Rules For Buying a Home Sight Unseen

With demand exceeding supply in the North Carolina High Country, many Buyers have to move quickly when a home comes on the market. Boone and surrounding resort towns have a strong second home market.

Some buyers want to purchase a home they have not even visited and make a sight-unseen offer.

What Are Sight Unseen Addendums?

Purchasing a home under a ‘sign unseen’ addendum means the buyer purchases the property without touring it in person first.

In the digital age, buying a home sight-unseen will often include virtual tours. The coronavirus pandemic has led people to prefer video tours to physically touring homes. The buyer can review pictures and videos of the listing online.

Buying a home without seeing it, might seem overwhelming, but many buyers do it! Recent research by Redfin shows that 63% of buyers purchasing in 2020 made offers on homes they had never seen in person.

Benefits of Remote Home Buying

There are benefits of remote home buying and being able to make sight unseen offers on properties.

In the not-so-distant past, buyers would visit a home multiple times before making an offer. This could become expensive if coming from out of the area and making multiple trips. It could also be very time-consuming, taking up weekends and any free time.

Today, you may even get your new home under contract because you’re able to make the first bid that the seller can’t resist, thereby avoiding a bidding war.

5 Rules for Sight Unseen Offers

The market has changed and buyers must move quickly to land the home of their dreams.

However, there are things you should know before jumping in. Here are 5 rules for putting in a sight-unseen offer.

#1: Have Your Finances in Order

Cash speaks volumes to most sellers. In our competitive real estate market, we see cash offers winning bids most of the time.

Some Buyers are moving money over from other types of accounts and/or opening lines of credit on their existing properties in order to have access to enough money to make a cash offer on homes today.

If you are not in a position to make a cash offer, it is imperative that you work with a mortgage broker ahead of time and get full pre-approval to purchase a new property.

This means providing all of your financials (bank statements, tax returns, credit score, etc.) and receiving approval up to an approved purchase price from your lender.

Some Buyers are offering pre-qualification letters with their offers which just show that they’ve talked to a lender but have yet to provide documentation. These letters are worth the paper they’re written on and will typically not win you the home when up against multiple offers.

#2: Depend on Your Realtor

Working with a dependable Realtor is always a good strategy for landing the home you want when putting in a sight-unseen offer.

Finding a Realtor you can trust will give you excellent advice on the property you are unable to see. A knowledgeable Realtor who can provide insight on the neighborhood, value, the home’s condition, and can provide walk-through videos and additional photos of the property.

If you and your Realtor have already spent time looking at areas and homes together, your Realtor will have an understanding of what you are looking for and your tolerance for repairs or cosmetic changes.

Check out our “What $500,000 Gets You in the High Country” blog to see our agents’ local understanding of property value is in action.

#3: Use a Home Inspector

It’s also even more important to select an experienced and trustworthy home inspector to identify any major issues that the sellers may not have known about and to identify any repairs you want to ask the sellers to make prior to closing. You will probably want to have additional types of inspections done, as well, such as radon, pest, wells, and septic.

#4: Utilize People You Know in the Area

If possible, you should have someone in the area view the property before you make a sight-unseen offer.

Do you have friends, family, or co-workers relatively close by? They will often have a deeper understanding of your likes or dislikes and can get a better ‘feel’ for how you would like the home.

#5: Ask Questions

If you haven’t seen the property you want to put an offer on yet, you probably have a lot of questions. Before you make a sight-unseen offer, have your Realtor ask the homeowner any additional questions you may have.

Based on the online listing information and photos, you can come up with a lot of things to ask. This could include neighborhood restrictions, the home’s features, appliances, heating and air, water and sewer systems, design characteristics, and existing or potential renovations.

#6: Visit During the Due Diligence Period

Once under contract, you will have the opportunity to visit the home during your due diligence period.

During this period, you will have all inspections performed as well as give your lender time to move the loan forward. You will also be able to decide, for certain, that this is the home for you.

If you change your mind about purchasing the home, be sure to cancel within this due diligence time frame.

Your Virtual Home Buying Experience

If you’ve done your homework, are working with an experienced Realtor and inspectors, and have taken the time to view all photos, videos and ask all of your questions, you will find the virtual home buying experience to be quite fun and will come out with the home of your dreams!

About the Author

A Realtor® in Boone and the High Country since 2003, (15 years – wow!), I am passionate about offering a superior level of service, innovative marketing and a highly personalized, boutique-style experience to my clientele. I started my real estate career as an Investor and was Broker-In-Charge of my own firm upon moving to Boone. Since that time, I have excelled with other real estate firms and built a strong network of client friends. Together with my network of professionals such as mortgage, insurance, inspection companies, etc. and my own Professional Home Staging business, (https://www.facebook.com/CenterStagedHomes/), we will polish your home buying/selling experience with your goals as a priority. I’ve lived all over the United States from the NE to the SE and California before landing in Boone, NC. You’ve seen the signs, “The mountains are calling and I must go?” Well, that was me 15 years ago! I love bluegrass music and, it seems, many of the great pickers were born in NC with a guitar in their hands! I sing, play a little mandolin and keyboards and you can be found at outdoor festivals and concerts when I’m not showing property! I also participate in many of our area’s outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to kayaking- the New river is my summer home! Caring for the needs of High Country residents is also very important to me and through Cornerstone Summit Church’s ‘Trenches’ team, I serve in many ways from preparing and serving meals at the Hospitality House to School Events to Habitat for Humanity Home Builds. In addition, I am honored to serve our community as a Certified Guardian ad Litem, advocating for children in the courtroom.

The High Country of North Carolina is unique, with large second home and student populations driving much of the market. It’s important that you work with a Realtor® like myself who is experienced and educated in the area, guaranteeing our success together. The acronyms behind my Broker title are not just letters - they stand for something;

GRI - Graduate of the Realtor Institute. Brokers holding this designation have completed 12, 3 day courses over a period of 2 years or more for in-depth training.

ABR - Accredited Buyer's Agent. An (ABR®) designation means your Realtor® has made extra efforts to raise the bar, with additional courses and proven experience in serving BUYERS.

SFR - Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certification. Short sales and foreclosures are not for the faint of heart and the courses I've taken arm me with the knowledge to assist clients in this area.

My business approach is founded on building lasting relationships based upon commitment and trust and the majority of my business comes in the way of referrals from past clients. Make me Your Realtor of Choice and work with a person you can trust to take your needs to heart and to find the perfect property for YOU in the HIGH COUNTRY!