Or via Facetime or a Google Hangout?
On one hand, to buy a house via Skype would be very convenient, especially if you’re out of town.
On the other hand it could be nerve-wracking
- “What if I what I thought was a beige wall turns out to be a bright orange wall paper?”
- “What if I don’t like it when I see it in person?”
- “What if there is something seriously wrong with it and I didn’t see it?”
Well, I’m sure that these were a few of the concerns that Tita and Tony had when they were looking for a home via Skype.
How Tita and Tony started the process to buy a house
It all started sometime in the winter months, when they were planning a visit to the Washington DC area.
They knew that they were getting transferred here, so they had downloaded The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA, and then they contacted us for an in-person meeting at our office.
At the meeting, we got acquainted (I’m sure they wanted to see that we were real people), we briefly explained the buying process, and we spent a good while talking about their plans and their needs for moving to the DC area.
They were moving the upcoming Summer
What we learned through our conversation was that they were planning on relocating here sometime in the Summer, and they wanted their two kids to go to a good school.
Once our meeting was over (when they had all the answers to their thorough questions), they took the rest of the weekend to tour Northern Virginia and to see what areas they were attracted to.
A few months later they had chosen a school boundary
We stayed in touch, and a few months later, they had decided which school boundary met their needs for school, commute, and budget. Plus, they really liked the feel of the neighborhoods in that boundary.
That’s when we discussed a plan for their home purchase
The problem was that by that time, they were tight on time for finding the right home and moving into it before the school year started.
And not only that, but they were living in a different Country with no specific plans to come for a house-hunting trip anytime soon (travel is expensive!).
So we agreed to do as much as we could remotely
The first step was to thoroughly research the available homes for sale (online, of course), and then select a few to visit.
Once we had our short list of homes, we set an appointment for us to “get together” over the weekend (via Skype) to visit those homes.
On the selected Saturday, we “met” at the designated time
I was armed with my smart phone, Skype loaded on it, a backup battery, and my car charger.
They were all (Tita, Tony, and the kids) patiently sitting at their computer following my every move, and asking questions about what they could see (“What’s that in the corner?”), as well as what they couldn’t (“What can you see from the back window?”).
It was like giving a tour
I felt like I was a tour guide, describing important features of the home (is that a renovated kitchen?), the materials covering the surfaces (is it carpet? how new is it? what’s the color?), and even showing them what the neighborhood looked like from the front of the home.
After visiting about 7 homes, we took a break and agreed to re-convene later that evening to discuss our impressions of each of the homes.
At the end of the tour, we ranked the homes
When we talked again that evening, we ranked the homes based on their needs, and we talked about the pros and cons of each.
By the end of the day, Tita and Tony had made a decision to make an offer to buy a house (I think it was #3 of the 6 or 7 that we saw that same day).
But now the issue was to help them get through the offer period while they were in a different Country, and to minimize their concerns about having chosen a home without seeing it “in person”.
How to minimize the concerns about choosing a home via Skype
So, how did Tita and Tony minimize their concerns about choosing a home via Skype? Don’t miss the next article* and find out how they were able to follow through with the buying process by doing most of it remotely (via Skype).
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photo by garaolaza on flickr