Buying a House Unseen

5 Tips for Buying a House Unseen

29 Oct, 2020

The thought of buying a house unseen may cause anxiety. How could you make such a huge investment without seeing it in person? Believe it or not, buying a house unseen is becoming a much more popular. With the current COVID pandemic, and the state of the housing market, more buyers are choosing to purchase their house unseen. So, what’s the best way to buy a house without ever seeing it? Here’s some tips to make the process as easy as possible.

  1. Do Your Homework

Before you get serious about looking at a property virtually, do some homework. Take the time to research the neighborhoods/communities of some of the houses you like the looks of. See if there are community forums that can give you valuable insights into how things run. You can even look at Google Earth and Street View to scan the areas around the home.

Additionally, if you like the looks of a home, reach out to see if you can get more photos or videos. And be sure to use the photos provided to assess if there’s anything the seller is trying to hide. Do you notice pictures seem wide or stretched out? That could be to make the room appear larger. Or what if everything is super bright? Did they put a filter on the photos to keep things looking cleaner and more inviting? Try to read between the lines and make notes about things you may want your agent to investigate when the time comes.

  1. Get a Great Agent

Technology, specifically for virtual tours, is a huge part of the current home buying process. For people who are buying a home unseen, this is even more vital. It’s imperative to find an agent who is tech-savvy and understands how to use FaceTime, Zoom, or Facebook Live. You’ll also rely on your agent to be the one to answer, or even point out, some of the issues you may worry about but can’t identify without being there in person.

Be sure to use an agent that can help you connect with partners, such as a reputable title company, that will offer you remote closing options and keep things moving timely and safely. See how Velocity Title has been managing its closings during COVID here.

  1. Make the Most of the Private Virtual Tour

When it comes time for your agent to help “virtually” walk you through your top home choices, be sure to make the most of it. Set the expectation that you would like to see each room, and thoroughly explore areas to ensure you’re having time to ask questions. Here are some things you might want to ask about each room:

  • Does the room feel light or dark?
  • Does it have any odors?
  • How is the temperature in this space?
  • Do you notice any cracks in the walls or floor?
  • Do the vents make any odd sounds, or can you feel any air coming out of them?
  • How do the windows look/feel? Are they in good condition? Does air feel like it’s blowing in through them?
  • Are there any ceiling fans or stains on the ceilings?
  • Are the carpets/floors in good condition?
  • Do you see any evidence of insects/rodents?

Be sure to ask your agent to take his or her time in each room. Don’t be afraid to ask them to open up closets, examine carpets or flooring, etc.

  1. Check on the Big-Ticket Areas

When buying a home unseen, don’t underestimate the big-ticket areas, and remember to ask your agent to spend some extra time investigating them.

  • The Kitchen: It’s one of the main areas of the house. You want to make sure it meets your current needs. What shape are the appliances in? Is there enough space to walk around comfortably while cooking? Do you like the layout? How’s the lighting? Think of all the things you want and love, then ask about them specifically during the virtual walk through.
  • The HVAC Systems: If having heat or air conditioning is a must for you, be sure to have the agent show you the HVAC systems. Do they look to be in good shape? Any crazy sounds or shaking happening when they are turned on or off? How about the filters? Is there dust in the vent openings?
  • The Foundation: No one wants to buy a home and then a month later have it slanting at an odd angle because the foundation is cracking. Be sure to have the agent show you the outside of the home. Look closely at the areas that meet the ground, and the earth around it. Yes, and inspector will get into this all more precisely, but you could save yourself time and money by looking yourself first.
  • Plumbing: Have the agent flush some toilets and turn on some faucets. Does the water get warm quickly? Does it stay warm after five minutes? Does the water come out steady and with good pressure? These are things the agent can check for you and give you a general idea of how the water is flowing/functioning.
  1. Compare and Contrast

You’re living somewhere now. Do you like the current space? Are the rooms meeting your needs? Look at the dimensions of the homes you are interested and compare and contrast. How high are the ceilings in comparison to where you are now? If one of your focuses is getting a larger home with more space, really look at the dimensions of the new home versus where you are. Will it be a big enough space? One way to do this is to take some painters tape, find a large area, and map out the dimensions of the rooms you wish you could “walk” through.

When buying a home unseen, there’s a lot to consider, but as this trend continues to grow, it’s a great idea to have a strategic plan in motion if you ever decide to take the leap. The five tips above will help you, or your client, start navigating the process of buying a home you’ve never actually seen in person. And remember to partner with a title company that can ensure the property is free of title issues and can keep the process moving seamlessly and remotely. See how Velocity Title has you covered.

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