A leading buying agent says the phenomenon of ‘buying unseen’ is the most dramatic property trend to have emerged from the pandemic.
Ed Jephson of Stacks Property Search says: “Once the preserve of overseas investment buyers, buying a property without viewing in person has become a domestic practice, and is happening in many of the country's hotspots.
“It's driven by the huge demand for rural properties that in many parts of the country, notably the south west and the Cotswolds, dramatically exceeds supply.”
Jephson says factoring in a visit to a property “slows the [purchase] process down so much” and he insists “determined buyers have taken the view that the only way they will make a successful purchase is to conduct a desk-bound buying exercise.”
Stacks has help with several ‘unseen’ deals, all around or in excess of £1m, and involving UK buyers as well as those from overseas.
Jephson cont: “I would stress that this isn't a recommended buying method for over 99 per cent of buyers. It's not for the faint-hearted. Buyers require nerves of steel, deep pockets, and an overwhelming need or desire to buy a property in the short term.”
He says that some selling agents and vendors may resist the tactic, as it may be harder for a buyer to appear serious in the eyes of the seller.
For those wanting to purchase this way, Jephson says: “You will need to be convincing, looking like the best buyer in terms of price, financial position, and intention to go through with the purchase. Make sure your offer is as compelling as possible, be a cash buyer, and present the agents with proof of funds, and/or mortgage agreement in principle. You will need an excellent solicitor, it may be helpful to volunteer to use a local solicitor that the estate agent works with regularly.”
And he concludes: “If you have an alternative to buying unseen I would strongly recommend you take it. But for those who simply don't have the luxury of looking at a property first hand, it doesn't have to be quite as mad as it sounds.”