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Why Buying a House Without Viewing it is a Very High-Risk Shortcut

Once upon a time, if you realised you were short on lightbulbs or socks, you had to go and buy them in person. Nowadays, much of the shopping we do is at the touch of a button. Click, click, add to basket, done.

If that wasn’t easy enough, whatever you’ve ordered will generally appear at your front door the following day, packaged in polythene and brown cardboard. Though we’re not quite at the point of drones appearing overhead within seconds of hitting buy, we’re probably not far off.

All this buying convenience probably makes it difficult to understand how complicated it is to buy a house. Even once you’ve found the right one and all parties are in agreement, the idea that it’d all be done and dusted the next day (or to be honest, even the next month) seems about as likely as being carried off by one of those drones.

Buying property is a long-winded process. It takes time to find the right place, then more time still for all the contract checks and searches. (And that’s before we’ve even mentioned the matter of the chain). So, yes, we appreciate how attractive shortcuts can seem. But we do have to point out that offering on a property without viewing it is inadvisable.

And again, yes, we know that in many cases this is hardly a whim. There may be perfectly reasonable factors leading to this sort of decision. Maybe you’re based at the other end of the country, or maybe you’re fed up of being pipped to the post. When there are far more house hunters than there are houses to be hunted, it may be tempting to pull the trigger as quickly as you can.

This tactic probably works out perfectly well some of the time. Don’t we all know someone whose friend’s cousin bought an idyllic farmhouse via video tour in lockdown and has never been happier?! But then again… what about the times it doesn’t?

When you buy a property sight unseen, you’re relying on the way the estate agent has marketed it. Can any of us, hand on heart, say we’ve never been taken in by a wide-angled lens or a carefully cropped shot?

Repeat after us: you can’t smell damp on Right Move, you can’t hear motorway noise on Zoopla, 360º virtual tours don’t allow you to zoom in enough to check the quality of finishes or any of the other things we have listed in our property viewing checklist.

In short, buying a property without at least one viewing (preferably two!) is a very high-risk strategy. Though the rewards could no doubt be fantastic if you did end up with your dream home, what are the odds of that happening? We’d wager you’re more likely to find yourself legally and financially bound to a stinker.

If you’re keen to make the process of buying a property more manageable, may we suggest you do so in an altogether more sensible and – we admit it! – old fashioned way? Give us a call and we’ll talk you through how we can help or you can view our Purchasing Property e-book to get started.

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