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5 tips for buying a house sight unseen

Blog by Kim Twohey | August 17th, 2017

I recently had the pleasure of working with a Buyer who bought a house in Calgary without setting foot in the city!  While this is not a typical Buyer experience, it does happen and there are a few things you can do to make sure the process is smooth and that you end up with a house you love.

Narrow your criteria

When house hunting from a distance, you will have the most success if you have a good idea of what you are looking for.  As much as possible, know your budget, your preferred area, and features that are must-haves.  Share this information with your Realtor, along with any deal breakers that could affect the house hunting process. 

Pick the right Realtor

Be sure to choose the right Realtor to help you during this process.  There are a few different things you can do to ensure you make a good choice. 

-          Get a referral from someone you trust.

-          Ask for and check the Realtor’s references.

-          Choose a Realtor who really listens to you.

-          Use a Realtor that has in-depth knowledge of your preferred area and who is familiar with the type of housing you are looking for.

Use technology

Now, more than ever, Buyers can virtually experience house tours thanks to technology.  Use various technological tools available to help with your long-distance house hunt.  You can FaceTime with your Realtor as they tour homes.  A quick Google search can show you area maps and detailed street views.  Social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, can yield even more information via community pages alongside videos of neighbourhoods and local businesses.

Get a home inspection

When you cannot view a property before purchasing, it is decidedly important to get a thorough home inspection.  Your Realtor should also attend the inspection so they can see first-hand any issues or concerns that you need to be aware of.  Hire a home inspector that is willing to put together a detailed report and take the time to review it with you over the phone.

Use a Realtor who is willing to go above and beyond

You are trusting a Realtor with a big investment.  They should be willing to go above and beyond their regular duties to help ensure the process goes smoothly and successfully.  Look for a Realtor who is willing to do things like schedule required tradespeople, arrange and attend estimates, and follow up to ensure that work is being completed as promised.   

I had a great time helping my client buy a house sight unseen.  I found that open, honest, and regular communication was key throughout the process.  I hope you find these tips helpful if you are getting ready to purchase a home without seeing it first!