Buying a house without touring it sounds risky, but it can be a great technique to find deals in remote markets if done well! Learn how to do it in our latest post!
It’s wise to start your investing career close to home in a market you know like your own backyard. In time, looking into other markets makes sense. Perhaps you sense risk in your home market (has your governor locked everyone down again?) or maybe you like the performance of another market. Regardless of why, adding new geographies to your portfolio can greatly increase your performance. If you are willing to buy investment properties outside of your immediate area, you’ll open up many new deals you would have never seen. It’s natural to think you can’t buy a house without touring it, but travel costs will cut into your profits. That means you’ll need the skills to buy a house without seeing first. This will require some homework and people you can trust. Here are some tips to buy a house without seeing it in Omaha!
1. Don’t Rely On Photos Alone
Photos are a great place to start your evaluation. But they can be manipulated, edited, and even angled to make the property look like something it’s not (wide-angle lenses make rooms look bigger and counters look longer). Ask for a video of the property instead of just photos (the representing agent or property owners should be able to provide this). A video will provide a more complete picture of what you are actually getting into. You can even set up a video meeting to walk through the home “virtually”. It’s a critical step when buying a house without seeing it in Omaha.
2. Understand The Local Market
Real estate markets vary dramatically and the area you are considering investing in could be quite different from other markets you know. For example, the availability of rental units may be much higher or lower than you are used to, which can impact rental income. There may be many students, families, or retirees in one area, while another area has different demographics. Knowing the market where you are buying will help you avoid mistakes from blindly trusting others.
3. You Need Boots on the Ground
You need a representative in each city you plan to buy property in. You can chose anyone, but you definately want someone with real estate experience and some understanding of investing. Home inspectors can be fantastic at verifying properties, since they are experienced at looking for problems. They may take some coaching on what to look for and how to photograph the property (like getting wide shots of the house and details on the furnace) since they are used to looking for specific details. An agent might be a good fit if they specialize in working with investors. Keep in mind their work on commission. That can affect some agents’ perspective and may limit their focus on on-market deals (those listed on the MLS).
If you can, hire someone you trust who can view the house on your behalf. Pay them a flat fee for an objective opinion of the property. They should provide you with details about the property and the neighborhood that you may not have been able to learn without being there for yourself. Ask them to videos, photos, and measurements.
4. Talk To The Neighbors
Talking to neighbors and people who actually live in the neighborhood where you want to buy can yield information you won’t find anywhere else. If you have a representative, ask them to talk to neighbors (if any are available) to get more insight into the property history and potential problems. You can also reach people in the neighborhood directly to ask their opinion of the area. Another option is looking for online neighborhood groups and apps. Find a forum where you can post your questions and brace yourself to get a wide variety of different opinions. While it is up to you what and where you want to buy, getting some feedback from the locals will help you make a better choice.
5. Have The Right Team
Any real estate business should have a team, but this becomes more complicated and important when the properties are remote. When you are buying a house without seeing it in Omaha, you will have to rely on the knowledge and ability of your team. There are a few key roles to consider for your team. First, you’ll want to have a great attorney and accountant in your corner. You’ll also need a trustworthy contractor/handyman and landscaper to help maintain the property. It’s best to identify a title company used by other investors. You may also need a moving company and a professional seller to make your purchase a successful one.
6. Create An Exit Strategy
You should have an exit strategy for every house you buy, or maybe three. If you decide to buy a house without seeling it in Omaha, you definitely need a plan for how to handle a bad situation. It’s possible to miss something that makes the property liability and requires lots more money than you expected. A solid exit plan allows you to buy investment property while still having the peace of mind that you will have an out if you need it.
Buying a house without seeing it in Omaha or in any market can be a bit of a gamble. Be armed with the right information and the right team backing you up and you’ll be able to find and buy a house in Omaha no matter where you live. If you are an out of state buyer who is thinking about making an investment in Omaha, get in touch with us to find out how we can help you.