Over the last year or so, buying homes “sight unseen” – without visiting them in person – has become more popular for several reasons. Firstly, pandemic restrictions and concerns motivated many people to purchase homes without setting foot in them first. Secondly, with long-distance moves becoming more common, buying sight unseen has been a way to avoid burdensome travel while home shopping. Lastly, with homes in some parts of the country selling in a matter of days, making an offer without waiting to visit a home can be a competitive advantage.
It should go without saying that buying a home sight unseen comes with unique challenges and risks. It requires you to place your trust in people and technology to help you evaluate something you can’t see in person for yourself. However, if the pros outweigh the cons for you, here are some tips to help make your sight unseen purchase a success.
Find an excellent agent
A dependable and experienced real estate agent provides many valuable services that are especially crucial when buying a home sight unseen. You will rely on your agent for knowledge of the community, guidance through the homebuying process and representation throughout the transaction. When buying sight unseen, your agent will also be your eyes, ears and nose, personally touring homes on your behalf and relaying their findings, thoughts and advice back to you.
Create a homebuying wish list
Knowing what you want in your new home is always important during the home shopping process. Creating a list of your needs and wants will not only help you narrow down your choices, but it will be an invaluable roadmap for your agent and anyone else helping you with your home search. Create a personal homebuying wish list and include features like the home’s price range, location, neighborhood amenities, size and features (interior and exterior). For more specifics, check out our homebuying wish list template here!
Utilize all your resources
If you’re not viewing properties in person, you’ll need to utilize every other resource as much as possible. This includes carefully reviewing any photos, videos, virtual tours, floor plans and other materials included on each home’s online listing. Beware, however, that any imagery provided by the seller will likely be carefully selected to show the home in its best light. For this reason, you’ll almost certainly want your agent to tour homes in person to report their findings and ideally record video for you to watch. If you have a friend or family member in the area you’re looking to move into, they may be a valuable source of “on the ground” input as well.
Buying a home sight unseen comes with some challenges and risks, but you can help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible by following these tips! If you’re planning to buy a home anywhere from coast to coast, get in touch for a free mortgage consultation and preapproval.