Moment of truth: Would you commit to making monthly payments on something you’ve never seen in person…for roughly the next 30 years? If the thought alone made you hard swallow, you’re not alone. But for 29 percent of millennials, the answer is yeah, sure, why not? After all, we’re used to buying all kinds of things online, seeing it in person only when it arrives on our doorstep. So, for many, especially amid a pandemic, the thought of virtual homebuying is all too appealing: You can see photos of a home, tour it via video chat with a realtor, then decide whether it’s worth making an offer. No traveling necessary, and—given how quickly homes are flying off the market right now—you can make decisions faster, boosting your chances of actually being the one to score that cottage you keep stalking on Trulia.
If you’re thinking about buying a home without visiting it first (or as the industry calls it, “sight-unseen”)—which may be the most feasible option, if you’re making a cross-country move, for example—there are a few things you can do to get the most honest, thorough look at the space. Here are five key considerations that can help separate the hidden gems from the money pits.