Home Buying Guides

Buying a Home Without Seeing it In-Person? Here Are Some Tips

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Anette Brown on 19 Feb 2021

It’s a fact. All the events of 2020 left more and more would-be homeowners buying a home, sight unseen. That trend continues.

Homebuyers purchasing a home they had not previously seen in-person is nothing new. People making long-distance relocations have been making use of the Internet and trusted agents for quite some time now. But, it’s only recently that this trend saw a steep incline in the number of buyers willing to trust video rather than an in-person showing.

What many of them have learned is that, done the right way, it’s possible for a buyer to get exactly what they are expecting in a property—despite not seeing the home in person.

Of course, the key is doing it the “right” way. There are plenty of ways the entire process can get off track, leading to a real challenge.

If you’re considering buying a home sight unseen, here are four of the most common mistakes homebuyers make when buying virtually—and how to avoid them:

1. Not making best use of technology. Take advantage of all the tech at their disposal to get a good idea of what the property looks like. You can begin by watching any video provided with the listing.

Another useful tool is Google Street View, which can give a better idea of the surrounding area if you are a long-distance buyer and can’t drive through the area yourself.

Homebuyers should ask their agents for a thorough video tour and have a list of questions ready. As an agent, I like to have a tape measure handy as well, so when a client asks the height of a vanity or width of a bedroom, I can find out on the spot. Be sure to pay attention to the exterior as well.  

2. Passing on the home inspection. Video tours and technology are great, but they aren’t going to tell you everything you need to know about a home before making the purchase. For that, you’ll need a home inspector. Getting a home inspection is not something to skip. The inspector’s report is likely to tell you a great many things about the property you were unable to detect on even the most thorough of video tours.

Even if a home is being sold “as is” or you are buying new construction, you should still have a home inspection.

3. Not paying attention to the floor plan. When taking part in a video tour, there are certain things you may not notice that you would if you were in person. For example, the foyer might be on the small side or the master bedroom closet may not be as spacious as you thought. There could be some awkwardness to traffic flow because of the placement of doors or walls that maybe aren’t as evident via video.

4. Not working with a knowledgeable local agent. As your agent, it is my job to be your ears and eyes when it comes to you purchasing a property sight unseen. As an agent with deep ties to my local community, I will be able to answer a lot of questions regarding not only the home, but the community as well. This can be invaluable when you are looking at homes virtually.

In the end, you should not fear buying a home without walking through it in person. But it’s not a time for shortcuts. As your agent, I can get you all the information you need about a potential home and neighborhood. I’m happy to do a live video tour for you and answer any questions you may have.

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