Guide To Buying A House Sight Unseen

How To Buy A House Sight Unseen

Buying a house sight unseen can be a tricky process, and you may be hesitant to do it, but with the right approach and precautions, you may get an excellent value property and house to be used as a rental for retirement income or even a fixer-upper that you’ll move into at a later date.

In some competitive real estate markets like Las Vegas, you may need to move very quickly; otherwise, you’re going to miss out on the best housing opportunities, and in some cases, that also means buying a house sight unseen.

Detailed below are the steps on how to buy a house sight unseen and things you should consider before making this type of purchase.

What Is Buying A House Sight Unseen?

Buying a house sight unseen simply means that you’re making a purchase without physically going through the house, though that doesn’t mean you see it online and instantly purchase the house.

In most situations, including on RetireBetterNow.com, you’ll take a virtual tour of the property, review the photos and details online, and perform research online on the local area.

You’ll typically still want to get the house checked by a home inspector to ensure there are no obvious problems with the house, and you’ll want to get a full disclosure from the seller.

There aren’t specific laws around what needs to be disclosed in some areas like Las Vegas, but if you ask, they must tell you, so using a standard form that covers most things is a good option.

So essentially, you still do your research and checks but don’t get to see the house before you make your offer and buy the house.

Steps To Buy A House Sight Unseen

No house purchase is the same, and that includes buying a house sight unseen, but detailed below are the basic steps that you should consider when buying a house sight unseen.

1. Select A Good Local Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent is going to be your feet on the ground during this home purchase, and selecting a good local real estate agent that knows the market and is comfortable with helping you buy a house sight unseen is crucial.

Make sure that they have good reviews online and are comfortable with technology and assisting where needed for inspections or virtual tours. You should also discuss with them if they’re comfortable with negotiating or reporting back to you about the sellers.

2. Get Your Mortgage Pre-approved

Assuming you’ll be using a mortgage for your home purchase, you should get everything pre-approved upfront so that you know how much you can potentially purchase a house for; there’s no point in looking at or making offers on homes that are outside your pre-approval range.

A mortgage pre-approval only takes a review of you and your assets to see how much a lending institution may allow you to borrow; you’re not signing up for the mortgage just yet.

3. Take A Virtual Tour Of The House

Often listing sites will provide a virtual tour or photos of the property, and this is an excellent chance to have a first look. Most real estate agents will also provide a video or virtual walk-through that lets you review the entire house, and in some cases, you can even do it live with them and ask questions in real-time.

However, you should have your real estate agent take you through a virtual tour on their phone so that you can zoom in or check things that may be blurred out, missed, or simply forgotten by the listing agent.

4. Get A Full Home Inspection Completed

Whether you’re buying a house sight unseen or have had a chance to walk through a house, it’s critical that you have a complete home inspection done to ensure there are no obvious or hidden problems that can come back and cost you a lot of money down the road.

Get a qualified home inspector in the area to walk through the home and provide a full report on everything they’ve found, good or bad. You should get details on wiring, structural integrity, roofing, plumbing, and anything else that may be specific to the house or local area.

5. Make Your Sight Unseen Offer

Using your local real estate agent, you can make a sight-unseen offer, which is virtually identical to a regular real estate offer. Work with your agent and research the area to find a price that will meet your needs and make it acceptable to the sellers.

Include contingencies in your offer if they haven’t been completed yet; things like the home inspection must be completed, the mortgage is approved, a home disclosure is provided and doesn’t have major issues, and anything else you want to ensure is done or completed before the sale is finalized.

Once the seller receives your offer, they can decide to accept it, reject it, or even provide a counteroffer and you and your agent can walk through the process and handle any changes that may need to be done.

6. Close On The Sight Unseen House

Once everything has been completed and both parties are happy with the results, you can close on your new house. You can do this in person, or you can close virtually if you’re still unable to attend in person or simply don’t want to.

Closing virtually is acceptable; you’ll review and sign all paperwork online and have the transfer completed before you ever see the house in person. You may need to have a video conference with a notary so they can ensure that you are signing the paperwork and verify details about you and the transaction.

Should You Buy A House Sight Unseen?

Buying a house sight unseen is safe if you follow appropriate precautions and ensure the house meets your needs and you’ve thoroughly checked all details about the house. Often a good virtual tour of the home and a full inspection are enough to satisfy anything you need to know.

There are specific scenarios where buying a house sight unseen makes sense, such as moving from another country or if you’re out of state and won’t get back before other buyers snap up the property.

If you do have the opportunity to visit the house in person, you should take it as that’s helpful to get a real feel for the house, but ultimately it comes down to your comfort levels of virtually purchasing a house.

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*Disclaimer: This material is provided for information purposes only and is not to be construed as investment or tax advice. Readers are strongly advised to consult with their professional advisors regarding the information herein.

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