The short answer: it depends. While visiting a property in person is typically the preferred way of selecting a home, it has become increasingly popular among buyers of single-family homes to give a blind offer, meaning they intend to purchase without seeing the home first. Making an offer on a home sight unseen can be a risky endeavor, but it can also be an effective strategy in a competitive market. There are numerous reasons and influencing factors why a homebuyer may purchase a home this way.
There are many reasons to buy a home sight unseen. For example, you may be relocating for a job and need to buy a home quickly, making this the only way to expedite the process. Or maybe you’re looking for a great deal on a home to get an edge over other buyers. Ultimately, purchasing a home this way will be based on your individual needs, preferences, and situation. A real estate agent is a great resource to help you determine if this option is right for you and get the best house for you. They can also preview a property for you to give you an accurate, detailed summation of the home or do a live video tour so you can get a better feel of the home’s layout, design, and amenities.
You’re in a seller’s market
Perhaps you’ve been admiring a home, and it’s finally hit the market, but the seller has set a deadline for incoming bids. (This may happen especially in a seller’s market). If you’re out of town and cannot visit it in time, you may choose to make an offer to avoid missing out. In a highly competitive market where homes are snatched up in a day or two or even a matter of hours, a blind offer may be your only option.
You’re purchasing an investment property
You may have your eye on a specific area that has been rapidly appreciating. Rather than trying to view the property as expeditiously as possible, putting in a blind offer may be your best chance at getting in the game.
Buying a house sight unseen may seem risky to some homebuyers. However, it can also have its advantages. Here are some benefits of purchasing a home in this manner.
Today’s buyers love convenience, which is one of the main reasons online home searches are now the most popular way to find a home, even while working with a real estate agent. You can offer and close remotely without having to leave the comfort of your own surroundings.
With the advent of technology with high-quality, 360-degree virtual tours and professional aerial drone photos, homebuyers can easily and quickly gain perspective of a home’s location and its interior design and layout.
When you buy a house without seeing it in person, you may wind up experiencing some surprises—and not be aware of potential drawbacks. Unfortunately, surprises are rarely positive. So before you pull the trigger, consider the potential issues you may only uncover after it’s too late.
Unideal neighborhood and surroundings
From an aerial perspective, the home may seem ideal. However, consider its proximity to major roadways, railroad tracks, airport flight paths, fire stations, or hospitals, as these can raise the noise level in the area. Additionally, knowing how well your neighbors maintain their properties will be necessary for future resale. A poorly kept neighboring home can reduce your value by 5 to 10 percent.
Property damage or defects
When buying a property, it’s always important to review its condition to ensure it’s in the state you expect it to be. A professional home inspector should conduct a thorough inspection and provide you with a detailed report of their findings.
Unpleasant home odors
Unless you visit the home in person, you won’t know if there are pet odors, lingering smells from cooking spices, or cigarette or cigar smoke. Even if someone else inspects it, they may not be able to detect the same smells as you, which could lead to extra expenses if you need to replace carpets or repaint the interior.
- Always get a home inspection within the specified time outlined in the sale contract.
- Include a home inspection and final walk-through contingency clause in the contract to ensure you are protected and can void the agreement if the results are unsatisfactory.
- Don’t make an emotional decision. Though you may feel pinched to purchase a home quickly, be sure to state your requirements and avoid caving on something that matters to you.
- Understand that even with modern technology, you can only get a full feel for the home if you see it.
Using an experienced real estate agent to help you purchase a home sight unseen can provide valuable insight, analysis, and guidance to help you make the best decision possible. Furthermore, they can review all documents, such as contracts, and advise you on the best course of action. Lastly, your agent can ensure that the process of buying a home sight unseen is done correctly and with your best interests in mind.