Buying sight unseen: the good and the bad

Sight Unseen III


Buying sight unseen screams out ‘danger’. Despite the advent of many research tools online, it’s still considered a risky strategy. So why do some successfully use and advocate it? You’ve probably heard that investing in property is mostly a numbers game. You crunch the numbers. If they look good, then you should take a closer look. You make your decision based on why you are investing and how this property fits with your investment goals.

Investors are commonly told that emotion has nothing to do with the investment potential of an asset. Even so, when you’re buying a property worth several hundred thousand dollars, would you risk not seeing before buying?

Buying sight unseen reduces the emotional tie that might otherwise cloud your judgment and allows you to focus on whether the numbers stack up or not.

This means you make decisions based purely on facts and figures, rather than being swayed by insignificant aesthetics such as the colour of the paint.

Seeing the property could influence your judgment and you may end up paying more or rejecting a perfectly good investment.

Not having to go and inspect every property you’re interested in also saves you time that you could use to focus on doing the necessary due diligence.

A big risk when buying sight unseen is that you might not get what you thought you were paying for.
The photos may not necessarily show potential problems such as the view you were promised – which ends up overlooking a car park. Beyond the lush green backyard may lurk a high voltage power line which is going to impact the value of the property.

The good news is that these days, you have access to a lot more data and information to help you make your investment decision. Google maps and street views, among other things, are now available so you can take a closer look at the property you’re interested in.

The best way to reduce your risk is to enlist the help of professionals and people you trust to check the place out for you.

  1. Get an independent building inspection done prior to the auction or as a condition of your offer.
  2. Obtain a list of recent sales in the area to give you an idea as to whether the vendor’s price expectations are in line with current market activity. This can either be obtained via a real estate salesperson or through an independent organisation like QV.
  3. Call the local council to see what developments have been approved in the area, in particular in the street and neighbourhood you’re interested in.
  4. Send someone you trust to inspect the property on your behalf. It doesn’t matter how much research you do on the property remotely, there are just certain things you can never find out without physically inspecting or at least taking a drive by the property.

Yes, it may cost you a few hundred dollars and your time. However, if you’re going to hold the property for a number of years, don’t you want to make sure you could live with your decision in peace?

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About Peter Griffioen

Peter Griffioen - or simply Griff to those who know him - has an established reputation as a high-producing Harcourts Canterbury salesperson. With a focused approach to customer service you can rest assured that you are in good hands, whether it be a relaxed chat about the state of the market or an in-depth discussion regarding your next property transaction. The key advantage of engaging Team Griff’s services is their local knowledge and experience. Currently in this post-seismic era, it is vital to have true professionals working on your behalf, ensuring that you are guided through the process professionally and with a caring approach. The advent of the ‘as is, where is’ market means specialised expertise are required and Team Griff has taken it on themselves to both understand and explain the pros and cons of this now accepted sale/purchase option. For over 26 years the Griff brand has become synonymous with achieving results. Griff now prides himself with his five member team and takes much satisfaction from empowering them to both achieve and reach their own goals. A team with a proven track record placed with the highest ranking Harcourts Million Dollar Club members, exceeding the $275m level. Such accomplishments highlight the team’s exceptional marketing and negotiating skills. Team Griff are recognised as industry leaders for their online presence and regular blog posts of current and relevant real estate information. E-marketing and readily available property specific detailed info means Team Griff’s clients have the edge when it comes to selling their homes, not forgetting purchasers who benefit first hand. A simple Google search says it all – the Griff brand ranking with the most frequent. Griff’s life focus extends beyond business, with quality time and fun being high priorities, while mountain biking, boating and fishing provide that vital time out. His Christian faith is his anchor for daily living, and his community is important to him. For a team approach to optimize the result for your next property transaction, be sure to talk to this award winning team - synonymous with hard work and results! Griff and his trusted team welcome your enquiry today.

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