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Tips for Buying an Investment Property Sight Unseen

Ellicott City Property Manager on a Video Call with a Remote InvestorIf you feel ready for additional rental property for your investment portfolio, you may be thinking about buying in a market far from where you live. There are a number of reasons to do so, especially if you know a certain market is ideal for owning a rental home in Ellicott City. You may even be thinking of purchasing your new rental property sight unseen. After all, many rental property investors who do it don’t have any problems. Buying rental properties sight unseen, however, has some potential pitfalls that you definitely want to avoid. To help you acquire a profitable rental property sight unseen, here are a few of the top tips from real estate experts.

Get a good real estate agent.

The key to successfully buying a property sight unseen is hiring the right real estate agent. There is no substitute for someone who knows the local market, has expertise in the type of property you want to buy and is willing to send you detailed information about each listing. To make sure you get the right person, ask for references, check their experience, and conduct interviews. You will be working closely with this person, so it is very important to find a good fit.

Ask the right questions.

Whether or not you plan to tour a listed property, you need to ask a lot of questions and collect as much information as you can. This is especially true if you won’t be able to see certain things for yourself on-site. For instance, your real estate agent could provide you with a floor plan or even just the dimensions and rough layout of the property. You should also ask about the visible condition of the property and things like sounds and smells. These are things you can’t tell from only a photo.

Research the area.

Other than the details about the property itself, you should also ask about the potential new neighborhood. Google Earth and Google Maps are useful resources for viewing the property’s street. Your real estate agent can also include a walking tour of the area in a video tour of the house so that you can get a better sense of the surroundings.

Request video tours at different times of the day.

Oftentimes, the best way to learn about a potential property is to look at it at different times of the day. A property that looks like it is in a serene neighborhood in the morning can be surrounded by rowdy neighbors, late-night train sounds, or other nuisances that your daytime tour would have missed. Things can look very different in the daylight than at night.

Enlist friends and family to help.

If you happen to know someone living near the rental property you want to buy, it would help if you ask them to tour the property and drive around the neighborhood in your place. The second set of eyes is helpful in pointing out details your real estate agent missed (or didn’t want to report). Since they are residents, they can also give you a better sense of how the different parts of town and the property’s neighborhood actually feel.

Get an appraisal and a home inspection.

Finally, you have to insist on a professional appraisal and home inspection. While many lenders require both as part of the financing process, you should still schedule a professional inspection even if it isn’t required. The inspection and appraisal can raise issues such as serious structural problems with the property itself to significant elements that could affect your property’s value. These are important to know before you commit to the purchase.


Of course, one of the best ways to buy a property sight unseen is to purchase one that Real Property Management Prime manages. Our Ellicott City property management experts know every detail of the property and can often help you find off-market deals before they’re even listed. To learn more, contact us online.

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