Virtual house tours – 7 features to consider
Author: Cameron Hagan – Clarendon Homes
Digital virtual house tours have become a huge part of the research phase for new homes, especially since normal social interactions seem like a distant memory due to COVID-19. Virtual tours are a great and effective way of viewing a new home for anyone, and they are especially useful for those who cannot physically attend viewings due to factors out of their control; such as illness, self-isolating, distance or mobility issues.
Virtual tours can offer valuable insights into new homes, and with technological advances showing that augmented reality is likely to play a big part in the future of house viewings, this article will go over some features in particular to keep an eye out for online. Some of these may seem obvious to you, but I guarantee there will be points which you have not considered before, which you will always keep in mind after reading today.
The first aspect of a house we all look out for when on a virtual house tour is the space available in the home. The last thing you want to do is move into a new home only to discover there is not enough room for what you need.
Are the bedrooms big enough? Is there space in the lounge for a TV? Is there enough room in the office for my desk setup? This is all hard enough to gauge in real life, let alone on a screen, so to keep it in mind is important when assessing if the house you are viewing is the new home for you. Furthermore, quite often you will be viewing ‘show homes’ which are dressed up with furniture which you might not necessarily have in your home, so ensure to be mindful of this to get a better idea of the true space available in the house.
At Clarendon Homes we use smooth Matterport technology, which allows you to view every inch of the property, enabling you to see each room from different angles to help you assess the space available to you in your potential future home.
2. Is The Home Appropriate For Your Needs?
People move houses for a variety of reasons. Whether you are starting a new family, planning to retire, moving for work, or simply looking for a new start, your new home needs to cater for your specific needs. For example, observe how spacious it is if you have mobility issues, or check if it will be able to be child-proofed if you have a kid on the way.
The key here is to not only consider your immediate situation, but to consider the long-term plan too. After all, buying a new home is no short-term fix, it is a huge long-term investment, so keep your future needs in mind too when viewing a house online.
Our staff at Clarendon Homes will always be open to having discussions with you on what you want out of your new home, to better guide you to your dream home. Additionally, you can send your family and friends a link to the tour of the property you are looking at if you want to get their opinion on if it is the right home for you.
3. Home Security Systems
The top priorities of any home are to put a roof over your head and keep you safe. The former is always a given, but the importance of the latter cannot be understated, especially for the more vulnerable.
Things to look out for include but are not exclusive to:
- A door chain lock.
- If the windows have locks.
- If an alarm system is in place (if not, how feasible is putting one in place).
- Local crime rates.
I’m not saying you need to be surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge and security guards (although that would be nice), but just keep security in consideration when viewing online, after all, your safety should be your top priority in a new home.
At Clarendon Homes, your safety and welfare are our top priorities. At our properties, we include a variety of security features, such as multi-point locks on doors and outside security PIR lights.
Cameras can be deceiving on virtual house tours. After viewing, make sure to follow up by finding out the specifications of the room so it is not bigger or smaller than you were led to believe. A great way to do this is to look for floor plans which contain the dimensions of the rooms, which you can use to compare against what you would ideally want in each room. An example of how this could be useful is for seeing what size bed you could fit in the bedroom – if you and your partner love a King size bed but there is only room for a double, you might need a slightly bigger room to suit your needs.
On the Clarendon Homes website, for each development you can download a brochure which will include floor plans for each room, providing you with the specifications and dimensions you need for assessing the sizes of our homes.
When viewing a house online, keep in mind that photographers will often use their own lighting to spruce up the pictures, so keep an eye on what lights are on the ceiling and where natural light would come in from – e.g. windows, doors, and skylights.
As well as the interior of the house, consider how much sunlight the garden would get. If you plan on sunbathing or growing vegetables but there is a huge tree next to your house which casts a shadow over your entire garden, this is probably something you can spot online which you would want to know before progressing any further.
The virtual house tours at Clarendon Homes use a mixture of natural and professional lighting to give the property a professionally flattering yet realistic finish.
Ah the garden. A place where you can have BBQ’s, play football, sunbathe, grow vegetables, have dinner parties… the list goes on. Yet this wonderful area of the property is often criminally overlooked, especially when buyers are looking in winter.
So, this is my reminder to you – do not forget about the garden! When looking online it is easy to stay in the interior of the house, but a lot of websites will provide footage of the garden too so you must keep this in mind. Furthermore, thinking about what you want to get out of this garden is equally important. For example, if you want to grow vegetables or build a greenhouse it is important to consider how much sunlight is going to hit the garden by looking at the surrounding fences. Or, if you have a child who loves football, maybe consider where the ball is going to end up when they (or you) inevitably boot it over the fence!
At Clarendon Homes, our Matterport tours also include the gardens for you to explore, to ensure you do not miss out on viewing this important element of the property.
The unfortunate reality with virtual house tours is that not everything is able to be observed on a screen. The personality of the house also encompasses tangible and intangible features which aren’t discoverable from a virtual house tour, which you may need to either phone us about or experience first-hand at a physical viewing, provided you liked what you see online. Examples of these features include the senses (noise, views, smells), broadband availability, heating (draughts, central heating, double glazing), and the neighbourhood.
For when you want to take your digital search into the real world to discover the true personality of a house, Clarendon Homes provide physical viewings which adhere to the current government guidelines to keep viewers and staff safe at all times.
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