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Making informed decisions when buying blind

1st April 2021

Buying blind or sight unseen means making an offer on a property for sale without having visited the house or flat to undertake a viewing. Although it’s quite commonplace amoung overseas buyers – with a reported 20% of prime London homes bought sight unseen by international purchasers at the end of 2020 – the myriad of tools and resources available are giving more UK home movers the confidence to speculate without seeing first.

In fact, the pandemic’s harsh lockdowns forced the hand of many home movers who’ve needed to relocate, trade up or downsize, forcing them to buy quickly and buy blind – especially if they wanted to complete on a purchase to benefit from a reduced stamp duty bill.

Now, with the stamp duty holiday extended, 5% deposit mortgages guaranteed by the Government and the desire to move to coastal and countryside locations showing no signs of abating, a new dimension is being added to the UK property market – increased buyer competition.

If you see a property for sale that catches your eye – whether that’s listed on an internet portal or in the catalogue of an online auction - you may find other purchasers are just as keen and want to beat you to it. What happens if there’s no time to travel to see a property before an offer needs submitting?

Don’t panic, as we reveal how you can make more informed, decisive buying decisions without visiting a property in person.

  • Study all the photos in detail: thankfully the days of one grainy black and white photo to accompany a listing are long gone. Buyers usually have a gallery of well-presented colour images to assess, depicting details and natural light. You may even have a video to watch or virtual tour to take.
  • Examine the floorplan & room dimensions: while there are consumer laws governing how creative an agent can be with photos, images don’t always represent the true size and proportions of a property. Always view photographs in tandem with the floorplan and each room’s measurements – comparing it to where you live now for real-life perception.
  • Explore using Google’s Street View function: if you’re relocating to a new area, an in-person viewing is also your chance to appraise the neighbourhood. In the absence of a visit, use Google Maps and its Street View function to walk around the local area.
  • Research similar properties currently for sale: buyers often commit to making an offer once they have seen a property in person, as they quickly realise if it presents value for money on closer inspection. To ensure, however, that the asking price is fair, use the property portals to establish how much similar properties in the same area are selling for.
  • Look at recently sold property values: as a caveat to the above, knowing what comparable homes to the one you’re interested in have actually sold for should also inform what you offer. It’s quite common for sold prices to be tens of thousands of pounds less than the asking price – especially if the home has been on the market for some time, or if it has faults.

Need to sell quickly?

If you’ve found the home of your dreams and need to sell property fast to get moving, we can help. Open Online offers two speedy routes to market – our online property portal and our online property auctions. Our guide to perfecting your property listing will go a long way in generating interest in your home.

And for those who are really under pressure to sell quickly, our sister company – Open Property Group – is a professional cash property buyer who can make you a speedy cash offer. Completion and money in your bank account can be achieved within as little as seven working days, so you don’t miss out on your next move.

Contact us today and we can talk through our property buying and selling services.

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