buying a home virtually

Buying a House Remotely: Your Step-By-Step Guide

The Real Estate Industry is an essential part of our Canadian economy, and despite the roadblock due to recent social distancing, both buyers and sellers are still eager to continue the process remotely.

 

Luckily, buying a house remotely is easier today than ever before because of helpful technology like video tours, electronic signatures, and listing portals.

Why Buy a House Remotely?

Currently, real estate sales are being done remotely due to the state of emergency, but there are other situations that require a virtual sales process:

  1. Purchasing a second home or vacation home. They are typically in another city or country, which makes it more difficult to be there in person for every step of the sale.
  2. Parents purchasing a home for their child. Parents sometimes buy homes for their children that live in another city or country. In these cases, the parents will buy the house, handle the paperwork, and close remotely.
  3. Real estate investors. Many real estate investors follow the 1% rule. It states that monthly rent earned on a property should exceed that property’s monthly mortgage payment, which allows them to (at least) break even.

No matter the reason you’re buying a house remotely, these are the steps you should follow to ensure a smooth sale.

Your Step-by Step Guide to Buying a House Remotely

From pre-approval to signing the offer, you’ll be in your new home before you know it with these steps.

1. Find the right Real Estate Agent

You’re going to be depending on your real estate agent for expert advice during the home buying process, so take your time and find the right fit. There are three main factors you should consider when you make your decision:

Experience

When speaking to a potential agent, ask them how often they’ve used a remote sales process. Experience plays a significant role as they should understand how the process works, which tools to use, and the timeline you can expect.

Availability

Make sure your Real Estate Agent has the time in their day and the space on their client roster gives you the attention you deserve. Having them available during regular business hours is extremely helpful, especially when it comes to home inspections and private viewings.

Tools and Resources

In order to be able to buy a house remotely, your Real Estate Agent needs to have the proper tools and technology in place. For example, to serve you during this time of social distancing, our easy Home Realty team has a remote system in place:

  1. All of our listings include a full online 360 tour, so you may continue enjoying browsing properties from the comfort of your home
  2. Electronic signatures support
  3. Online move-in support platform
  4. Private property web portals for buyers
  5. Online and video conferencing platform for additional support and communication

2. Apply for Mortgage Pre-Approval

Once you’ve found your agent, it’s time to talk to your bank (or mortgage broker.) Getting your mortgage pre-approval is a very important step, whether you’re buying a house remotely or in-person.

  • While you cannot have a face-to-face meeting, banks and mortgages brokers will set up a remote meeting with you to discuss your financial situation including your savings, assets, investments, debts, and your income.
  • The bank or mortgage broker will advise you on what paperwork is required in order to fill our your mortgage pre-approval application.
  • Documents like your most recent pay stub, your T4 from the previous year, and a copy of your ideal listing will be required.
  • You can submit them over email or they may instruct you to use their own secure document sharing tool.

Once you have your mortgage pre-approval, congratulations! You can now move on to the fun part – creating your wish list.

3. Create Your Wish List

Your mortgage pre-approval will dictate the high-end of your potential house budget, and you can use that a realistic guide for your wish list. Items to consider about your new home:

  • Location (Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge?)
  • Property size
  • Style of home (i.e. back-split vs two-story)
  • Number of bedrooms (is your family growing?)
  • Number of bathrooms (do you want an ensuite?)
  • Appliances
  • Finished basement
  • Pool or hot tub
  • Garage, sheds, and parking
  • Schools, parks, and transportation access
  • Amenities
  • Distance from work
  • Move-in ready (vs a handy-man special)

Don’t hold back on your wish list. Once you’re finished, email it to your real estate agent and it will give them an idea of your perfect listing.

Deal breakers are important to note too, so tell your agent early on what these are so they can make the best use of your time and theirs. (For example, if you must have a two-car garage or if you must have easy access to the 401 for commuting.)

4. Set Up Listing Notifications

Now that you know the price range and ideal features of your new home, it’s time to start hunting! Your Real Estate Agent will flag great opportunities to you, but they can also set up listing alerts so you get them emailed directly to you as soon as they’ve available.

5. Share Your Top Picks

Look at many listings to make sure you see a wide variety of inventory, styles, and prices. It’s important to do your research during this stage in the process.

When you find a top pick, send it to your real estate agent. They will be able to request the listing details and potentially arrange a virtual tour of the property, if available. (All easy Home Realty listings come with a full online 360 tour.)

Additional listing details typically include important bidding information like closing dates, deposits (if any), exclusions, age of appliances, age of roof, and any conditions.

This information will help you decide if you’d like to make a bid on the listing or if you should keep looking.

6. Make an Offer

If you’ve decided you’d like to make an offer, discuss your bidding strategy with your real estate agent. Their past experience and market knowledge will help you make a confident decision.

Your Real Estate Agent will handle the bidding process for you, keeping you up-to-date through email, text, or a phone call. If you’re bid is accepted, congratulations! You’ll be emailed a sales agreement to e-sign right away.

If there are any deposits, you’ll also have to make them right away through your online banking account.

7. Close Remotely

If your offer is accepted, congratulations! You’ll be emailed a sales agreement to esign right away. With the ESIGN Act of 2000, your electronic signature holds just as much validity as a document signed in person.

If there are any deposits, you’ll also have to make them right away through your online banking account. Your real estate agent will guide you through your closing paperwork and fees, until you have the key to your new house in your hand.

The Bottom Line When Buying a House Remotely?

In many ways, this process is the same as purchasing a home in person, but you will require more support and resources from your real estate agent.

Remember, finding the right agent is one of the most essential steps in buying a home.

If you have questions about how to buy a house remotely, get in touch with us today. The Easy Home Realty Team has always been tech-savvy, using digital tools to improve the buying and selling process. We can help you with your home buying journey without leaving the comfort of your home.

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There are many qualities and skills that go into being an excellent real estate professional – integrity, in-depth community and market knowledge, marketing savvy, effective negotiation skills and a high-quality professional network, all of which are hallmarks of how we work. That said, in our experience, we’ve also found that providing the very best service is simply about putting our clients first. This means keeping ourselves accessible, being good listeners as well as good communicators, and responding quickly to your needs.

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