Buying a property sight unseen

Top 10 Tips For Buying A Property Sight Unseen

In Blog by John Antill

Buying a property sight unseen can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are new to it. Yet, with the right set of tools and tips to prepare buyers beforehand, it can be a rewarding experience. Read on for our ‘Top 10 Tips For Buying A Property Sight Unseen’.

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This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the home search process and arm you with the essential tips to navigate this unique path successfully.

What Does It Mean to Buy a Property Sight Unseen?

Buying property sight unseen, as the term suggests, is the act of purchasing a property without physically viewing or inspecting it yourself. Instead, you rely on descriptions, photos, virtual tours, or the feedback of others before making the decision.

When buying a house sight unseen, you are putting your trust in the information provided by others. This can be a nerve-wracking experience, as you are unable to personally assess the property’s condition, layout, and overall appeal. However, advancements in technology have made it easier to gather information remotely, allowing buyers to make informed decisions without physically being present.

Why Would You Consider Buying a Property Sight Unseen?

Several reasons may prompt a potential buyer to consider this route. Some are living in a different city or country and are looking for an investment property.

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The distance and planning involved in traveling to view properties can be time-consuming and costly. By buying sight unseen, these buyers hope they can streamline the process and make quicker decisions based on the available information.

Others are swamped with busy schedules and prefer to delegate the process to trusted professionals. Real estate agents, property managers, or even friends or family members living in the area can visit the property on their behalf, providing feedback and insights. This allows buyers to save time and effort on site visit while still getting a comprehensive understanding of the property.

It’s worth noting that buying a property sight unseen does come with risks. While technology has made it easier to gather information remotely, there is always the possibility of discrepancies between the provided information and the actual property.

It is crucial to thoroughly research and verify the credibility of the sources you rely on before making a final decision.

Risks and Rewards of Buying Property Sight Unseen

Like any other investment, there are potential risks and rewards associated with buying a house sight unseen.

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One of the significant risks is that you may miss some crucial details that can only be noticed during physical visits. While you can gather a lot of information from properties online, such as photos and descriptions, there may be hidden issues that are not apparent until you see the property in person.

For example, you might discover structural problems, water damage, or other issues that were not disclosed in the online listing.

Additionally, there’s always the chance of misrepresentation or misinformation. While most sellers and agents strive to provide accurate and honest information, there are cases where the property may be misrepresented, or crucial information withheld. Without physically inspecting the property, it can be challenging to verify the accuracy of the information provided.

Property that is being auctioned is often distressed, so buyer beware.

Benefits of Buying Property Sight Unseen

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Despite these risks, there are also many rewards associated with buying property sight unseen. One of the significant advantages is the access to a broader range of options outside of your immediate locality.

When you limit your property search to only the areas you can physically visit, you may miss out on great opportunities in other locations. Buying a home sight unseen allows you to explore properties in different cities, or even countries, expanding your possibilities and increasing the chances of finding your dream property.

Another benefit of buying property sight unseen is the ability to move quickly on desirable properties in hot markets. In competitive real estate markets, properties can be snapped up within hours or days of being listed.

By purchasing a home sight unseen, you can make an offer and secure a property without delay. This can be particularly advantageous if you are relocating for work or have a specific timeline in mind.

Essential Tips for Buying a Property Sight Unseen

Now that we’ve covered the basics of buying a house sight unseen, let’s delve into our ten actionable tips for buying a property sight unseen.

1.      Work with a local real estate agent or realtor

Partner with a reliable local real estate agent or knowledgeable realtor who has extensive knowledge of the area where you’re looking to buy. They can provide valuable insights, conduct video tours, and act as your trusted representative throughout the entire process.

2.      Gather media and documentation

Request high-resolution property photos, detailed floor plans, and any important records such as property surveys or home inspection reports. These additional resources will provide you with a more comprehensive grasp of the home’s layout and overall condition.

3.      Take a virtual tour

We’re in a time of technology, so use it! Request comprehensive video interactive visual tours of the property from the seller or your real estate agent. They can walk you through the home, showcasing every room, highlighting features, and addressing any specific concerns you may have. The virtual walk through should give you a much better idea how the home’s rooms relate to each other.

4.      Research the local property market

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! Thoroughly research the local housing market, including property values, market trends, and comparable sales in the area. This information will help you assess the home’s value and negotiate effectively.

5.      Use online mapping tools

Back to technology! Google Earth enables buyers to check out the local neighbourhood virtually. Look at google maps for nearby amenities, schools, transportation options, and other factors that are important to your final decision.

This will give you a sense of the area’s suitability for your needs.

Additionally check out google street view.

6.      Ask for independent appraisals

I recommend trying to obtain an independent appraisal to verify the property’s value. This can give you reassurance and ensure you’re not overpaying for the home.

7.      Get a thorough inspection completed

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Hire a professional home inspector to conduct a comprehensive inspection on your behalf. Provide them with specific instructions to pay close attention to potential problem areas or concerns you may have.

Review the home inspection and report carefully to understand any issues and, if you want, get additional expert opinions. Talk one on one with the inspector.

8.      Research the local area and community

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Dive deep into researching once again, but this time, research the local area and community. Look for information on crime rates, school districts, local amenities, and any planned developments that may impact the area’s desirability in the future. Most of this information can be found through online search tools.

9.      Use contingencies and legal protection with a sight unseen offer

Ensure that your purchase agreement includes contingencies and legal protections that allow you to back out or renegotiate the deal if you find the property doesn’t meet your expectations when you physically inspect it, or if any undisclosed issues arise.

10. Ask for feedback from trusted sources

Reach out to friends, family, or those in the area who can provide you with first-hand insights or recommendations. Their local knowledge can be invaluable when making an unseen home purchase.

Our Bonus Tip

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Instead of buying furniture to fit their new house, most buyers try to find properties that fit their furniture.

So, measure furniture and other key possessions like TVs and fish tanks. Take the multiple floor plans from different properties, get precise measurements, and start arranging furniture on some graph paper. This guarantees a bit of reality when your moving truck pulls up.

House Sight Unseen Buying – Do It Right

With these tips in hand, you’re now better equipped to embark on the journey of buying a property sight unseen. Remember, it’s a significant investment, so take the time to do it right.

Happy house hunting!

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About the Author

John Antill

Property enthusiast and DIY fanatic John Antill is a co-founder of leading SaaS firm Brightchecker - providing powerful property inspection software for real estate sectors. Aside from interior design and the property market, John is highly knowledgeable in gardening, pest control and general home improvement backed by over 20 years of experience in the industry.