Episode #527 – What if a buyer write an offer but never saw the property?

It is not uncommon for a buyer to make on offer, or even completely close escrow on a home without seeing the property first.  So it should come as no surprise to a seller or listing real estate agent when an offer arrives from a buyer that hasn’t yet seen the property.

There are a few reasons for this.

First, they may have seen the home previously when it was listed with another agent in the past, or may have seen a model match in the same subdivision.  Usually if you know the floor plan, and can see the pictures, then waiting to see it in person can usually not lead to any major surprises.

Many times in a hot real estate market, a buyer might be out of town working etc and not be able to get to see the house, but wants to get an offer in and then physically inspect the house later, or with their home inspector.

So the question remains.  You are the seller and you get an offer called a “blind offer”, meaning the buyer didn’t actually see the house.  Should you accept that offer or reject it.  What if its for more money than the other offers?

In our case, we had a client who had already been in a few homes exactly like that one, in a subdivision of tract homes, where there was very little difference between houses.  He was out of town, and wasn’t coming back for 4 days.  The listing agent said they already had two offers, and were going to decide before the buyer could get back in town to see it.  We sent in the offer, and the agent immediately told us that the seller would not accept it since the buyer hadn’t seen the house.

There are some positives for not considering a blind offer.  One is that they are more likely to be putting offers on multiple houses, and then waiting until one is accepted before seeing the house.  If they don’t like the house, they just cancel the escrow during the due diligence period, when the buyer can typically get their entire Earnest Money Deposit back without an issue.

Many people also place their own personal beliefs in place when deciding whether to accept and offer from a buyer who hadn’t seen their house.  They assume that since they wouldn’t make a serious offer without seeing it, that they can’t see why others would do it as well.  Some investors, for example, almost never see their investment homes, especially if they have a real estate agent or some other proxy making the decisions based on rental income and other factors.  Additionally, any investor or home owner who bought their house at a trustee or Sheriff’s sale has likely not seen the inside of the house, since those types of home sales are usually at a steep discount form actual market value since there are fewer competitors and are usually all-cash transactions.

Ultimately, the decision whether to accept an offer from someone that hasn’t seen the home rests with the seller.  A good listing agent will get all the information from the buyer’s agent about the lack of ability of the buyer to see the property, their financial qualifications, if they have offers on other houses, and their motivation for wanting to put in an offer without having seen the house.