Buying a property sight unseen may seem like a risky strategy, but for many investors it’s a common approach, especially during Covid. For example, we’ve seen many purchasers from southern states buying properties in Queensland recently, without viewing them in person. Limiting yourself to properties which you can easily visit can rule out an investment opportunity in a location that might be in a prime cycle for investment growth. Here are some tips to get the best results when buying a property you haven’t seen.
Access property information virtually
If you’re unable to inspect the property, create a checklist of what you would be looking for during an inspection and find ways to access that information virtually. Examples may include understanding the floorplan, internal finishes, street appeal, slope of the land, proximity to local amenities, or whether the property is under a flight path, near a main road or has an obstructed view.
Source lots of images and view the property on google maps. The Covid environment has made more information available virtually including live streamed walk-throughs, virtual tours and 360 photos. Create a list of questions about the property to ask the agent. In the case of a new build, you will have access to plans and specifications for the property as well.
Do your research on the area
When purchasing an investment property sight unseen, make sure you do your research on whether the property meets the criteria for a good investment. What’s the area like? Are there many owner occupiers? What’s the vacancy rate? What are the recent sales results? Is there any infrastructure development in the area? What about public transport? Look at information online, speak to real estate agents and contact the local council to get an understanding of proposed upcoming development for the area.
Work with experts
Doing due diligence and undertaking research on a property and area you’re unfamiliar with can be challenging and time consuming. Working with a property investment firm or buyer’s agent can take this burden off your shoulders. The other benefit is that often they will visit the site to assess the property on your behalf. Just make sure they are reputable and have a great track record.
Order building and pest inspection reports to get a clearer understanding of the property. If it’s an apartment then make sure you obtain a copy of the recent body corporate meeting minutes to see what’s being discussed and what potential works are in the pipeline. In the case of a new development, you can hire an expert to complete a handover report to ensure defects are identified and fixed.