As our new normal shifts to the online space, the real estate industry has quickly adapted to the changes in needs to help their customers buy and sell in a time of fast shifting restrictions.
Digital tools have been picked up by agents across the industry to create a better selling experience, and, as a result, things such as online auctions, virtual inspections, online auctions and yes, virtual appraisals have become commonplace.
Obtaining an appraisal (and preparing for one) is an essential part of selling your home. Whilst much of the preparation for a virtual appraisal is the same as for a normal real estate appraisal (RELATED: What are the steps in a home appraisal process?) here are some nuances and extra things to think about before you jump on that video call with an agent.
What is a virtual appraisal?
In simple terms, a virtual property appraisal is a video call between you and your agent, where you simply take the agent on a walkthrough of your property - much like if they were physically in your home! Your agent will then assess your property, taking into consideration factors that could increase its value, before providing you with an appraisal report. This will contain an objective valuation of your home value, and the price it could potentially fetch on the market.
Why should I get a virtual appraisal?
Before beginning your home selling journey, it is crucial to get a property appraisal as this can inform your selling strategy. It is the first step to truly understanding what your prized asset is worth, and what it could sell for in the current market conditions.
How can I get ready for a virtual appraisal?
- For the best experience, we recommend that you have a stable Wi-Fi or internet connection, as well as a mobile phone with a working camera. Advise your agent of your preferred application to use (e.g. FaceTime, WhatsApp, or Skype), and have it all downloaded and set up.
- Your agent will call you at your nominated time, and you will then take them on a walk through your property. The process is simple, and in many ways just like a video call with a friend!
- During the walk through, provide details of your property. Your agent will also ask you questions which will help them assess the value of your home.
- Be sure to point out any features or renovations that you think are value adds
- After your appointment, your agent will then send your appraisal report to you.
Our top tips to a successful virtual appraisal
Plan the way you will walk around the house before you have the appraisal__
Before you have your virtual appraisal, walk through your house a few times to plan out the most logical path to follow when showing your agent. Start from the street (or front door if an apartment) and walk them through your property in a way that flows most naturally. It can become disorientating following the layout of the house via video, so it is a good idea to try not to turn back on yourself where possible. If you have a floorplan of your property from a previous sale, you can even share that with the agent ahead of time to help them with the overall layout.
Find good vantage points for the key spaces in your house that frame the entire space
Whilst you are planning your walk through, it is also important to try and find good vantage points for each of the main spaces in your property. What you are looking for is a spot that gives a good indication of the entire space, perhaps a spot where a photo of the space might be taken. This helps to demonstrate the scale of the room and give the agent an idea of how they can market your property.
Locations to think about: Street view, living area/s, kitchen, bathroom/s, main bedroom, backyard.
Point out any recent improvements
When preparing for a virtual appraisal there are three lists that we recommend you to make (these are also useful when having an in-person appraisal). The first of these is a list of any recent home improvements you have made. This could be something big like an extension or an updated kitchen, or smaller things like new gutters, carpets or updated paint. These are not only useful in helping to determine the value of your property but also help to frame the way your property is advertised. Some of these might be less obvious in a virtual appraisal compared to one in person.
Some examples: Extensions, new kitchen/ bathroom, new gutters, new carpet, painted kitchen/bathroom, painted exterior, landscaping, tiling work.
Point out subtle benefits
The second list is features around the house that might not be obvious when carrying out a virtual walk around. Some of these can greatly impact the value of your property like water views or dual street access, whilst others might be good additions to include in the listing ad such as quality appliances or air conditioning. Keep in mind, if you do not point these out with your camera, your agent may not see them.
Some examples: Under stair storage, dual street access, underfloor heating, double glazed windows, appliance brands, any views, air conditioning.
Point out potential flaws - unfinished renovations, anything broken, paint issues
Unlike the others, this final list is about identifying potential flaws that your property has. These are issues with specific elements of your house such as unfinished renovations, paint issues or termites. Whilst it is unlikely that these will be a deal breaker, they may impact the value of your property and are easier to deal with if they are made known to your agent from the get go, rather than coming to light during an inspection post-offer.
The benefits of a virtual appraisal
- You choose the time that is best for you. While an in-person appraisal visit from your agent means that they can see your property up close, one major benefit from a virtual appraisal is that you can slot it right in between work or personal commitments as it is a phone call at a time that is most convenient for you.
- Faster than in-person appraisal. You know which aspects of your home that you want to showcase, and armed with our top tips above, you’ll be finished in no time! This way, you can schedule more virtual appraisals with other agents to find the best one that is suited for your property sale.
- Safe and effective way to get the sales process started. The earlier you are able to understand essential details, such as the price of your home, what the market conditions are currently in your local area, as well as the buyer demand in your area, the faster you can get on the market while the selling conditions are still strong. This will also help you establish the right selling strategy you want to take with your agent, and allows you to get your home ready for sale to maximise its full selling potential.
Worried about selling at this time? Upside is your safest choice. With remote appraisers, virtual open for inspections & meetings, digital contracts and agents that have always worked from home, there is no agency in a better position to look after you when selling in the current climate. Book your free, no obligation (and virtual if you'd prefer) appraisal with us today.