Buying a house sight unseen can be a scary prospect, but it’s becoming more and more common in today’s hottest markets. With sellers often receiving multiple offers within 48 hours of their homes being listed, an out of town buyer simply doesn’t stand a chance. So now buyers are jumping into the fray by submitting an offer on the home before even seeing it in person, and if they do it right, they can end up the winner.
What’s the right and wrong way of buying a house sight unseen? First and foremost, make sure you have a trusted professional real estate broker on your team who can quickly preview new listings and give you invaluable feedback on location, condition, neighborhood, and the house itself. She can give you a Face Time call while walking through the house, showing you it’s layout and details in a way that won’t be captured by photos in MLS. She can negotiate terms for a short due diligence period to give you time to get into town to see the house once you go under contract, keeping your due diligence fee low but protecting your first right of refusal should other buyers be clamoring to make back up offers.
The wrong way of buying a house sight unseen is to make your decision based solely on the online photos of the house, without consideration of all the other important aspects that make a home the right fit for you and your family: the community, neighborhood, schools, access to shopping, and so much more. The odds of that working out are very slim.
So far this year I’ve had the somewhat nerve-wracking experience of helping three clients in buying a house sight unseen after becoming discouraged by the competitive market in The Triangle.
So far, one family is happily living in the home, one family is in the process of excitedly moving into their new home, and one family is flying into town this weekend to see their new home for the first time.
It’s an exhilarating experience for all involved, but if the buyer and agent have good communication and trust, there really is very little left to luck.