Archive for the ‘Can I buy a house if I’m not there?’ Category

Can I Buy a House If I’m Not There?

Friday, February 1st, 2013

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

Empty chairs at empty tables ain't just a song from Les Mis.

Empty chairs at empty tables ain't just a song from Les Mis.

Can I buy a house if I’m not there?

Of course you can.  You can sell one too.  It’s fairly common.

But you should look at it first before you ever make an offer.

On rare occasions we’ll have a buyer out of state who finds a “hot deal” online and wants to write an offer to it, the offer being contingent on the buyer seeing it and inspecting it.

In plain English: they want to put an offer in, but have the right to walk away if they don’t actually like it.

In some cases these deals are rejected because…assuming it’s a hot property…there are other people who want to buy it and have already seen it.

But in other cases these are accepted and sometimes the buyer actually goes through with it.

And last year we even had a true overseas buyer, who never saw the property in person, and who purchased it.  His agent did a lot of legwork regarding inspections, video, photos that were emailed overseas (the buyer was serving in Afghanistan at the time).

Here’s how the out of town buyer or seller usually works:

The buyer comes into town on a very tight schedule, views multiple properties, makes an offer, gets it accepted and then leaves.  On some occassions we can schedule the inspections quickly enough so that the buyer can attend, but not always.  From there on out everything is done electronically.  While I would attend the inspections for the buyer, the reports are sent via email, and the closing is done by overnight mail or electronically.

In this market, where we have a lot of second homes or homes where the seller has already moved to take a job, it is not unusual for the buyer and seller both not attend inspections or closings, with everything done by overnight mail or via email.

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you are out of town and need to buy or sell here in St. Augustine!  Email us at or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.