Sight-Unseen House Buying – Should You?

Have you considered sight-unseen house buying?

The housing market in most countries is hot and fast, and you might lose a house viewing that you only booked an hour ago. Buyers in the market have done the pre-checked, are pre-approved, and have a down payment ready like to buy fast. 

It can be an aggressive market, and if you are just starting on your journey of house ownership, you might’ve seen or heard of the couples or families who struck lucky with a sight-unseen purchase.

But should you risk it? 

Person looking for a home to buy online

What is sight-unseen house buying?

A sight-unseen house buying is exactly what it sounds like. Somewhere within the purchase process, the new owners haven’t seen something. Some buyers read the information, check the photos, and make an offer without ever being near the home. They might or might not turn up for the inspection. 

While others won’t even step inside the house until it’s closed. 

These types of buyers usually make the most of virtual tours of display homes and rely on a trust estate agent to make them aware of any issues with the property (if it is older). 

virtual home tour online

Why would people buy a house sight-unseen?

The house buying process can be long and arduous, and not everyone has the mental and emotional room for it; some don’t have the time – while others live in a different country or state. 

Going back and forth during the process can be more costly than the deposit in the end. 

A decision has to be made, and that can mean buying a house sight-unseen. 

Are there bonuses for sight-unseen buying?

There are two main perks to buying sight-unseen, and that is you can move quickly – because you don’t have time to waste your offer going in while other people are trying to plan a tour. The second is that it can help you avoid a bidding war. 

real estate closing

Are there cons? 

In the case of a home that is not new, a comparable question is would you buy a car that you had never tested driven, and you were going on the dealer’s word and some paperwork that it is all ship-shape. 

Some people will instinctively say yes, while others are more cautious. 

If you don’t have anyone who can check the neighborhood out in person, you might be moving to a beautiful house that is in the middle of an area you would never normally accept. You’ll need to ask more questions because you aren’t there to see things yourself – you won’t have visual cues to remind you of what you want. The estate agent you choose needs to be thorough. 

You might end up with a defect that will cost you thousands because you weren’t there to notice something, or you missed it in the paperwork. Hiring your own inspector can help to ensure you have all of the information you need. 

You probably don’t want to risk a sight-unseen as-is property as these leave the buyer with all of the repairs and issues to deal with – unless you like risk, surprises, and have a budget big enough for a renovation. 

If you are buying in a more traditional way, you need the checklist: Ultimate Checklist For Buying A House – 15 Acre Homestead

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