Buying

We Bought a Home Sight Unseen (And Here’s What We Learned)

Sometimes, you don’t have the luxury of taking your time and leisurely shopping for homes, visiting all the local open houses in the areas you’re interested in and discussing the possible candidates to go view again.

Since we listed our house, buyers had snatched it up in about 24 hours. Now what? It was time to move again.

We had been through 7 different houses in our short 4 years of marriage and quite frankly, I was sick of it. It had become instinct to tell my wife to put her laptop away and stop looking at houses. Now we were desperate to do so again and hopefully it would be for the very last time.

Our need to be with friends and family and our growing business forced us to move to the other part of the country, but we honestly thought our house might enjoy its listing experience a little bit longer than a day.

Heck, we shouldn’t be complaining, right?!

So, we threw ourselves into home listings and poured over our options based on budget and location. We were also not looking for a place that had been remodeled. After all, as designers, that was our job.

We printed out maps of neighborhoods and marked the parks and shopping centres. We sent family members to go view the properties we liked and worked with a great real estate agent to look at houses on our behalf. My parents divided up the tasks of measuring the rooms and touring the neighborhood. Any and all information we received would help us.

To cut a long story short, we walked through our new home the day before registration. I had driven out in advance whilst my husband packed our last few things. We had loads of work ahead of us.

There was an aroma of clogged garbage filtering through the kitchen window and the dining room was a lot smaller than we had imagined. You learn afterwards that there are just some things photos can’t show you in an honest light.

Yet, even with these surprises and ‘small’ architectural glitches, we love our new home. We could deal with those smaller issues and took care of them. I think buying a home sight unseen is do-able if you are willing to deal with change and put in the extra work, especially if you have support from people you trust.

And I already told my husband we are not moving again. Thankfully he agreed with me (this time).

If you are contemplating buying a home sight unseen, here are a few tips I could lend to you to make your experience a little less stressful:

Embrace the marketing folder

Buying a home requires a lot of paperwork.

Go to the stationery store and get the brightest, most horrendous folder you can get. This way you won’t lose track of the documentation you still have to submit.

Do ask to send lots of different views

Listing photos don’t always capture everything, but luckily in this day and age, there are plenty of social media tools available which can be used to give you a new perspective on those Photoshopped listing photos!

Just ask your real estate agent to take a few pictures while he’s visiting the property, or do a Facebook Live video as he’s walking through the property. And while he’s at it, you might as well ask him for a video showing the entire street view from the house!

Do try to physically sketch out the new house

To get a better idea of how big the house is and how large each room of the house actually is, get a sketch out of the layout.

Ideally, you can get your hands on a copy of the floor plan as well as the exact dimensions of the house before you make any further plans.

Don’t forget to take care of Number One

Moving can be stressful, but don’t forget to do the important things too.

Don’t fall out of routine. If you go to the gym in the mornings, continue doing this. Catch a movie and coffee with a friend.

This stabilization is exactly what you need in order to combat feeling overwhelmed.

Don’t oversell it in your head

Walking into an empty house after seeing pictures can be a reality check. The room’s dimensions won’t always be what you thought it would be.

But don’t worry, once your furniture is moved in, it’ll look like home soon enough.

We hope by sharing our personal experience that it will help you with the process of buying a home sight unseen!

Good luck!


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