Relocating to Portland, Buying a Home Sight Unseen

Trusting Impulses: Buying Homes Sight Unseen

Real estate is an ever-changing industry. Forever subject to market supply and demand, new influences from technology, and a growing Millennial market, the process for buying a home has been losing its conventional structure in recent years. The days of driving around a neighborhood, meeting with a Realtor, and waiting weeks to put in an offer seem to be waning – and this is especially true in hot markets like Portland.

Competition for Portland homes can be fierce. According to Rachel Freed, a principal broker at Urban Nest Realty, “buyers [have] started paying $100,000 to $150,000 over asking price here in Portland.” This kind of steep competition to secure a winning offer on a Portland home is driving buyers to change how they purchase property.

For many, this means both relying on technology in place of a human agent, and buying a home, sight unseen.

Buying a Home Sight Unseen: How Does It Work?

Today’s technology allows buyers to feel confident when buying Portland homes, sight unseen. According to a recent SurveyMonkey research study commissioned by Redfin, “Of the survey respondents, 21% said they made an offer on a house without ever having seen it in person.”

For Millennials, “30% said they made an offer without seeing the house in person. Even more striking was that 53% of buyers who paid more than $750,000 for their home made offers without seeing the house first.”

So while technology hasn’t completely effaced the role of real estate agents, Portland buyers are certainly quite open to unconventional ways of buying homes.

Concerns for Buying a Home Without Paying a Visit

While many home buyers voice confidence in online apps such as Zillow, Redfin, or, don’t write off the importance of seeing a property in person.

When buying a home, you want to love the neighborhood as much as the property itself; you want to verify that the roof is structurally sound and the home’s foundation will stand the test of time. These details are harder to confirm sight unseen.

James Patrick, who lives in the Seattle area, has considered investing in a Portland property, but he remains wary about purchasing a Portland home, sight unseen. According to Patrick, “You need to a have a high level of trust [for the seller]. At the very least, it’s important to have a trusted advisor, a real estate agent or a local inspector, that can view the house in your place. If you’re going to invest that much money in a hot market, do your research.”

So What’s the Verdict?

Buying a home is an important milestone, and for many, it’s a very expensive milestone. With that knowledge, you want to know that your real estate purchase is a worthwhile investment. If you’re going to compete in the Portland market, buying sight unseen is often the only option available if you hope to stay competitive – especially for sellers who may opt for a two-week sale period.

So what can you do to mitigate the risk of buying sight unseen in Portland? Start with technology, but don’t disregard the value of a Realtor. Find a real estate agent, preferably through a recommendation of a friend or family member, who can act on your behalf. A real estate agent can attend an open house, ask the seller pertinent and revealing questions, and document any potential concerns.

Similarly, a local inspector can also provide valuable insight for unseen homes. Before you sign on a home, you want to know how much money you’ll pour into the home for repairs. Often, if you have an inspector note home defects prior to closing the sale, the responsibility for repairs falls on the seller. This saves you from added cost, and unwanted surprises down the road.

You’ve Got Options: Leveraging the Mortgage Credit Certificate for Your Portland Home

Buying a home in any of Portland’s many neighborhoods or elsewhere around the city can present some difficulties, and we believe homebuyers deserve all the assistance they can get. With that in mind, we want to introduce you to a mortgage program that’s been around for decades: the Mortgage Credit Certificate, available through Options Financial. Much of the public remains unaware of the program, but taking advantage of it means potential money saving and tax credit benefits for you.

Many loan officers are also unaware of the savings that can be leveraged via the program for qualifying buyers. The Mortgage Credit Certificate requires special certification, which we have, and are able to provide to our clients.

If you haven’t owned a home in the previous three years, you meet certain income and purchase price restrictions, and you plan to live in your new Portland home as your primary residence, you could qualify for substantial savings. Learn more about the Mortgage Credit Certificate from Options Financial today.

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