More Buyers Gamble With Sight-Unseen Offers

February 27, 2018

Thirty-five percent of home buyers who purchased a home in November and December said they made an offer on the home without seeing it first in person, according to a newly released survey of more than 1,500 home purchasers conducted by the real estate brokerage Redfin. That is up from 33 percent in May 2017 and from 19 percent in June 2016.

By age group, millennial home buyers are the most likely to make an offer on a home without visiting it first, at 45 percent, researchers found. Younger adults may be more comfortable with relying on information they find online about properties for sale and the neighborhoods, researchers note.

For buyers who can’t see the property in person first, some real estate professionals are relying on FaceTime video call tours or 3-D virtual tour programs to give them a better idea of the interiors. Angela Hunter, a real estate professional in Omaha, recalls helping a family expecting a child to relocate from Jacksonville, Fla., to Bellevue, Neb. She used video tours to show them properties in the area.

“While conducting video tours with them, I was very careful to explain things that they would not be able to experience virtually, like the sounds, smells, and textures,” Hunter says. “I pointed out flaws that are hard to detect through video so that nothing would be a surprise to them once they visited in person. It’s not the easiest way to shop for a home, but together we found the perfect match.”

Source: “Sight-Unseen in 2017: 35% of Homebuyers Bid on a Home Before Seeing it in Person,” Redfin (Feb. 26, 2018)