Is a VIRTUAL TOUR able to replace reality in this Q&A?
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·6 min read

In today’s society, things have changed drastically and the world is adapting on virtual platforms as we speak. My curiosity lies in the ability of virtual plan of actions to be able to answer all the questions from real life situations and if there are any chances for virtuality to take over the reality.

Years ago no one would have seen a virtual tour able to take over for the physical experience, and I would agree to that until I see it done with all the technology available today. Despite of the situation, let’s see what a virtual tour can and cannot answer.

  •   The first important thing that you are probably the most curious about is the neighborhood. What does it look like, and how does it feel. Seeing it virtually gives you the first idea, being shown in person it gives a better understanding of the property. Either way you choose you still have to do further investigations of the neighborhood, like:
  • The crime rate;
  • Commercial areas (if there are any), restaurants, juice bars, libraries, recreational parks, offices etc.
  • What schools are around;
  • Are there highways and any new projects coming up;
  • Is there public transportation available;
  • Your daily commute to work/school, how long is traffic on a daily basis.
  • The nationality of your neighbors;
  • Where most of them work and what they do for a living;
  • Other problems that the area might have (flood zones, sewer problems etc.)

Those are specific things you would want to know and you cannot rely on either in person visit or the virtual tour. You need an expert in the field who knows the area well and who will provide all that information to you.

  •  The second important thing that you want to consider is how the property actually looks and sounds like.
  • Entering the place and having that first feeling.
  • If it’s a single family home you want to see the maintenance of the landscape, the pool and other outdoor areas.
  • Trying the locks and opening all the doors including the garage door (if there is one).
  • We’ll even try the dish washer, the washer and dryer, checking all the appliances. When we visit in person we do that type of inspection, where we want to make sure everything works smoothly and all the features look good and work at their best. Virtually we can definitely do that by showing it, and it won’t be a big difference in the communication and feeling of the property, (it's virtually for you, but someone still has to actually be at the property and show you all the above and guide you through).
  • We also like to look and pay attention to any noise from the inside-out, having the camera on, is nearly impossible for those specific details not to be heard or seen.

Having an expert on your side, is so much easier, because they have an eye for details and know exactly what to look for in a property. A good professional will always tell you the good and the bad. He/she should never tell you just the good, if that's the case, RUN!

  •  The next question is about the finishes and if the property actually looks like in its pictures. Virtually you can see a lot of great pictures and videos but in reality it still looks and feels different. Having the expert at the location (if it's someone you can truly trust) they will tell you the truth and how everything really is. There is no absolute reason to sugar-coat a salty cookie in my opinion, sooner or later you'll find out how salty it is and it will not come out pretty.

You might not be able to see the property in person but on a live camera, things will be a lot different than in everything you might have seen on the internet sources. Some fixtures might in fact look better in real life than the pictures, so it is always a surprise of what you are about to see. The actual agent will tell you that and will make those details noticeable to you.

  •   Next, you would want to know if the rooms are as spacious as they seem to be in pictured. It’s time to find out. Usually when a room is furnished right, looks very spacious, if it's too cluttered it will look, seem and feel very small. An empty room looks overwhelming and confusing but with the right guidance you can decorate it as you wish. There is no better option than a white canvas in my opinion, where you get to be innovative and spread your ideas around. The space itself is a subjective approach, because we all see it and imagine it differently. What it might be claustrophobic for me, it might look and be ultra spacious for you. In a virtual tour, 10 feet ceiling versus 8 feet ceiling it is a noticeable difference where in photos is not a considerable observation. The agent showing it, can definitely measure the heights by standing next to any feature of the property and you get to envision the reality.
  • Another question I find very intriguing is the view from the property. In some pictures you would see basic information about the windows and the view. Most of the properties have a different reality over what views they can offer, how they promote them and what the reality in fact shows. At times in pictures you would only see curtains and you might wonder what is behind them. Virtual or not, you get that feeling and plenty of these questions answered right away. In any picture you will see, remember that the most gorgeous features will be pointed out and shown, most flaws will be left for the naked eye to discover and wonder.
  •  Some aspects can definitely make things worse and that has to do with the smell in the area and the property in general. Does it have a strong odor that might be repelling? You can definitely experience that in person only. But again as I said above, a good agent that you believe in, will tell you if that’s something you should be worrying about.
  •  There might be other aspects you’re wondering about and those are the size of the bathrooms for example. Are those big enough for the whole family? Same as we could measure the sizes of the rooms, we can see the difference in person as well as virtually. As simple as it sounds, the bathrooms can be a deal breaker or a deal maker in certain circumstances.
  •  Lastly, we always want to know is the interior is straightforward accessible at ease. Here we have to look at the floor plan and at the actual rooms, feeling the flow from one room to another.

After taking a close up approach on what questions come up when touring a property, I realize that virtual intelligence has a big chance to overtake some areas and fail in others.

Do I think that virtuality will take over reality? That's a double sworded question. Yes, we evolve and use virtual tours when a presence cannot occur for any reason, but there are certain feelings about a property that you can only experience while you are there. As good as an agent might be, it will be hard to translate the exact same tenderness, though it can be possible with such a developed technology. What I think and feel about a property might be the opposite of what you will think and feel according to your needs and past experiences.

It is definitely a moving forward approach, but I believe we will always interact and prefer to see the property in person while we can, if we can.

I totally support the virtuality but I encourage the reality.

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