If you are a homebuyer or an investor who wants to purchase a property, it’s sometimes the case that you’re not actually able to see the house, flat, shop or warehouse in person before you sign the deal. Things move fast in desirable locations and sometimes there just isn’t time to wait for a viewing if there’s a bidding war going on from day one. This can be a daunting prospect and might make you question whether you should even be making the purchase. However, there are several ways you can make sure you don’t end up either missing out or with buyers’ remorse when buying a property you haven’t seen.
We are living in a digital world where transactions are done online, and home buying is no exception. Technology is your friend when buying a home without physically being present. Old school face to face business deals are not always necessary when so much technology exists to aid communication and remote decision making.
Homeowners can now post videos of their homes on the market online for buyers to take a tour of the property without ever having to set foot in the premises. And with FaceTime and other video streaming services, it is possible to have someone take you on a 360 degree live tour without actually having to be there.
Nonetheless, a video tour is not enough on its own to conclude the deal. An agent is still essential to do the due diligence for you.
Have an Experienced Estate Agent/Home Dealer by Your Side
Find an agent who is willing to talk you through the whole property, and whom you trust enough to tell you the flaws and potential pitfalls of the property as well as its selling points.
If you are buying a luxury home sight unseen, then make sure you work with an agent who is experienced with buying and selling luxury homes. If you are buying investment property make sure the agent you are working with is experienced with investment property.
Whatever the property type, the person you are working with should have experience with buying and selling those types of properties and should be familiar with the areas and locations you’re looking to buy from. Ask questions of the agent about their experience to make sure you find someone you can rely on.
If you are buying sight unseen because you know the property is likely to be sold before you can arrange a viewing, and there is a lot of competition, be aware that you may need to make a strong offer and be able to prove immediately that you are in a position to move quickly, as vendors may be prone not to trust that someone who hasn’t actually been to see the property isn’t going to back out at a later stage. Vendors are much more inclined to trust someone who they can look in the eye and see genuine a passion coming from, for the property. You may therefore have to work extra hard to convince them or their agent that you are serious if you are not there in person.
Ask A Friend or Family Member to View On Your Behalf
If possible, ask someone you know – a friend or family member – to also go and view the property on your behalf. Ask them to give their honest opinion about whether it is worth the asking price and whether anything about the condition of the property is being hidden from view.
Get a Survey
A survey can reveal vital pieces of information about the house which even a look around in person wouldn’t be able to give you. It is therefore essential that you enlist a chartered surveyor to undertake a detailed survey for you before you sign the final contract. If the survey reveals that the property has some serious issues that would be very costly to put right, you then have the option to negotiate the selling price down to reflect those additional costs you will be paying further down the line, or to back out altogether if it means the property is no longer a good investment.
With all the technology available at our fingertips now, buying a home without seeing it is possible and not always the risky or foolish thing to do that many people still seem to think it is. Video tours and having others look for you, on your behalf, however are no substitute for being there and getting a feel for a house or location yourself. That feeling that somewhere is ‘just right’ and somewhere you can see yourself living or working can only be got from walking around yourself, so it’s still a good idea to get there as soon as you can after the offer has been made.