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In-Person vs. Virtual Home Tour: What’s the Difference?

Last updated on August 2nd, 2022 at 01:40 pm

Buying a home can be an exciting process, especially if you love to look behind the front door at the finishes, architecture, and staging of a house. Many buyers start their search online, clicking through photos and reviewing the dimensions of places they like. However, the surefire way to know whether a home is right for you is to go on a tour.  Virtual tours are not a new concept, and they have certainly upped their game over the past few years. That said, there is something special and beneficial about being in-person and walking through the space yourself. Let’s break down the differences between in-person and virtual home tours.

The Versatility of Virtual Tours

With the help of software and a recording device, virtual tours can be offered in a few different ways. The first comes in the form of a 3D click-through experience, where photos of the property are stitched together to offer a 360-degree view of each room, showing close-up details. Another option is a video tour, where realtors will take a camera through the space and record a voiceover highlighting key aspects. The final option involves a video call with an agent where buyers can see the home and ask questions in real time. 

The Benefits

The above options give homebuyers a chance to experience the house more fully than just clicking through an album of photos. It gives you the chance to look at the space with a more critical eye, and you can narrow down your choices without having to even leave the house. Not only that, but a virtual tour is almost always available at a convenient time for you.

The Drawbacks

Some videos are more well-produced than others, with lesser quality ones leaving much to the imagination. In fact, you might have more questions than answers and need to wait for a response from an agent. While a virtual tour can provide more insight than static photos, they are good for buyers who might be interested but can miss the full picture.

The Reliability of in-Person Tours

Many buyers literally want to see themselves in a home before they purchase it, and an in-person tour allows them to do so. These can be guided by the listing or buyer’s agent, or you can choose to explore the property yourself. Afterwards, feel free to come back with questions regarding details and specifics, which should receive prompt answers.

The Benefits

You can be tactile in an in-person tour, which is important to many people who want to see if a home will work for their family. You will hear the sounds and inhale the smells, even check the water pressure, knock on the walls, and flip open the cupboards to check out the space. You can also get a feel of the neighbours with a quick peek over the fence. These are often experiences that lend to a sense of place and atmosphere, helping potential homebuyers make a more informed choice when it comes to deciding on a house.

The Challenges

You and the realtor will have to meet at a time that works for both of your schedules, which can be difficult if you work full-time or have to travel a significant distance. Some sellers are uncomfortable about having people in their homes, and might not be open to an in-person tour. Even so, some buyers are content to buy without seeing homes in person and could purchase the space before you’ve even had the chance to see it. Tours are meant to help buyers decide on purchasing a home or ruling it out and moving on to the next. Every time we list at Geoff & Bobbie McGowan Realty, we include a 3D virtual tour for prospective buyers. It opens the door to let them see the house more interactively and, of course, we’re happy to provide in-person tours as well. If you are looking to buy or sell in the Ottawa area, we’re your ideal realty team! Contact us at Steve and Jenn to learn more!  By Jenn Chamberlain