Is It Wise for a Seller to Take “Sight Unseen” Offers?

Is It Wise for a Seller to Take “Sight Unseen” Offers?

Spring is a very busy season in real estate. Of course, if you are a Top Producing Bristow/Gainesville Real Estate Agent like myself, just about any season can be hectic. Truly, people move year round in the Northern Virginia marketplace.

The real issue right now is the lack of inventory. With the seller’s market conditions we are experiencing, buyers are getting a bit frantic. There are just not enough homes to meet demand. This has lead some of them to write offers “sight unseen” when they notice a Coming Soon listing in the MLS. Just tonight, after scheduling a home tour for a buyer for Saturday, I ended up with a notice that a showing had been declined for a home that wasn’t scheduled to be active until Friday. Why? The sellers received multiple sight unseen offers and took one. Hmm. That can be a recipe for disaster.

Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, an agent I know had a listing and her sellers were thrilled to get a sight unseen offer. They didn’t have to worry about many groups of buyers coming through. They got an offer they loved, accepted it and AFTER it was a ratified deal, the buyers got to see the home. Only, the buyers weren’t so thrilled with what they saw. Buyer’s remorse seemed to set in instantly at their home inspection. They felt they had overpaid. There is no remedy for that. The buyers voided the contract and the sellers were stuck putting their home on the market, having been under contract.

Do you know the calls a listing agent gets when a home hits the market after being under contract? They are all suspicious questions about why the buyer voided. What’s wrong with the house? It’s a seller’s market. Surely, a buyer isn’t silly enough to void a contract when they actually get under contract because nothing is wrong. Something HAS to be wrong. You get the picture.

Earlier today, I was approached by a buyer’s agent wanting to know if my sellers would be willing to accept a sight unseen offer on my latest Coming Soon listing. Well, I can’t speak for them, but I let her know my thoughts on sight unseen offers.

  1. If you or your buyers aren’t physically viewing the home and only bidding from market insanity, there is a lot of potential for buyer’s remorse.
  2. If you write an offer so good my sellers decide they don’t want to go through with showings, your appraisal is going to suffer because I don’t have multiple offers to show the appraiser what the market thought the home was worth. As such, I am going to recommend my sellers counter that the offer is not contingent on the home appraising for sales price and the buyers will need to bring extra down payment to closing if it doesn’t appraise for sales price.

In general, real estate deals are most successful when both parties are up front with each other. Sellers market the home and buyers get to see it before making an offer. Simple. And honestly, the best place to start any deal. Sight unseen is buyer’s remorse waiting to happen. Just my two cents.

Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, VA License #0225089470
Long & Foster Real Estate
Call or Text: 703-402-0037
Email: ChrisAnn@LNF.com
www.UncompromisingValues.com

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Chris Ann Cleland, not Long & Foster.

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