Join Australia's most dynamic and respected property investment community

Buying sight unseen

Discussion in 'Where to Buy' started by Mabelle20, 5th Jul, 2016.

  1. Mabelle20

    Mabelle20 Active Member

    Joined:
    23rd Aug, 2015
    Posts:
    35
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Hi all, just curious how many people have bought their IP sight unseen. Obviously living in a different state to an area of interest, puts a spanner in the works on inspecting multiple places. Building inspections can be easily done, but i was thinking about how to get a good feel for a suburb if you can't get there, particularly as it could be as simple as a couple of streets that makes the difference in an area as to the desirability to live there.
    Any advice or insights from people who have done this? Cheers
     
  2. Tony Fleming

    Tony Fleming Well-Known Member Business Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    536
    Location:
    Sydney
    Hi @Mabelle20 I've bought a few sight unseen. I always have someone inspect it for me as well as the pest and building. I've used a few property managers from competing agencies from the one selling it with the promise of them getting it on their rent roll. Property managers are more brutally honest since they will have to deal with you of it goes pear shaped. A lot of research goes into it as well. The main issue is seeing things and the size of things if renovation is going to be a part of your plans. Where are you looking to buy?
     
    JZ93 and Bayview like this.
  3. Simon L

    Simon L Investment Property Buyers Agent Business Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    184
    Location:
    Sydney, Brisbane
    I pretty much only buy sight unseen

    I also rarely get a B&P inspection done or even have someone look at it. You usually don't have the time with the best deals. I don't recommend people do this until they know the area, and especially the agents inside out.

    First, you need to research the area thoroughly. Spend the airfare and accom to be on the ground and get a good feel for the place, meet agents, meet locals etc instead of looking at individual houses. Do research on the suburb/area from old posts from Somersoft/Propertychat etc, speak to people who have invested there, research anything happening in the area via council websites etc

    Then, it really comes down to how much you pay. If you buy well enough, any 'surprises' should be easily absorbed into the amazing price you negotiated. I always factor in a $5k buffer as a minimum for 'teething issues'. Don't think I've ever gone over that, mind you, I never fully reno new purchases - just bring them up to a tidy, rentable condition. All you really need to make sure is the house isn't falling apart or has any major issues. Everything has a value - from a door knob to a full bathroom reno.

    Common major items are;

    internal bathroom/shower leaks
    hot water tanks/air conditioners/oven stoves
    roof leaks
    slab cracks/movements causing major cracks in walls/cornices
    termites
    fencing
    rotted load bearing timbers/stairs/decking etc.
    basically anything costing more than $5k to fix

    Remember every property has a value. The house on a desired street with emotional features will attract a premium and a high level of competition. The house in a less desired street will have a lower price expectation and less competition. Whatever the value of the house is, just make sure you are well below that

    And finally - take action!
     
    Sam Yue, Jacque, Mabelle20 and 3 others like this.
  4. MTR

    MTR Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    7,375
    Location:
    Perth, Melbourne, USA

    I am a little cheeky, I have been known to phone larger valuation companies that are familiar with micro dynamics of specific streets/areas. Some are generous with info, no harm in trying
     
    Leo2413, Mabelle20 and Bayview like this.
  5. Casteller

    Casteller Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    344
    Location:
    Barcelona
    Only bought 1 sight unseen, in NSW a few years ago, but I grew up in the area so knew it well, & had family check it out. Most expensive property I've ever bought but up 30% in 3 years apparently so happy with that. Inspected it 2 years after purchase and the tenant couldn't believe I bought it having never seen it before.
     
    Gockie and Mabelle20 like this.
  6. Bayview

    Bayview Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22nd Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,716
    Location:
    Mornington Peninsula
    I've bought two this way - in another State.

    Organise a pest and build inspection, and you can do a lot of research online now about the particular street and neighbor hood you are looking at, agents will give you rent appraisals (you can research tha too) and so on.
     
    Mabelle20 likes this.
  7. Gen-Y

    Gen-Y Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8th Nov, 2015
    Posts:
    53
    Location:
    Brisbane - Sydney
    I haven't done it - but it will be a first time eventually. :)
     
    Mabelle20 likes this.
  8. Mabelle20

    Mabelle20 Active Member

    Joined:
    23rd Aug, 2015
    Posts:
    35
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Thanks so much for all,your advice. Sounds like a good idea to get up there and get a better feel than I already have. Much appreciated.
     
  9. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

    Joined:
    13th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    5,578
    Location:
    Adelaide, SA
    Get someone you know in that location to go have a look at it for you.

