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8 Apr 2017
The idea of buying a home sight unseen is most likely not your first choice. Normally, I would not recommend buying a home until you’ve walked through it and around it yourself. But the Sequim real estate market is a strong seller’s market with a very low inventory, and demand far exceeds supply. Buyers from around the United States are watching the Sequim real estate market closely, and this means by the time you arrive in Sequim, the home you saw in the MLS and planned to see is probably sold.
I’ve helped nearly a dozen clients purchase homes sight unseen. As a buyer you will have to rely on your buyer’s agent to do everything you would do and a lot more. I just sold a home sight unseen this week to a couple from New York. Here’s how we did it.
For months my clients searched the local listings using the best Sequim MLS site, which includes every home for sale in Sequim and Port Angeles and the entire county. I recommend this site because it is much more accurate than Zillow, and in this market, you need accurate information on homes. As my clients planned their trip to Sequim, they saved their favorites. Unfortunately the homes on their short list were all selling before they could get here.
They were under a lot of stress, because they had already sold their own home in New York, and the closing date was coming soon. They had to be out of that home, and would be driving to Sequim with a big moving truck full of everything they owned, but they had no place to live, and every home they liked was selling before they could even see it.
Here’s what I did. When they found a home in the MLS that looked good, they called me to discuss it. I told them everything about the area around the home, the views in that location, well or septic issues in the area, wetlands issues, and highway traffic noise. We looked at Google Satellite while I described the area. Then I previewed the home and called them back to walk them through every room in the house and all around the house. I described what they would see, including details like lighting in various rooms, light switches that don’t work, the quality of the trim and paint, the size of the kitchen pantry, the heating system, the condition of the roof, and much more.
Since I already had spent time with my clients on the phone and looking at listings they liked, I learned exactly what they wanted and their personal preferences for their ideal home. So when I previewed a home, I was able to describe the positives and negatives based on my client’s own thinking process. But I also shared everything, including every negative about the property and the area. They had to know everything before even thinking about making an offer sight unseen.
Weeks went by, and homes kept getting filtered out. Then one morning my client called to tell me a new home showed up in the MLS (they had set up daily email alerts on Sequim-Homes.com). I went through the same process with them I had on the other homes, and I went and previewed it.
This home was exactly what they had been hoping for, and it was gorgeous. After debriefing them on the phone on everything about the area and my own preview of the home, I shared with them the results of my CMA (comparative market analysis). Before I drafted an offer, I wanted them to be confident of the true fair market value of this home, especially if they were about to buy a Sequim home sight unseen.
Since the market is so hot, the best homes in the best areas sell quickly. There are many buyers watching the Sequim MLS intensely for the ideal home to show up. I told my clients when they do find the ideal home, they should submit an offer immediately, or someone else would.
Some Realtors will not draft an offer sight unseen. They feel uncomfortable with the liabilities, but because what I do is very thorough, my clients know exactly what they are getting into. I also include a home inspection addendum with time for my clients to come and see the home before they make a final decision. In other words, my clients always have a back door to terminate, although not one client has ever terminated. Every single client has said almost the same words when they arrive and see the home for the first time, “It’s everything I hoped it would be.”
Once we had mutual acceptance on price and terms, we went into the “due diligence” period prior to closing. That’s when I also step in to attend the home inspection, the well inspection, and the septic inspection. Since these buyers were unable to be here for the inspections, I step in their shoes and do everything they would do if they were here.
In this market, I think it’s critical that you have a buyer’s agent who can do all this for you. Otherwise, you may miss out on your ideal home, and what will you do if you have no place to live? Clients are hiring me months and sometimes years before they intend to buy a home, so please make sure you are on my schedule by registering on Sequim-Homes.com or emailing me at ChuckMarunde@gmail.com or calling me at 360-775-5424.
By the time my clients get to closing, everything is done right, and buying a home sight unseen for my clients may be the only way they were able to purchase this perfect home, sight unseen.
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