Surge of homes being sold without buyers seeing the property

Before Covid-19 it was a rare event, but now real estate agents say they’re seeing a surge of homes being sold without buyers physically looking at the property.

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Real estate agents say with more Kiwis consider moving home, they're being forced to buy while still overseas. Source: 1 NEWS

They say more Kiwis are looking to move home and are being forced to buy while still overseas.

Chris Robinson, a Tommy’s Real Estate agent, told 1 NEWS that New Zealanders overseas are using friends and family to canvass potential homes.

“We've just had here this afternoon a friend of a potential purchaser who is looking to buy sight unseen currently living in London,” he said.

Buying sight unseen was previously rare and often limited to mortgagee sales or due to health and safety concerns.

However, Covid-19 and travel restrictions have changed that and real estate agents are often giving people virtual tours.

“We give them a good run through the property on our phone usually… opening cupboards,  closing doors,  under homes, in roofs,” Robinson said.

1 NEWS has heard of purchases taking place from the Cayman Islands, New York, Singapore and even from managed isolation hotels.

The Real Estate Institute’s Bindi Norwell says buying without looking isn’t as risky as some think.

She said it was about having the right advisors and getting a building report.

“It's the things that are underneath the property or around the property that you can’t see in a virtual tour that you need to make sure you've covered off,” Norwell said.