Investing in a piece of real estate once meant that you had to be there, inside the property, inspecting its walls and foundation. Opening windows and testing appliances. You wouldn’t think of paying all that money for a property without seeing it multiple times.
Things have changed dramatically.
It’s possible, now, to buy a home sight unseen. It’s not a process everyone is comfortable with, but if you’re a real estate investor who is exploring markets outside of the region in which you live, you may have to make peace with it.
Sometimes, it’s a benefit. You can save yourself a lot of time and travel resources by conducting the entire business deal virtually.
As long as you do plenty of due diligence to make sure a potential property fits your investment goals, makes a good rental, and is capable of earning what you need it to earn in the short term and the long term, there’s no reason not to buy sight unseen.
You’ll need a team of local experts who can assist you.
How Can You Invest in a Property You’ve Never Seen?
Remote investing is not as risky as it once was. There’s a natural suspicion that you’re being scammed or buying a property that doesn’t really exist, but with all the checks and balances that are in place, it would be very hard to get away with something like that. Especially when you’re working with someone in the local area who can go and physically see the rental home or the commercial space you want to buy.
Thanks to innovative technology and a network of online tools and platforms, you can view listings, negotiate deals, and transfer funds without being in the same room or even the same state as the seller.
You’ll need a strong understanding of your own investment goals before you invest sight unseen. Know why you’re choosing this particular market. How does it fit into what you’re trying to do? Understand how a specific property enhances your portfolio and your goals. Don’t buy something just because it’s priced well. If you’re going to invest in a property without seeing it, you have to know it’s the right property at the right time.
Choosing a Philadelphia Property Management Partner
Your first step, when buying an investment property sight unseen, is to partner with a local expert. You need a real estate expert who can help you navigate the sales process, but you especially need a local property manager who can talk to you about rental values, maintenance costs, and the likelihood that a particular property will be attractive to high quality tenants.
Lean on your real estate agent, who will help you identify a property and negotiate a deal. They’ll help with closing and sharing information about your property. They can give you a virtual tour and walk through the property while you’re on FaceTime or Zoom.
Philadelphia property managers can take you through the entire investment cycle, from identifying an opportunity to finding and placing a tenant and signing a lease agreement. As a remote real estate investor, you’ll need local experts who have invested heavily in technology. This will allow you to stay connected to your management company and your rental property.
Here’s the type of technology that will make this possible:
- Video technology so you can be present at inspections, tours, and visits (if you want to be).
- An online platform or portal that gathers all of the information you need in one place, including quotes and estimates and reports.
- Communication tools. How can you get in touch and stay in touch with your agent and property manager?
Your real estate and property management partner can represent you in Philadelphia, or wherever you’re buying your property sight unseen.
We are always monitoring the real estate and rental markets locally. As an investor who is buying sight unseen, you’ll want access to the data we’re gathering. As you’re preparing to make an offer, we’ll determine what you should be paying and what you can expect to earn from that property when you’re renting it out.
What else can your local property manager do to help you, once you’ve closed the deal and you’re focused on leasing, managing, and maintaining?
- Provide an efficient leasing period. We rent out properties that are occupied quickly, avoiding long vacancies and financial loss.
- Deliver an immediate response to emergency maintenance issues and routine repairs.
- Collect rent on time every month.
- Enforce the lease agreement and hold tenants accountable, even while establishing respectful and professional relationships.
- Offer lower turnovers and higher tenant retention.
A local property management partner will understand the requirements of your portfolio and develop a good relationship with your tenants.
You don’t need to feel like you’re investing sight unseen, even if you are. That’s because we’re seeing the property for you, and we’re making sure you have all the information that we have.
Local Market Knowledge and Remote Investing
Understanding the local market, its rental values, its home prices, and its competing properties is an important part of investing, even if you’re going to invest without stepping foot in the area.
This is part of the due diligence we mentioned earlier; you need to conduct it on any property you’d buy, even one in your own neighborhood.
Research the area you’re considering, or ask for data from your local partners. Is there population growth? Low unemployment? How’s the economy? You’ll want to know if it’s a growing region for commercial activity and whether any new businesses are moving into the area (or if any are leaving).
We’re evaluating rental values every day. We’re looking at the properties coming onto the market, we’re considering the updates and improvements that owners are making, and we’re measuring the competition.
Your best property management partner will share all of that knowledge with you before you buy.
If you’re ready to invest in a piece of real estate but you have no plans to come and see it yourself, get in touch with a team like ours. Please contact us at McSherry Property Management. We work with investors of all experience levels in the greater Philadelphia metro area as well as surrounding suburban areas in Montgomery, Chester, Burlington, and Delaware County, to the Delaware River.