Buying sight unseen

Should I Buy a House Sight Unseen?

Generally, the regular process of purchasing a home is for a buyer to view it, make a purchase decision and go through the offer process. 

Some buyers are, however, willing to take the risk of purchasing homes without seeing them first. 

For a variety of reasons, these buyers and investors are willing to skip the regular buying process, relying instead on MLS descriptions, Internet photos and virtual tours.  

In some situations, the buyer is looking for something so specific that in a fast-moving market similar to what we are seeing in the Okanagan right now, the buyer may not have time to jump in the car and drive for six hours or purchase a plane ticket before other offers are already being submitted on the property. 

If they need to act fast, sometimes putting in a sight unseen offer is the only way. 

Although this is something our team does not generally recommend, there are some ways that you can protect yourself should you wish to make an offer without viewing a property first. 

The first way is to write an offer “subject to viewing” or at the very least have a friend or family member view on your behalf. This way a buyer may generally have anywhere from a few days to a week to view the property, while securing their offer is in first position. 

If there are multiple offers on a property, this strategy may not work as it is at best a “maybe” offer for the seller, however it is the only way to truly protect yourself as buyer. 

Another option is to write an offer “subject to approval of a professional home inspection." A thorough home inspection will inform the buyer of any major issues with the property and offers a buyer another level of protection. 

Lastly, the buyer can enlist the services of a trustworthy, full-time, professional realtor to do a walk through of the property using technology to point out the good, the bad and the potentially ugly. 

Facetime, Skype or even a thorough walk-through video can speak volumes and will help protect the buyer from any unsuspected surprises. 

However, a personal walk through is the only way to be certain that you love the house, the yard, the neighbours and the area. 


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More Just Add Salt! articles

About the Author

Lisa Salt is a Vernon born Realtor® who, along with her husband Gord Fowler from Calgary, lead one of the most successful and dynamic real estate teams in the North Okanagan. 

An international clay target shooting champion, Lisa brought the attributes of hard work and diligent focus to the real estate industry to create the success she and her team have today. 

To experience the local knowledge and expertise that only someone born and raised in the Okanagan can offer, call Lisa today and 'Just Add Salt'.

Website link:   http://www.saltfowler.com

Contact e-mail address:  [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories