Buying A Home Sight Unseen: Mistakes To Avoid

Most people would never consider purchasing a home without being able to look at it in person. However, in the wake of the pandemic, buying a home sight unseen has become necessary in some cases. Due to mandated lockdown orders, in-person tours and open houses are often not practical or available. Further, many people are fleeing urban areas for less-crowded communities, which often means considering homes hundreds of miles away.

Buying a home sight unseen may not be ideal, but it’s doable as long as you avoid these five common mistakes:

  1. Not Hiring the Right Local Agent – If you’re looking at homes for sale in Montgomery County but are currently not in the area, hiring an experienced and knowledgeable local agent is a must. They’ll act as your eyes and ears on the ground, checking out properties that may suit your needs and eliminating ones that don’t. Hire someone with a proven local track record, strong sales volume, and plenty of recent references for best results.
  2. Not Insisting on a Floorplan – All of the photos and videos in the world can’t take the place of a clear, easy-to-read floorplan. Without one, you’ll have no easy way to determine if and how your furniture will fit into a prospective home. If a floorplan isn’t available, ask your agent to obtain measurements of each room so that you can put together a basic outline. Better still, ask them to use a tool like to quickly generate a functional floorplan so that you can more fully understand the space.
  3. Not Asking Enough Questions – Buying a house sight unseen is not the time to make assumptions about anything regarding the property in question. Just because photos appear to show something, for example, doesn’t mean that what you’re seeing is accurate. Upon deciding to buy a house in another market, start keeping a list of questions to ask. Consider your lifestyle, work-life balance needs, and other factors, and remember – the more questions you ask, the better.
  4. Skipping the Appraisal or Inspection – If you’re buying your new place with a home loan, the bank will require an appraisal. If you’re buying with cash, it’s optional but should still be considered mandatory. After all, without being able to walk through the place yourself, there’s no telling what issues lurk within a home. Having professional appraisers and inspectors look everything over is the best way to understand what you are about to purchase fully.
  5. Not Taking Advantage of Technology – Finally, leading-edge technologies make it easier than ever to tour homes virtually from afar. A preliminary look via Google Street View can give you an idea for a home’s curb appeal, for example, and FaceTime tours let you walk through a home virtually in real-time. Your agent can walk through the home while video chatting with you, answering questions along the way. Many online listings include 3-D tours too, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for those.

Buying a new home without seeing it in person first is nerve-wracking but sometimes necessary. By avoiding the mistakes listed above, you’ll have an easier time securing the right home even from hundreds of miles away.

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