Prior to Covid-19, 80% of buyers started their home buying search online. Now that we are working through this current pandemic, it is basically required in most places to start your search online and us Realtors have been working hard to adapt. Though for Lake Tahoe real estate, we are used to utilizing virtual resources as so many of our buyers are from out of the area and buy sight unseen. If you are looking at homes for sale in Lake Tahoe to buy, these are some great ways to make the most of your online search so you know what to look for to ensure you are getting the most information before scheduling an onsite tour.
Learn how to read a listing online. One of the things about starting online is professional photographers can keep the lens off something that is considered undesirable. As a seasoned Lake Tahoe real estate professional, I find that it is in the best interest of both the seller and the buyer to divulge as much listing information as possible. This prevents things from falling apart later on down the road. However, some homes have details and features that are not generally favored, like not enough natural light, a weird location, unpractical layout, etc. Looking through the listing details can shed light on a few things. For example: if the Lake Tahoe real estate in question has more exterior photos and not enough interior, it could mean the home needs some extra TLC. If the photos look a little distorted, it could be because the listing agent was trying to make a room look bigger than it is. Closed window treatments usually mean a bad view or showing just how close the neighbor’s home is. If your Lake Tahoe realtor has been in the business long enough, they may have already toured this home and can provide additional information.
If you have viewed a Lake Tahoe real estate listing and are ready to take the next step, which is a virtual tour, know what to ask your realtor and how to make the most of it. With so many quickly adapting to go virtual and take advantage of the latest technology, if you know what to ask and look for, you can get a lot of info out of going virtual before you visit in person. Your Lake Tahoe Realtor can do a FaceTime walk through and show off any blind sports, open up storage spaces, walk you around the exterior and show off anything that was left on the editing room floor by the photographer or videographer. Regardless, don’t be afraid to ask to see the little details.
If homes for sale in Lake Tahoe make it past the last two steps, ask your Lake Tahoe realtor to see the seller disclosures. This should (key word here) detail any issues or problems that could be uncovered in the inspection report later on. So perhaps the roof needs to be replaced, or the HVAC system, the foundation, electrical, etc. Knowing potential problems ahead of time can help you not only gauge how much money you could potentially need to spend later on, but also help you determine what type of offer you are going to make.
Once you and your Lake Tahoe realtor decide it is time for an in person visit, take the appropriate precautions for both yourself, your realtor and the sellers that are graciously opening their home during a time that we are still being urged to practice social distancing and staying in as much as possible. I make sure no one on either side has been sick before anything gets scheduled. Once that has been cleared up, I ask that the seller set up their home to minimize the touching of surfaces: keeping lights on, opening windows and window treatments, opening doors, drawers and storage spaces so buyers can see how much storage space is available. Make sure booties, masks, gloves and hand sanitizer will be available and throw them away once you have left the property. One thing to note though is that some sellers may not be ok with your touring a property at this point. As a buyer, you may have to accept that you will have to rely on your realtors’ word, the inspector’s word and all the virtual tours. In fact, you may only be able to see a home at the final walk through. If it is important that you are physically able to see a home before making an offer, ask your realtor how things are working in the area and what your options are if a seller is making it hard to see the home in person.
Check out the neighborhood. Your realtor in Lake Tahoe should know the pros and cons of every neighborhood, so they should be able to give you the information you need. However, you can drive around during various parts of the day and use tools like Google Earth, maps, yelp and more to get an idea of what the neighborhood has to offer.
For more information on how home buying has changed or what to look for, feel free to reach out. I would be happy to help you navigate this process.