Is buying blind ever a good idea? With more homebuyers snapping up rural properties they haven’t visited, we ask how to minimise the risks
- With homes selling faster than ever, the onus is on the buyer to act swiftly
- Escalation of purchasers ‘buying unseen’ in rural hotspots during lockdowns
- Buying unseen may seem foolhardy, but there are some ways to minimise risks
The fundamental rules when buying a home have always been to check the building and its location thoroughly and make several visits before signing on the dotted line. Yet in today’s property market that kind of safety-first thinking is a thing of the past.
‘Buying unseen is the most dramatic Covid-driven property trend we’ve seen,’ says Ed Jephson of Stacks Property Search. ‘It’s happening because the huge demand for rural properties exceeds supply.’ With homes selling as fast as they come up for sale — and in many cases before they make a public appearance — the onus is on the buyer to act swiftly. Jephson has seen an escalation of purchasers ‘buying unseen’ in the expensive hotspots of Devon such as Dartmouth and the villages on its estuary.
However, this is by no means a local phenomenon.
An estimated 53,700 households have moved from the city to the countryside in the past year according to Hamptons International and it is going on nationwide. ‘I’d say one-in-ten buyers bid blind now,’ says Jo Ashby, of John Bray estate agents who sell property in north Cornwall. ‘Many know the area from holidaying here, but they’ll bid for a house without having viewed it.’
In Pembrokeshire, where prices do not compare to the south-west peninsular, the story is the same.
‘Buying unseen has been going on constantly in West Wales since the first lockdown,’ says Carol Peett, of West Wales Property Finders http://www.westwalespropertyfinders.co.uk.
‘I viewed a property in Saundersfoot for a client the minute it went on the market and by the time I had driven back to the office — a 20-minute trip — it had gone under offer from someone who had not seen it.’
Buying unseen may seem like a foolhardy way of purchasing the most expensive item most of us will buy in our lives. After all, property details are written by estate agents, whose job it is to sell the property for the vendor, not to protect the buyer.
However, there are ways of minimising the risk…………
……..Not all such long-distance deals go smoothly. ‘I met a lady last week whose daughter in Dubai had bought a property in Narberth, sight unseen,’ says Peett.
‘After the purchase, the mother had come down to see the house and was shocked at the amount of work that needed to be done.
‘She was also unable to park outside; something that wouldn’t have been obvious from the internet details.’
Is buying unseen ever worth the risk? ‘It isn’t a recommended buying method for 99 per cent of buyers,’ says Jephson.
‘It’s not for the faint-hearted; buyers require nerves of steel, deep pockets and an overwhelming desire to own a specific property.
‘But with prices on an upward spiral there’s significant protection from making a big financial mistake.
‘For those who don’t have the luxury of being able to look at a property, providing they do their research, it doesn’t have to be as crazy an idea as it sounds.’
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/property/article-9576085/Leap-look-Buying-blind-new-normal-homeowners.html The Daily Mail – 14th May 2021
If you are looking to buy a property in Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion or Carmarthenshire and do not want to take the risk of buying sight unseen, give West Wales Property Finders a call on 01834 862816. Around 90% of the properties we have found for our clients over the past 17 years never hit the open market, thereby giving them the pick of the crop. We are also on the ground in the local area so able to view properties that come onto the market quickly on behalf of our clients and report on them with warts and all photographs; thus cutting out any risk of buying unseen.