Maybe a stupid question: visit before offer?

14 Replies

I'm looking to find a single family or small multifamily as my first rental property in the near future. I've listened to a bunch of the BP podcasts and attended several of the BP webinars on getting started. I've bought/sold a few primary residences, but never an investment property. From all the podcasts and webinars, it hit me that I can't recall them ever mentioning actually visiting a property before making an offer. 1. Get leads, 2. Analyse, 3. Purse (i.e. Offer), 4. Success.

So the question is: Do experienced investors regularly make offers on properties without ever visiting them? And if so, is it a correct assumption that rookies should visit first until getting comfortable with the process?

You should always visit the property or have someone you trust (if it is out of state and you can't-though you really should).  You are spending a lot of money and don't want to buy a money pit.  There are also conditions and inspections.

It's a very smart question. Let's say you have to make 10 offers for every acceptance. Do you really want to waste time visiting 10 properties? Stop doing that until you get the answer to the most important question: "Is the seller going to accept my offer or at least be willing to negotiate?"  The time to visit it is after you get acceptance and you do your due diligence to ensure it's something you want to go through with. If your offer is rejected, at least you've saved the time and gas money driving for a person visit to kick the tires.

Originally posted by @Ed B. :

It's a very smart question. Let's say you have to make 10 offers for every acceptance. Do you really want to waste time visiting 10 properties? Stop doing that until you get the answer to the most important question: "Is the seller going to accept my offer or at least be willing to negotiate?"  The time to visit it is after you get acceptance and you do your due diligence to ensure it's something you want to go through with. If your offer is rejected, at least you've saved the time and gas money driving for a person visit to kick the tires.

 I agree with Wayne.  I wouldn't accept an offer it the person hadn't viewed the property.  In this case you are wasting the time of your realtor and the person selling the house.  Most people won't have to put in 10 offers to buy a place unless they are low balling.

@Wayne Brooks is on it. A seller should never accept sight-unseen offers from first-time buyers or first-time investors and even if experienced, they should be sending someone to view or video view. I think you have to undo the logic behind why you even asked this question. Have the forums and ridiculous claims about REI made it seem like you should ever invest a substantial sum of money into a tangible asset that you've only seen photos of online and have little experience to see potential defects. There are no photos of the electrical, plumbing, foundation, pipes, underneath the deck, the garage supports on Zillow.

@Jason Love

It actually depend for me. If I plan to spend a lot on repairing then I usually just send in a blind offer subject to interior inspection. Which means I'll take a look at it if I get a response from them since I don't mind spending money on the repair anyway. If I want something turnkey with minimal repair then I will want to check the place out first to make sure that it is the case. Sometime you making offer for properties outside of your local area and the drive could be 45 minutes to an hour long. You won't have enough time to visit every single place you want to make an offer for. If the seller won't response to your offer then they must have someone with a better offer. If that is the case you might end up in a bidding war and that might turn a good deal into a bad one really quick.

@Jason Love visit the property before making an offer - things like next door neighbors, parking, layout of the property, room size etc - too many factors to make an offer sight unseen

 I never said buy without visiting or inspecting the property. The question was should he see a property in person  before making an offer. If a seller rejects an offer only because the offeror hasn't seen it, then the seller is not very motivated.

Originally posted by @Ed B. :

 I never said buy without visiting or inspecting the property. The question was should he see a property in person  before making an offer. If a seller rejects an offer only because the offeror hasn't seen it, then the seller is not very motivated.

 Making an offer without seeing isn't unreasonable, but you must have strong physical due diligence contingencies. 

@Jason Love

I’ve done it a few times. No regrets. I assumed all the big ticket items needed to be replaced. The numbers still worked so I threw in offers to the listing agents and landed a few great deals by doing this.

Definitely visit before making an offer. I’ve bought a couple sight unseen and have always had unexpected repair expenses pop up. I was in escrow on a multi-family this week until I received the inspection report and asked the seller to offer a concession. Had I visited the property first I would have determined it was a no-go from the beginning and not had to waste money on an inspection.

@Jason Love I’d always suggest to visit the property, even if it’s out of state. You want to visit the property and look for major discrepancies/ repairs. Does the roof need to be replaced soon, is there a homeless camp down the street, etc.