Site Unseen

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When COVID-19 first hit, the real estate market came to a temporary halt while we figured out to handle things moving forward. We learned a lot about the virus and also more efficient ways to work together.

I’d say that nearly 1/3 of my clients have bought their homes this year site unseen. In fact, I have clients in town right now, who are set to close this afternoon and saw their home for the first time yesterday.

This trend actually started before COVID-19. In fact, a survey from 2018 showed that nearly 20% of homebuyers made an offer on a home without seeing it. Fast forward to 2020 and COVID-19, and this number has jumped to 45% of homebuyers having made an offer without first seeing the property in person. 

So the question is: Is it a good idea to buy a home site unseen?

And, as my attorney friend says, “It Depends…”

The benefit of this strategy is that in a market like ours, it’s often discouraging when you fly in to look at homes only to find out that they’re already under contract or you’re competing with 5, 10, 15+ offers on the same home. You can get a home UNDER contract before you spend the time and money coming out to see it.
So, if you’re thinking about potentially buying site unseen, here are a few things to consider:

 1. Work with an agent who has experience with people buying site unseen.(Ask for a couple of referrals so you can get a feel for their experience. I’d be happy to share a few of my clients with you)

It’s important to be able to depend on the agent to be your eyes and ears and to have someone you trust that can be honest. 

When I’m touring homes for clients out of the area, I actually spend extra time pointing out the potential “flaws” because I don’t want any surprises down the line. So while we talk about the positives, we also spend a lot of time on the negatives. Generally, they are pleasantly surprised when they see the home in person for the first time! 

2. Maximize use of technology.  Many listings have 3D tours to give you a good sense of the home. In some cases, homes that might have been passed up on rise to the top of the list when you can really get a feel for the space.  When you’re looking at the photos or tour, make note of things that you’re not sure about or things that you’d like clarification or – or to see up close.  

3. Do a virtual tour.  This is where we choose our top 3-4 homes and I get in the car and become your eyes and ears on the ground. It’s important to have a good understanding of the top must haves and wish list items so I can look for those things and point them out.  I always do a video driving up to the home and around the neighborhood so that you can get a feel for the surrounding area.  Then, we literally walk through the home starting out front and through the natural flow. We go back to look at details like countertops, flooring, etc. if it’s a home that you’re interested in in general.  

4. Make your offer.  I won’t spend a lot of time on this because it’s an entirely different, and detailed conversation we’ll want to have. But, during the option period (the time period during which you have the unrestricted right to cancel), you may wish to come and see the home in person. 

Until next time… keep smiling… be kind… and stay safe out there 🙂

And be sure to follow me on fb icon.png Facebook and instagram icon.png Instagram so I can share market information, renovation and design tips, information about things to do in the Austin area, and more! 


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