Tony Lewis, Summit Real Estate Santa Clarita & Aliso Viejo (Summit Real Estate Group)

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Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Vacant homes are easy to show.  Owner occupied takes a few more steps to show, but is still doable.  No reason to not see a vacant home prior to writing.


As to the offer, I have never recommended accepting an offer where the buyer hasn't seen the home first and I'm not about to start now.  I personally will not write an offer unless the buyer has seen the property physically.  My advice to the seller is that this is not a serious offer and to reply with "Seller will not review the offer until the buyer has physically viewed the property" if the offer is low or needs a lot of countering.  If the offer is otherwise good, I'd recommend to counter with "Buyer has 24 hours to physically view the property in-person, as a contingency of the sale.  Listing will be fully active until the viewing has completed and the buyer has removed the contingency in writing and such removal has been received by the seller or their agent."


A serious buyer will make a viewing happen for a home they're going to write on and I doubt that many people will enter into a 30 year agreement on an $700,000+ home without seeing it first.  If they're not serious, I don't want my sellers wasting valuable market time on a buyer who likely will not perform.

Now with all that said, if they're buying it for a rental or to tear down or to massively rennovate (and know the floorplan), that is a different topic where a physical viewing may not be required or relevant.

Apr 15, 2020 04:34 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Absolutely! We are on lock-down and cannot physically show homes (unless they are vacant) or host open houses. So, the only way we CAN sell homes is via virtual tours and that's how we are doing it.

The key is properly vetting the buyers (via their agents). In the past, I've Face-time sold properties and have never had one fall through. My sellers have a professional WALK-THROUGH virtual tour - not my FaceTime tour - which is a lot higher quality tour, for sure! 

Good luck, Tony!

Apr 15, 2020 09:25 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I've sold a few live-sight unseen homes; video or Facetime only.

Ironially I can't find those type of buyers now.

Military & investors are my two that do.

Apr 15, 2020 08:25 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate Made Easy

As my lawyer might say, “It depends.”.

If is the type of property that is likely to get multiple offers, I might be hesitant. If is is one that has been on the market, then probably.

Get the house sold. That’s my thought.

Apr 15, 2020 04:21 PM
Karen Climer
Demetree School of Real Estate - Orlando, FL
Teaching people to pass the real estate exam

I don't see how the buyer seeing the house or not is relevant.  Your job is to get the house sold.  If someone makes an offer that is acceptable to the seller, why do you care if the buyer has seen the house or not?

People buy houses everyday without looking at them.  COVID-19 is not a factor.  In this regard, you should treat the offers you receive now the same way you treated offers a few months ago.

Apr 15, 2020 03:06 PM
Hazel Rosete
Coldwell Banker Realty - San Diego, CA

During lockdown, my listing received an offer 'sigtht unseen', military buyers and they are closing on Monday.  So, it does happen.  You just have to ask the right questions to the buyers agent and ensure this buyer is motivated to buy this home 'sight unseen'.   In this case, military family coming back to San Diego and they know the area already and are also aware of not very much inventory.    The 3-D matterport helps as well.    

Apr 15, 2020 09:15 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

All offers are subject to one thing or another....My approach is to have a heart to heart with agents and buyers and not waste time...

Apr 15, 2020 06:37 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

I'd be accepting it as the Sellers agent Tony Lewis . Why give the Buyers agent an out if they are not asking for it?

Apr 16, 2020 06:18 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

I sold many homes to investors that did not include an in-person showing. It's not really much different than making an offer subject to an inspection period. 

Apr 16, 2020 06:16 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

There are several things that can be done. Accept the offer as-is written or accept the offer and keep the house on the market for back-up offers until contingencies have passed or ask for an increase in earnest money to see if they are serious.

I have had several offers made after facetiming or videoing the property and surrounding neighborhood but not truly 'sight unseen'. On the other hand, as a listing agent, several times offers are submitted 'sight-unseen', only to disappoint the seller once they arrived, canceling the contract.

