Would you buy a home, likely the largest purchase you'll make during your lifetime, without seeing it first? According to an annual study by Redfin, one in three recent homebuyers bought their home sight unseen, walls untouched and floors not walked.
The specific question asked of the 3,350 survey respondents: "Did you, at any point in your search process, make an offer on a home you hadn't seen in person?" Thirty–three percent of all respondents answered "yes." What's even more interesting than the large percentage, is the response breakdown by generation and the recent rise in this trend.
Interestingly, Millennials top the list with 41% making offers before seeing the house. Gen–Xers follow at nearly 30%, and lastly, Baby Boomers at 12% — still a significant number.
Last year, 19% of respondents said they would buy a house sight unseen. The large jump to this year's 33% is worth noting, as is the reason.
Why are so many homebuyers apt to buy without physically seeing the property first? It boils down to two things:
- Technology. Video tours, interactive 3D photography and technology like FaceTime help these buyers visualize the space, lighting, views and finishes in ways that photography can't.
- Time. Homes sold at record pace last year and it was a very competitive market — often not granting enough time for a homebuyer to view the property before losing out. This is especially true for buyers moving from another state or country.
A final interesting fact from: Buyers of high–end homes, $750,000 and up, were almost twice as likely to have made offers on homes sight unseen.
As you can imagine, there is some level of risk in buying a home sight unseen. Which is why a home inspection should not be skipped, and an inspection contingency is a smart idea. Back to the benefit of technology, did you know that home inspectors can now live stream inspections, allowing buyers to ask questions along the way.
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