Have you ever wondered why it’s normal to buy things online, sight unseen? You won’t know if a dress fits until you try it on when it arrives. You don’t know how loud the sound system will be until you plug it in. If our online purchase doesn’t work out, we can simply return it. Even if you’re buying a car online, most online dealers will give you a short window where you can try the car to see if you like it. If you don’t, you can return that as well.
That doesn’t work when you’re buying a house sight unseen though. Despite the inability to “return” a real estate purchase, that didn’t stop 22% of homebuyers in the United States from buying a house sight unseen in 2022. Sounds crazy, right?
Why do people do it? Why would someone buy a house without ever stepping a foot inside of it?
The days of low-interest rates are coming to an end and people are feeling the pressure to buy a house now, or else they’ll have rates that could add a couple of hundred dollars to their monthly mortgage payment. For those who are selling their homes, it’s a great time because those eager buyers are doing whatever they can to make sure their offer is accepted.
As a result of this, housing prices increased by 20% just between September 2020 to September 2021. That’s a huge increase – larger than the increase that resulted in the 2008 housing crash! Does that mean this market is going to suffer the same fate? Time will tell…
An iBuyer company is a kind of like Carvana in that it has made buying and selling homes a lot easier. Of the people who purchased their homes sight unseen, 64% relied on listing photos and 36% relied on virtual open houses to shop for houses. iBuyers and online housing marketplaces make it easy to look for houses that meet their needs, thanks to the extensive search filters some of them offer.
Also, buying a house via an online housing marketplace allows you to choose a closing date and sign documents digitally, which makes everything much more convenient – especially for buyers who are relocating to a new state.
Buying sight unseen is a gamble
Shopping online is a gamble, regardless of what it is that you’re buying. However, buying a house sight unseen other than photos online and maybe a virtual walkthrough is… the ultimate gamble. The photos can make you fall in love with the property. The virtual walkthrough can give you an idea of the flow of the house. Heck, even the home inspection will let you know if the house requires a lot of work.
But the one thing you can’t get when you buy this way is that feeling of “home.” Sometimes when you walk into a house, you can tell instantly that this is going to be yours forever home. Buying online simply robs you of that experience and you may experience buyers remorse when you start moving in.
Is that a chance you’re willing to take?