22% of Recent Buyers Made This Risky Move

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  • Today's competitive housing market is forcing buyers to act quickly or lose out on the chance to purchase a home.
  • Some buyers have purchased a home sight unseen to avoid losing out on the opportunity.

It's a route you may not want to take.

Today's housing market is extremely competitive. The reason? Inventory is sitting at a low, and until new properties hit the market, buyers have to duke it out for the limited options that are available. 

That's created a world of stress for buyers -- and driven them to make rash decisions in the course of purchasing a home. In a new HomeLight survey, 22% of recent buyers wound up making an offer on a home without actually seeing it in person. But that's a mistake you might end up regretting. 

A dangerous move

In today's housing market, buyers can't simply check out a home, think about it for a few days, and make an offer 72 hours later. Chances are, by then, the home will be gone. In fact, some homes have been flying off the market before they've reached the point of having an open house. That's forced buyers to have to make certain concessions in an effort to get an offer accepted.

Some recent buyers, for example, have made offers well above a home's asking price. Others have waived home inspections -- another dangerous move. But 22% have gone so far as to commit to buying a home without actually visiting it first. And that's a downright scary notion.

As much as online listings do a good job of highlighting homes' features, they don't tell the whole story. And the real estate agents that put those listings together are very good at selling homes and making them look appealing.

But a home that appears to be in great shape based on its photos and virtual tour may not, in reality, be in as good condition. That's something you won't know about until you see it in person. 

Also, virtual tours can be set up to make a home seem more spacious than it really is. If you don't see a given property in person before committing to buying it, you might end up with a setup you're not happy with.

That's why making an offer sight unseen is something you should avoid doing. You should, at the very least, aim to attend an open house or take a private tour of a home before putting down a deposit to buy it. And while that could mean losing out to another buyer who's willing to be more impulsive, it could also mean saving yourself a world of stress and disappointment if the home in question isn't what you expect it to be.

Other ways to stay competitive

If you need an edge in today's housing market, don't assume that making an offer on a home the second its listing goes up is the only option. One simple step that will give you a leg up is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Though pre-approval is not the same thing as a mortgage itself, it sends the message to sellers that you're a serious buyer whose finances have already been looked at by a mortgage lender

Unfortunately, you might face a world of competition in the housing market until more inventory hits. You can do your best to beat out fellow buyers, but don't resort to buying a home without first paying it a visit.

Our Research Expert

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