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Online Homebuying Makes Way for Sight Unseen Bids

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Online Homebuying Makes Way for Sight Unseen Bids

February 19, 2021
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Photo: H_Ko

With the increase in virtual selling tools and shortened listing times, making a bid on a home sight unseen has become easier and more common. Despite record low housing inventory, some first-time buyers remain insistent on becoming homeowners, even if it means never seeing the home in person before buying, reports the New York Times. First-time buyers made up 36% of total buyers in April 2020, a 5% increase from the two prior years. Millennials represent the largest share of buyers in the country. They are entering the white-hot market with unprecedented hurdles but a second nature for anything tech related, making online homebuying an ideal solution.

When Kassi Horton’s husband, Army Staff Sgt. Shaun Horton, received a cross-country change in assignment in the midst of a pandemic, she knew their home-buying process would be atypical.

Ms. Horton, 27, and Sergeant Horton, 28, had been living in a rental in upstate New York and felt it was time to finally purchase their first home in their new location, Colorado Springs. But they didn’t want to deal with the health risks and quarantine rules involved with flying back and forth to look at properties. And they didn’t have the luxury of travel time, anyway: the housing market in Colorado Springs, like many cities across America, is currently white-hot, with homes selling hours after hitting the market, often at 20 percent above the asking price.

So they jumped on an increasingly popular bandwagon for first-time buyers and made an offer on a home they had never seen in person. Eight more offers followed. For the Hortons, the ninth time was the charm, and in late January they moved into a new three-bedroom, two-bath home that they purchased entirely online.

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