Keep in mind, everything is fixable, it just boils down to price.
Pre-closing walk through
As with the house inspection your RELATOR® would be your eyes and ears, your representative at any inspections you may want to be done at the property. For the prclosing inspection, Your realtors will take you on a final walk-through to make sure that the property is as was when you made your offer and all the inclusions asked for in the offer still with the property. Then you notify your lawyer to release the funds and your REALTOR® or lawyer will arrange to get you the keys!
If you aren’t able to come to Nova Scotia or move in right away, there are property management companies that the REALTOR® can help you arrange to look after the property. Other options being exercised in these unique times are that the Sellers end up renting back from the new home-owners until they can take full possession or the homeowners have the local management company find a short-term renter.