Shopping for a home in Arizona has changed in many ways.  Sitting at home at your computer looking at high definition photos, digital layouts, Google satellite view, Google street view maps, and virtual tours are how most buyers look through hundreds of homes before choosing a home to go hopefully view not buy.  

Today the way most people are doing business has changed, Having groceries delivered, Amazon Shopping for other items.  Having food delivered, instead of going to a restaurant. Why not buy a house from the internet?

Check out the photo below, this facility sits in a master planned golf community somewhere in Arizona.  Great curb appeal, awesome lakes, facilities, what could possibly be wrong with purchasing a home near this facility?



1. At least 20 homes surround this outfit, and the highlighted part in the lower part of the photo is where the facility stores fertilizer and grass clippings.  I'm pretty sure this would not pass the sniff test for most home buyers. Especially in grass scalping season, getting ready for ryegrass.  

I'm sorry, but what is acceptable for your sniff test and what is acceptable for an agent may be completely different.

2. Location is a big thing,  and being near an airport for most homeowners is almost impossible to avoid.  Most cities have major air ports, military airports and general aviation airports, homes with air strips.  The big kicker is the flight paths.  Surprise AZ has a flight path addendum for real estate agents to disclose airport noise to home buyers.

Surprise Luke Notification Map

Being able to hear planes come in and take off for most people is normal,  but if you purchase a home on a military flight path, and did not have a chance to hear it before you purchased a home.  That may be an issue for you.

Other noise that some people don't want to hear is barking dogs left out all day, train noise, commercial construction, traffic noise.  All that is hard to tell without actually going to the home.

 Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“People really didn’t buy houses sight-unseen, traditionally. It’s still not a huge number, but it has gone up, and we have definitely seen that trend accelerate.”

According to NAR, throughout the coronavirus pandemic, one in every 20 homebuyers purchased a house sight-unseen.

Wouldn't you love to know the actual statistics on how many of those 1 in 20 home buyers that purchased a home on line now have buyers remorse? 

Here’s a graph showing some of the digital options buyers found most helpful in their searches this year, as noted by NAR in the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:

Virtual ChartThe report also mentions that buyers this year generally searched for eight weeks. Throughout that search, they viewed a median of 9 homes, but not all of them were seen in-person. Yahoo Finance notes:

“Buyers viewed five homes online and four homes in-person during the pandemic, compared to nine homes in-person in 2019, according to NAR. This was the first year NAR asked buyers to specify the number of homes toured virtually.”

In true 2020 fashion, virtual practices helped buyers safely narrow down their top choices, so they didn’t have to unnecessarily walk into more homes than they needed to see throughout the process. Here’s the breakdown by region:


Homes Viewed By Buyers Chart

3. Looking out of the windows when you tour a home can give you a lot interesting things to see.  Anything goes here.  Maybe the home is next to a neighbor that collects junk cars that he is going to fix up someday, but never gets the time.  No big deal if that is your plan also.

One thing to look out and see mountain views, another to see the neighbors yard with 3 feet of weeds growing.  With a dirt lot in a rental property that will never be landscaped. 

4. Power lines,  High tension power lines run through a lot of cities.  Some homes have crafty photographers that zoom in on the front of the home not showing the power lines in the photos.  Most real estate investors won't buy a home with high tension power lines running just outside the back yard.

5. Feel of the home.  Ever walked through a home with a cracked foundation?  You can feel it when you walk, but what if the home inspector does not feel it, or pick it up?  Also some homes have had foundation repairs and have soil drying equipment attached to the home.  You may not see that in virtual photos.  Hopefully it is disclosed.

Use the high tech virtual tools to save time, not to purchase a home without visiting it!

Virtual Touring, High definition photos, all of the electronic tools out there right now are fantastic ways of being able to narrow down how many homes you can look at.  Cutting out homes that just won't work for you without ever visiting will save you a lot of time.

One good practice when looking for a home is narrow down virtually, Narrow down by Schools, Narrow down by crime statistics online, pick a couple neighborhoods or so that fits your needs. Drive those neighborhoods a couple times daytime, morning, weekends. Then when homes become available in the neighborhoods you like go look with an agent. 

Statistics and photos from KCM

Check out:  5 Tips for Homebuyers Who Want to Make A Competitive Offer