Buying a house is an exciting moment in our lives. For some, it’s a pivotal moment in our lives where we are one step closer to achieving the “American Dream.” In a way, buying a house is almost like a rite of passage.
Usually, when people are buying a house, they’ll go to open houses and talk to a real estate agent to help them find their perfect dream home. It’s a long and drawn-out process that can weigh on a person – especially in today’s market where cash is king and housing prices are sky-high. However, according to a report published by HomeLight, 22% of homebuyers bypassed the entire process and bought their homes sight unseen!
If you’re considering following suit and buying a house without stepping a foot inside of it first, here are four things you need to know.
1. Hire a real estate agent
Since you can’t be there in person to walk through the house, hire a real estate agent! They are going to be your advocate in this process and you need to hire someone you trust. You can vet agents by reading online reviews, asking them questions about their experience, and even asking for references.
2. Use all the tools available
Using technology in a real estate transaction is a commonplace nowadays, but it’s even more critical to use every available tool you can if you’re buying sight unseen. Don’t be afraid to ask the agent you’re working with to use video conferencing and walk you through the property, inside and out. Use Google Street View to get a look at the property and neighborhood. Join Facebook groups for that area and talk to members to learn more about the community you’re considering moving to.
3. Ask for a floor plan
A floor plan may not be available, but it’s still an important thing to at least ask about. The floorplan will show you the layout of the house, but also room dimensions so you can determine if your belongings will fit or if you’ll need to downsize.
If a floor plan isn’t available, ask your real estate agent to take measurements of the rooms. You can then plug the dimensions into a tool like FloorPlanner.com to help you visualize your new home.
4. Always get an appraisal and home inspection
Since you’re buying a house sight unseen, you cannot bypass the appraisal and home inspection process. These tasks will pull back the proverbial curtain and reveal the home’s true value to see if the house is worth what the seller is asking for. The home inspection is going to reveal any problems with the house and can be used as a bargaining chip during negotiations. Of course, if there are a lot of issues with the house, you have a way out of the contract without being penalized.
Buying a house sight unseen is becoming more and more common, but you need to do your due diligence. This is a huge investment that will have a big impact on your life and finances. Always do your homework and hire a real estate agent for expert insight and advice!
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