The past few years have led to a highly competitive real estate market for buyers. Due to the pressure of making a fast decision, a growing number of prospective homeowners are making offers with the sight unseen, usually after a virtual tour.
Virtual home tours can facilitate the home-buying process, but there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to buy a home sight unseen.
Potential issues with virtual home tours
Virtual home tours are a great place to start. They can show what the inside of a home looks like, but be aware that careful staging can distort reality. Sellers can hide undesirable features or even create the illusion that a space is larger.
It’s also easy to gloss over significant details like water stains, peeling paint, noisy pipes, or signs of a bug problem. And, because virtual tours don’t engage your five senses as an in-person visit would, you might miss creaking floors or the characteristic musty smell that indicates the presence of mold.
How to buy a home sight unseen
With close to five offers per home sold on average, buyers are making offers sight unseen to give them a leg up on the competition. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
Do your research
Before you even schedule a virtual home tour, ask yourself if the property corresponds to what you’re looking for. Agents know how to stage to make a home appealing, but you need to determine if the home is right for your budget and lifestyle.
Next, you should find out more about who you’re dealing with. A quick Google search can help you find reviews and ratings for the listing agent.
There are different tools you can use to conduct due diligence remotely and learn more about the area. Check Google Maps to explore the neighborhood and identify amenities and potential drawbacks. Crime rates, walkability scores, and school ratings are other helpful tools.
You should also browse through real estate listings to get a better idea of asking prices for similar homes in the area.
Get some help
Home inspection companies typically conduct inspections after a seller accepts an offer. However, you can also use this service before making an offer. Most likely, anything hidden by staging not will get past a professional home inspector.
Hiring a local real estate agent is highly recommended. They are there to represent you and help to make buying a home sight unseen a lot easier. Your agent will be able to see the property in person and ensure it’s what you’re looking for.
Use legal provisions
Clauses and contingencies in the sales contract are here to protect you. A common practice is to sign a contract wherein the purchase is contingent on the condition that the home is appraised at a certain value.
You can add contingencies regarding the condition of the home. Clauses for major issues like structural defects, a roof that needs replacement, or a bad electrical system mean the seller will have to release you from the sales contract if there is something wrong with the property.
Work with the right mortgage lender
Getting pre-approved by a mortgage lender shows that you’re a serious buyer. It also helps you move quickly once you find the right home. If you want to buy a home sight unseen, you should know that First Centennial Mortgage can help you in the process. Get in touch with us to get started on your homeownership journey!