It’s often said a picture is worth a thousand words. But can you be sure those words are totally accurate? If you’ve been house hunting and have fallen in love with a home based on the pictures you’ve seen online, you should keep in mind that those pictures may not tell the whole story. Here’s why it’s vitally important that you visit potential new homes in person.
Digital photography can be deceiving
Photography has come a long way in the last few years. If you’re viewing an online listing that uses professional photographs, you are seeing the home at it’s absolute best. Photographers can use wide-angle lenses that make rooms appear larger than they actually are. Image processing can make rooms look like they get copious natural light, or make older homes appear brand new. While it is not usually the seller’s intention to deceive you, it does make an in-person visit a necessity – especially when the online photos make a house look amazing.
Photos focus on the positive
Home listings will generally focus on all the positive aspects of a home, and the included pictures will reflect that. If the home has a beautifully landscaped yard or a master suite with luxury amenities, you can be sure those will be highlighted in the photos. What you may not get a picture of are the rooms that haven’t been refurbished, that dark corner in the basement or the neighbors who are so close you can reach out and touch them. If you think a listing may be too good to be true, an in-person visit can uncover any issues that may not be obvious.
You need to experience a home with all your senses
While online photos and videos can give you a great idea of what a home looks like, it doesn’t let you experience it with all your senses. Only an in-person visit can tell you what a home sounds or smells like. Are there noisy neighbors who play music late into the night? Is the home downwind of a factory that occasionally emits a strange odor? These are characteristics that you can’t experience through an online listing.
A home is part of a neighborhood
No matter how much you love a house, it is typically not an island unto itself. Homes are parts of neighborhoods, which have a direct impact on your quality of life. Visiting in person gives you a much better sense of the character of a neighborhood – more than what a visit via Google Earth can tell you. How well do the neighbors maintain their homes? Do people take walks in the evening? Are neighbors friendly and helpful, or do they generally keep to themselves? Do the people next door have chickens in their backyard, complete with a rooster that wakes with the morning sun?
While online listings can present a good overview of a home, it can’t tell the whole story. If you want to get a true sense of a potential new place, it’s best to schedule an in-person visit with your agent.