Apr 16, 2020 06:09 AM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

Always keep offers in play. However, taking the house 'off-market' for a buyer who has many escape hatches and suffering  no pain is setting the seller up for creating and unfavorable opinion of their professional representation.  

As professionals we have SOLUTIONS for the Covid 19 showing houses situation. The b;buyer can decline those solutions, and the contingencies disappear also. With no contingencies, the seller or their agent will welcome ALL offers.

Apr 16, 2020 06:02 AM
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

The "risk" that we're talking a lot about in our market is wasting time writing/accepting offers that will end up being cancelled when the physical showing takes place... I think now is a time to put into place all of those best practices we know we should've been doing all along and asking the questions & diving deeper with such.  There IS a way to get this done & done effectively.  Only those who truly have a NEED for a new house (vs a want) should be shopping now. 

Apr 16, 2020 05:44 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

"It depends", on the strength of the offer and contingencies! Sometimes yes and sometimes no!

Apr 16, 2020 05:04 AM
Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate
Tropical Beachside brokered by eXp - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

It depends on the buyer and their circumstances. I've worked with investors who had not seen the property and were fine with it as long as it met their other requirements.

In general, it would be on a case by case basis for other buyers/sellers.

If the seller needs to sell NOW and buyer is pre-approved or has POF, knows the area, and was working with me prior to the CV-19 issue, it might make sense for the seller to accept/counter depending on the other T &Cs. If it is a buyer that I don't know and was not working with prior to CV-19 who does not know the area or meet the other basic criteria, it would probably not be in the seller's best interest.

Case by case basis...

Apr 15, 2020 09:57 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

This is one of those "it depends" questions. Was there sufficient information online (photos, 3D tour, video) for the buyer to reasonably have seen the property?

Potential problem is that a buyer who has not walked the property might have a different level of commitment, depending on their situation, as Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA points out. But the decision is the sellers! And if there are no other offers...

Apr 15, 2020 08:48 PM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

That depends on many things , the final answer lies with the Sellers!

Apr 15, 2020 04:49 PM
Peter Mohylsky. Broker -BRIX REALTY
Miramar Beach, Florida - Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Definitely, you might not get another one 

Apr 15, 2020 03:57 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

It depends. How serious are they as a buyer and how qualified are they - for real. And of course price and terms that seller are good with.  We've sold many homes site unseen, mostly to investors over the years. Worked fine.

Apr 15, 2020 02:23 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

It depends on so many factors.  For the most part, I am in agreement with Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA 

Apr 16, 2020 08:24 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

I have a relocating couple looking for a home now, and know pretty sure they will need to write before seeing, as this is the only way to get a transaction going right now.  We are unable to show "in-person" according to our new order by the Governor.

Apr 16, 2020 06:50 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

We list, shoot video to edit and upload that local and out of town buyers "walk through" round the clock. Have lots of sales without the buyer stepping foot in the home but fully vetted with video and not just a handful of images or skimpy narrative facts about the place. The more you provide, the less fear they have or hesitation to buy and head to the check out. COVID19 is changing lots of what you consider normal.. the what is, is not done right Tony Lewis . Had a buyer from England purchase for cash a Washington County home from an Ireland seller. Both stayed out of country and we engineered the sale without them on this side of the pond. We list, we sell (repeat)... on to the next listing.

Apr 15, 2020 07:26 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

before this happened I've closed on homes that the buyer never set foot in.

Apr 16, 2020 09:36 PM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Why would you not accept the offer? Be careful of "weasel" clauses that might invalidate the contract due to buyer not seeing property in person. Consult an attorney.

Apr 16, 2020 09:05 AM
Bob Force (REALTOR®)
Weichert Realtors - Aspen Hill - Mount Airy, MD
The FORCE in Maryland Real Estate

No, I would not suggest a seller client of mine accept and offer not seen in person.  The key there being "not suggest".

Apr 15, 2020 02:53 PM