    If you don't know anyone in that location, make some friends on the forum.
     
    samiam and Mabelle20 like this.
  10. Mabelle20

    Mabelle20 Active Member

    Joined:
    23rd Aug, 2015
    Posts:
    35
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Thanks so much for your reply, I will absolutely consider the possibility of using another agent. Good to know it is being done this way.
     
    Tony Fleming likes this.
  11. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,105
    Location:
    NSW
    Done this with pretty much all purchases, with BA and another with PM having a look
     
  12. Michael_X

    Michael_X Mortgage Broker Business Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    295
    Location:
    Gold Coast/Sydney
    I try to inspect the properties in person but sometimes it's not possible. Recently had knee surgery, and a deal popped up which needed to be bought. Relied on a PC contact and my PM to scope out the property and managed to pick it up at auction.

    Only saw the property a few months later after the renovation had completed. It was all managed remotely.

    So yes, can be done but make sure you have a good team around you.

    Cheers,
    Michael
     
    JZ93, Leo2413, Sam Yue and 1 other person like this.
  13. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,105
    Location:
    NSW
    Hope you are back up and well soon.
     
    Michael_X likes this.
  14. abbyfresh

    abbyfresh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2nd Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    67
    Location:
    VIC
    Bought one sight unseen and by auction by phone. Not something I would recommend to anyone, but worked out well in the end. I trusted the lame B&P report organised by the selling agent. It was a real deal legal report but the most basic one I seen with no real opinions or photos for anything substantial. I called the building inspector and he couldn't even remember doing the report because he does them so cheaply and with 8-10 reports per day, it would be all a blur unless you call them the hour after the inspection. I did have half a relationship with the agent, but regardless you can them full trust them and can't blame them if anything goes wrong. They had to sell on the night, so that is the name of the game.
     
    Mabelle20 likes this.
  15. Jacque

    Jacque Buyers Agent and Bookworm, Sydney Business Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    516
    Location:
    Sydney
    Obviously being BAs we've bought for many clients who've never seen the property physically. It really comes down to trust in the process and information provided by us to the purchaser, in being able to take the step of buying sight unseen.

    One point, besides all the excellent ones made above by previous posters regarding research and inspections, is to ensure you know who your neighbours are. This isn't data that is normally easily accessible so it helps to have a friendly REA or BA who can look this up for you (or do some detective work of your own) if you have aversions to buying near Dept of Housing stock, commercial premises or similar.

    Also always check with the local council if unsure of upcoming developments or planning in the works that may impact your property. On APM/Pricefinder we can see at a glance if a property has surrounding DAs and this is really useful information that can potentially affect a property's value- a lot of buyers make the mistake of assuming their conveyancer will scope this information out however unless you specifically ask they generally don't.

    Also be aware that Google Earth isn't as up to date in various locations so you may want a trusted person to take surrounding photos for you as well as scope the geographical location for other downers such as high tension power lines/stauncheons, above-ground water and electricity easements etc. Nothing quite replaces being on the ground here.

    @Michael_X agree 100% about having the right team around you to make it happen. Whether or not that's a BA, PM or friend/family member, having another set of eyes to OK it all really does provide extra peace of mind.
     
    Mabelle20 and Michael_X like this.
  16. Taku Ekanayake

    Taku Ekanayake Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23rd Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    760
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    This sounds innovative. Please explain @MTR the process??
     
  17. MTR

    MTR Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    7,375
    Location:
    Perth, Melbourne, USA
    just simply phone valuation company, larger companies preferably and just chat to the valuer for a specific area, explain that you are looking at buying and may require their service and take it from there. Some actually provide pest and build inspection, its about dangling the carrot.

    MTR
     
    Taku Ekanayake likes this.
  18. Chrispy

    Chrispy Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    21st Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    300
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I have bought a few sight unseen but have an agent I trust. He inspects them for me and tells me straight whether to buy or not. He even attends auctions for me. He has been my interstate agent for many years. He organizes the B & P as well.
     
    ellejay, Mabelle20 and RedMarty like this.
  19. Mabelle20

    Mabelle20 Active Member

    Joined:
    23rd Aug, 2015
    Posts:
    35
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Thanks so much Jacque, really appreciate all that info and knowledge. Cheers
     
    Jacque likes this.
  20. MoneyMan

    MoneyMan Active Member

    Joined:
    1st Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    44
    Location:
    Sydney
    What info do you get out of the valuer though MTR? As they are looking at comparables just like yourself?