A sight unseen OBX purchase was as rare as purple sea glass just a few months ago. Our bridges to the Outer Banks have been closed since mid-March. Prior to the pandemic many out of town buyers were seriously looking at purchasing and collecting the summer rental income. Of course, those plans are over or delayed for most folks since they can not get here to see the houses.
Not everyone has stopped shopping here though. In fact, we’ve had three different buyers who have been comfortable with making an offer based on a video call or a video. These folks expect to see the house in person before closing.
Comfort level is relative
Buying without seeing the house in person is not for everyone. Everyone has a different level of comfort with making an offer based on a video. It takes quite a bit of trust in your Realtor to even consider that. The last thing I want to do is sell a house to a buyer who ends up not be happy with their decision. This article will talk more about why making an offer based on a video or a video call should be considered.
It’s unknown when the bridges will be open to visitors. We’re hopeful it is prior to Memorial Day but it could be later than that. Shortly after the beach is open, we’ll be into the summer season and then viewing houses will be almost as difficult. Vacationers don’t want to be disturbed. Viewing homes between tenants means you have to deal with heavy traffic, cleaners and possibly next week’s vacationers. You’ll also pay a premium for a place to stay during one of those weekend turnover days.
You might get a deal
Preliminary numbers from the Outer Banks Association of Realtors MLS system pulled on April 30 show that we’ve had about half as many properties go under contract this April compared to April of 2019. It’s likely you won’t have to compete with other buyers for a house. That gives you time to negotiate the best price. Also, some sellers are more motivated today than they have been in years.
The risk involved
What’s really at risk? The Standard North Carolina Offer to Purchase allows a buyer to void a contract for any reason or no reason during the due diligence period. When that happens the earnest money is returned to the buyer. If you get a contract, you’ll spend money on your inspections and some bank fees related to your loan. Most times that will be less than $2,000. Sellers don’t expect you to purchase the house without seeing it first. Just have your Realtor make the due diligence period long enough to view the home in person. That period of time can be easily extended. Prior to the pandemic buyers would invest that money in an offer with no guarantee if they would be satisfied with what they found during inspections. In reality, buying prior to the pandemic had the same $2,000 risk involved in the purchase.
No one expects you to make a sight unseen OBX purchase. Even sellers don’t expect you to close on a house without viewing it in person. But making an offer before seeing the house in person maybe something you should seriously consider.