Purchasing a Home Sight Unseen: Pros and Cons

1000 500 Sam Radbil

While most people are staying put during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may actually have to think of buying a house during coronavirus. Maybe you actually got a new job in another part of the country, or possibly you just want to get out of a hotspot area like New York City. Or, a once-in-a-lifetime deal has been presented to you, but you would have to move on it quickly.

 While you have always been conservative in all facets of previous home purchasing, you may really feel that you have to buy a property that you will not have the ability to personally and carefully inspect. What are the pros and cons of making such a move and buying a home during coronavirus?

The Potential Problems

The main issue with buying a house you have only viewed on various real estate is that those beautiful sky blue and orange-lit pics have been photoshopped to represent the home in the best possible manner.

kitchen with island and table

Careful use of photo editing techniques can hide a lot of flaws, and if you just depend on website home pictures, you might be seriously disappointed when you finally arrive at your new house. To avoid these problems that can occur when buying a house during coronavirus, check out the following things you can do to avoid costly disappointment.

Check Out a Lot of Online Listings

When attempting to go through the process of buying a house during coronavirus, get familiar with the online shopping process. First, type in the address of the property and see how many different listings you can find.

Sometimes you can find a generic older listing that will give you a different property view. Also, try to find the addresses of the properties on either side of the one you are interested in as locating these may show you additional views.

Video Tour

Demand a video tour. Or some type of virtual tour, at the least. If the sellers are not set up to do this professionally, they can do a FaceTime version where you could ask questions as the tour happens. The sellers could also take smartphone videos and email them to you.

Check Out the Neighborhood

A free-standing single-family home might look great, but if it is located next to a used tire shop, for example, you may not want to purchase that home.

top view photo of houses

Aerial Google views will be a great help here as you can scope out the area that surrounds the home you are thinking of purchasing.

Get the Best inspector You Can Find

Sure, a picky home inspector can kill a deal, but some deals need to be killed. If there are glaring difficulties, maybe like a roof issue, that could cause your lender to back out, or worse, could cost you thousands of dollars after the sale has been completed, you want these issues out in the open before you even think of closing the deal. A good home inspection can cost at least $500, and even though you as the buyer must pay for this, it’s worth it.

Find a Friend

If there is any way you can locate a friend or acquaintance in the general area of your proposed home purchase, it’s possible that they can take a look for you. The more people you can find to check out your property, the better off you’ll be.

Use a Lawyer 

We realize that there are excellent state-approved forms that are a great help to those that want to use DIY paperwork. Also, the lender’s attorneys will carefully look at closing documents since it’s in their interest to protect you.

person holding pencil near laptop computer

That said, there are protections that can be afforded you in any offer to purchase, but you have to know how to correctly word these documents. For example, a financing contingency can expire, and you can unknowingly obligate yourself to purchase a property even if you think you could get out of the deal if your loan falls through. Therefore, especially when buying a home during coronavirus, use the services of a good real estate attorney.

Real Estate Agent

Be sure to find a top-quality Realtor or real estate agent that will represent you as the buyer.

selective photo of gray key with heart key chain

A hard-working real estate professional can view the home, write up an offer to purchase that will be ready for your attorney’s review and will be someone that will protect your interest—not the seller.

Take the Surprises in Stride

Finally, remember that no matter how much diligence you do, you still will probably find an issue that has eluded you. Maybe there will be a tiny mold spot above the shower or previously unseen crack in an inconspicuous window. These issues can be minor, so don’t sweat the small stuff when you finally are able to move in.

red blocks on brown wooden table

Buying a house during coronavirus definitely presents unique challenges, but if you systematically and diligently evaluate a property, and if you are sure to pay attention to the tips we have mentioned, you can successfully buy a house sight unseen.