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    Sold Story – Buying A Home Remotely

    Sold Story – Buying A Home Remotely

    This is a story about “happily ever after”, but it is one of the most unique home buying stories I have ever told!

    Jon and Analiese were in San Francisco, nearing the end of a work assignment. They had a one year plan to find a home in Pasadena, take their time to fix it up, and then relocate to be closer to family. Analiese was pregnant with their first child and the first grandchild for her mother!

    Then COVID happened.

    At first, the buyers stuck to the one year plan. We found a home being sold in one of those janky auction situations, where the list price is set astonishingly low. I helped Jon and Analiese make an offer based on ALL the facts, but there is always someone willing to make an offer based on pure emotion. This is the purpose of auctions, after all.

    COVID progressed and the mood was getting somber and fearful. Would the real estate market crash?

    The next home was all about investment value. It was close to Pasadena City College, had an addition that could easily become a Jr. ADU, and it had a rickety old garage – perfect for tearing down and adding a full ADU.

     

     

    Would you ever buy a home remotely? Can you imagine finalizing a sale without ever physically visiting? You are probably shouting, “No Way!”, but it happens more often than you might think.

    This can only happen when you can trust the expertise and motives of your real estate agent.

    Jon and Analiese has no intention of buying a home in Pasadena they had never physically visited, but it turned out to be an amazing purchase. They wound up with a marvelous Mid Century Ranch Home in Pasadena’s Lower Hastings Ranch and they couldn’t be happier.

    Buying A Home During A Pandemic

    My buyers were in San Francisco on a temporary basis. They had always intended to settle down near her family in Glendale but they were in no hurry. The original plan had been to take a year to find a mid century home in fairly original condition and fix it up into a solid family home for the next ten plus years.

    Then COVID-19 happened and two major things shifted for the buyers. First – Analiese was seven months pregnant. Traveling down to buy a home in Pasadena was no longer a safe option. Second – the lack of easy travel sped up their timeline. Jon and Analiese wanted to be close to family when little Charlotte arrived. This meant they would buy a home remotely – sight unseen.

     

    Buying A Home Sight Unseen!

    There are a lot of online tools to “see” homes on the internet. Jon and Analiese used online listing photos, 3D scans of the interiors of the home, and Google Street View to look at the neighborhood and direct neighbors.

    When there was a likely candidate I would “show” the house via FaceTime. I concentrated on showing them things you can’t get online like noise levels, looking over backyard fences, and any flaws a listing agent would not want to highlight.

    I also helped them see where they could modify to achieve the open floor plan concept.  If a drawn floor plan was unavailable the buyers directed me so they could examine the structural and mechanical elements they would have examined in person.

     

    What Were The Fears And Problems?

    Buying a home remotely

    If the buyers couldn’t travel and they wanted to buy a mid-century home in Pasadena now, they would have to buy without ever setting foot inside. This is known as buying a home “sight unseen”.

    Does that seem like a completely crazy thing to do? It happens more often than you might think, but it is rare. The buyer needs to be crystal clear on why they want or need to buy now.

    Unknown consequences from a global pandemic

    The coronavirus shut down the world and no one knew how that would impact real estate. What would happen to prices, mortgage loans, or the ability to show and sell homes? There were many who thought our home prices would plummet.

    Almost every buyer had to ask whether or not it was a good idea to buy anything in light of the uncertainties.

    The Buyers had a specific floor plan in mind

    Analiese and Jon are extremely family and community-oriented. They loved the open floor plan of a typical mid-century home. They wanted a big living space oriented on the kitchen and backyard for gatherings small and large. The problem – a classic mid-century home in Pasadena with an open floor plan was out of their budget. They would need to modify any home in their budget.

    What Were The Solutions?

    They Focused On The Big Goal

    Jon and Analiese were looking for a family home – they weren’t business geeks with ice in their veins. They have the same anxieties and fears any buyer might have.

    But they also kept an eye on the big picture. Buy in the right neighborhood. Make sure the home can become what they would ultimately want. Understand the budget. Make decisions based on the long term, not the moment.

    This long-range view helped them overcome fears of buying at the beginning of a pandemic where the short term view was very very cloudy.

    Technology Helps A Lot When You Buy A Home Sight Unseen!

    There are a lot of online tools to “see” homes on the internet. Jon and Analiese used online listing photos, 3D scans of the interiors of the home, and Google Street View to look at the neighborhood and direct neighbors.

    When there was a likely candidate I would “show” the house via FaceTime. I concentrated on showing them things you can’t get online like noise levels, looking over backyard fences, and any flaws a listing agent would not want to highlight.

    I also helped them see where they could modify to achieve the open floor plan concept.  If a drawn floor plan was unavailable the buyers directed me so they could examine the structural and mechanical elements they would have examined in person.

    How Did They Know Which House To Buy?

    I wrote a post about how to know you’ve found the right house and it almost always comes down to falling in love.

    I think they were 80% convinced it was the right home before I ever toured the home with them via Facetime. At this point, they had considered dozens of homes, online and had made offers on two of them. Each of these other homes felt like a huge compromise – this one felt just right.

    Offer, Negotiation and Inspections

     

     

     

     

     

     

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