We Bought a Home Sight Unseen during Lockdown (What We Learned)
By Magnolia Realty | Jun 6, 2020
“May I, Ma’am, offer my services without running the risk of intruding your valuable time?”
I confessed this was the first time I heard someone so politely asked me to let him pitch his sales. Otherwise, in the last two months, I had listened to all types of baloney, and the dumbness was almost deafening. When I refused to listen to the agents, I heard those inaudible grunts from the other side of the phone; on the surface layer of my consciousness, I understood how tragically a salesperson tried to sell something that he himself didn’t believe!
“ No. Absolutely not Rajiv. I am not going to experiment with anything at least.”
I was not used to talking to my husband like this, and I am not proud of that, but saving penny by penny for so long for a home, I was nervous to find him searching properties without going depth to it. We were living for so long in a rented apartment. We paid rent; we had to maintain written and unwritten rules for tenants and obviously we experienced a certain level of lack of freedom in it.
House Hunting during Lockdown
We weren’t able to visit the site and somehow for a long time, we came to a line, which was on the verge of crossing the streak of frustration. So, we had decided to act fast – with no time to waste on waiting for the lockdown to open. So, Rajiv and I both started digging into the home listing. We also collected phone numbers from the advertisements published on Instagram, Facebook and other social media. We narrowed down our options by budget and location, even looked for houses that gave good discounts and under-construction projects.
The Devil is in the Details
House hunting was not really a soft path. Regardless of the zillions of ads, we couldn’t manage to find the right one. I printed all neighbourhood maps and highlighted all nearby facilities including a park for Gablu (our dog). We asked friends and took the help of our relatives. We measured rooms by comparing our existing rooms, we asked agents for virtual tours because any sort of information gathered was invaluable.
We have finally managed to find a nearly suitable gated community with a great promise. We were decided to book our unit and paid an advance because the company offered a booking price, which was undeniably enticing including a price protection policy. It was not just the property but the reputation of the developer that also captured our attention.
All in all, we booked our home, and the surprise was when we finally visited the property, we liked the overall package – from architectural details to a friendly neighbourhood, all were beyond anticipation. We can say we are lucky indeed!!
Checklist for Long-Distance Home Buying
So, would I recommend people buying a house without having seen it first? People who think it is not a wise idea, I would like to say this, I think it is doable but it demands research, proper planning, and on-the-ground intelligence.
Here are a few tips for lowering your stress level:
Research and More Research: The best thing and probably the only intelligent thing you can do is to research more about properties, comparing layouts, check credibility, check photos, get a better sense of the flow by drawing a floor plan and other researches.
Do not blindly believe in agents: It is better to talk to the direct companies when you have limitations to visit the site. Brokers or agents have an ulterior motive, and their main goal is to convert the lead, but a company’s sale person can’t just only focus on conversion but also accountable for the reputation.
Embrace a folder: Go to your nearby stationary store or order online an obnoxiously bright green folder. No matter how funny it sounds, it is quite important because purchasing a house demands lots of paperwork and sometimes must produce at a moment’s notice. Arrange all documents in a folder with proper marking.
Take care of financials: Needless to say, it is the most important aspect because in this dire time you need long-term planning that could be stretched to a longer time. Do not put all eggs in one basket, diversification is the key.
Do not compromise: It may take a bit more, but you need to devote your time in searching the right property. The ‘right’ word is relative but you need to look after some common denominators like the credibility of the developer, neighbourhood, price protection policy, offers, any scheme that could save some money, lenders’ equation etc.
NOTE: The story is contributed by a guest writer Mahasweta Deb. We are thankful to her.