While some homebuyers want to see the walls of the home they intend to purchase, about 20 percent of all homebuyers – whether they bought a newly built home or an existing one – made an offer on a house they’d never seen in 2018. For new home buyers, particularly if they’re purchasing a house in an area where they’ll relocate in the future, that percentage is probably even higher.
Thankfully, technology has made the purchase of remote new homes easier than in the past. While looking at a one-dimensional floor plan can give you a sense of the layout of the house, virtual reality and augmented reality can provide a realistic feel for the size of each room and a visual idea of what they will look like with different finishes.
Steps to a remote home purchase
Buying a home from across the country or from another continent may be slightly more challenging than purchasing a home you can walk through, but there are plenty of tools to make the process easier. To get started:
- Consult a lender. Before you do anything else, you’ll need to know your budget. You can meet with a local lender where you live now or an online lender to get a preapproval for a loan. Even if you plan to work with the builder’s preferred lender for your financing, a preapproval from another lender, including a review of your documents and credit, puts you in a good position to purchase long-distance.
- Do research online. When you know the location where you want to buy, you can start searching for new home communities and builders. Check on the planned amenities, home styles and price range, and narrow your priorities.
- Try out available technology. While not every builder offers augmented and virtual reality online, many do. You can get a clearer idea of what you’re buying with virtual tours of model homes. Consult the builder’s sales professional to find out if someone can walk you through a model home with the help of Skype or Facetime.
- Choose a builder. Once you’ve decided on a community and a builder, you can narrow your choice again by deciding on a floor plan and a lot. You can do most of this online, but you may also want to contact the builder’s sales representative to make sure you can build the house you want on the lot you want.
- Finalize your financing. Contact the builder’s preferred lender or work with your own lender to finish the paperwork online and discuss your options for the closing. Most documents can be signed online, but you may need to arrange an in-person closing with a notary for the final documents.
- Choose your fixtures and finishes. Once you have your budget determined, you can make any available choices for optional features as well as paint colors, cabinets, flooring, appliances, counters and fixtures. You can work with your builder’s design center experts and often have the option of previewing your choices with the help of augmented and virtual reality.
Buying remote new homes isn’t all that different from buying a newly built home locally. While you won’t be able to physically walk through a model home, even that obstacle can be overcome with the help of technology.
If you'd like to search new homes in your area, check out our lists of builders and communities on New Home Guide.