Your Guide for Buying a House Sight Unseen
There was a time when buying a house without actually setting foot in it was a risky bet suited only for Vegas high-roller types. Today, thanks to advancements in technology and the effects of a pandemic, people with less tolerance for risk are more willing to go all-in on virtual home shopping.
In addition, if you’re in the military or planning a long-distance move, circumstances may limit your opportunity to make first-hand tours of homes. Use these expert tips to turn up an ace sight unseen.
- Have a Detailed Wish List
Sometimes home buyers will go on instinct, believing they’ll know the right house when they walk in the front door. When you’re shopping for homes online, you can’t rely on vibes to guide your decision. Create a list of specific features and amenities you want to make it easier to include and exclude potential houses.
- Find a Local Real Estate Agent
An experienced real estate agent is invaluable in the best of circumstances, let alone when you’re navigating a long-distance purchase. My experience in our area can give you a valuable perspective on the housing market and other intangibles affecting your search.
- Leverage Video Options
Video home tours have become increasingly sophisticated, with features such as 3D tours with 360° views and zoom capabilities. As virtual shopping becomes more popular, sellers and listing agents are investing in higher-quality still photos as well. But don’t stop there. I can conduct a FaceTime tour where you can see literally every inch of the home.
- Research Neighborhoods
A great home in an unpleasant neighborhood is no bargain at any price. Use sources such as U.S. News & World Report, AreaVibes, NeighborhoodScout, and Sperling’s Best Places to do a deep dive into local statistics and information. Particular areas of attention should include school systems, crime and safety, cost of living, housing market, and economy. This is a step where I, as your real estate agent can be extremely helpful.
- Double Down on Due Diligence
Yes, a long-distance move is expensive, but due diligence is no place to cut corners. You’re more reliant than ever on the accuracy and thoroughness of home inspectors, attorneys, brokers, and any other professionals on my team help to vet both the home and the purchase process. Mistakes can end up more costly than hiring the appropriate person in the first place.
- Have a Plan B
We all know even the best-laid plans can go sideways. No matter how carefully you proceed, there’s a chance a long-distance home purchase can fall victim to Murphy’s Law. Before you reach the point of no return, be sure to construct a back-up plan. Would you be able to resell the house quickly without a loss? What are the possible options for renting it out? You’ll feel more comfortable having a safety net in place.
- Plan for Move-In Day
Regardless of how many pictures you’ve seen and digital tours you’ve had, there’s bound to be a disconnect once you actually see your new house in person. Don’t panic! In most cases, the feeling will be temporary. As soon as you start moving furniture in and personalizing the decor, it will begin feeling like home.
Ready to put your cards on the table? Follow this strategy for a winning hand in your virtual home search.
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