Some call it a leap of faith. Others call it crazy. No matter how you slice it, high-risk doesn’t always yield high-reward. That said, it might surprise you to learn that 1 out of every 5 buyers has made an offer on a home, sight-unseen. Do you have what it takes to become a home-buying statistic and roll the dice on what could be a giant win?
Buying sight-unseen is gaining popularity in various areas of the country due, in part, to the considerable number of Reality TV programs focused on real estate. Investors have used this method for years. They gamble based on many factors including profit probability but always with the understanding that there will be loss from time to time.
But what about your own personal home, the place you will be raising your family or where you may spend your retirement years? Is it worth the risk?
If the idea of buying sight-unseen sounds enticing, be careful not to go in totally blind. Trust, confidence, and the ability to research will be the key to your success. Once your target neighborhood has been identified, research it like crazy. Talk to everyone you can about the pros and cons of the community. Ask questions, lots of questions. Get copies of the deed restrictions, homeowners association rules, CDD fees and more. Get to know the neighbors; yes, you can “know” the neighbors without physically being there to meet them.
“But they sent me photos,” you say. Remember, photos can be deceiving. Think in terms of a selfie. How many pictures do you take before you finally post one to social media or distribute it to your friends? Chances are you will tilt your head a dozen ways before you find the best representation of who you want to be in that moment. A seller is no different and will always want to show you a home in the best possible light. They will only disclose the minimum. A giant hole in the wall? Shoot from a different angle. Huge leak in the roof? Focus in on the beautiful trees. Always remember that modern photography can lie.
Aerial maps and street views of homes can provide you with a sneak peek as to how the nearby homes are maintained. Don’t be afraid to enlist a friend or family member living nearby to help with the reconnaissance work.
Perhaps most importantly, find an agent that you can trust and check out your agent as closely as the new home. Do they know that market, what are their stats, are they “one and done” agents or do they have a track record of honest reviews as knowledgeable agents? It’s more research on your plate, but it is essential to making this work.
Once you have an accepted offer, hire professionals! A great inspector can save you from making a huge mistake. Buy a survey so your lot lines are perfectly clear and have a title policy done to be sure that you are not taking on someone else’s problems. If you can’t attend the closing, hire your inspector to do a final walk-thru to ensure that everything is in proper working order.
Not everyone has what it takes to take this “leap of faith” but it could be the difference in finding your dream home in a market with reduced inventory!
Celebrate our great country, Happy Fourth of July!