People are buying homes without visiting them

This statistic seems way, WAY higher than it should be, but according to a survey from the USA “19 percent of people who bought or sold a home in the past year made a bid on a home before viewing it in person”.

At first when I read that I thought it was crazy talk! I know that people do buy homes without seeing, and in fact quite a few properties that I photographed in my role as a real estate photographer were sold to people interstate or overseas (and the real estate agents concerned were really keen to tell me this), but I had no idea it could go as high as 1 in 5 buyers.

Real estate photography and videos

But think about it – fantastic, high quality real estate photography is now available almost everywhere (as long as you choose the right photographer).

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Video tours can now show a potential buyer through a home with beautiful video tours like this:

(Created by Maricopa Real Estate Photography, Arizona, USA)

Or this:

(Created by Image It Sold in Melbourne, Australia)

Using Google Street View in real estate

And of course, why do you need to walk down a street to know what it’s like, when you can use Google Street View! Granted, some of the things you see on Google Street View can be a little weird at times (such as this fancy dress party in Scotland):

… but usually I find it to be a super helpful way to tour a neighborhood. If not quite as good as actually being there, it is as close as we can get without hopping in a car, or a plane, or a unicycle, and physically visit the place.

Using Facetime / Skype / Facebook Live to show buyers through a home

But then the other advantage now is when real estate agents use apps like Facebook Live or Skype to talk live to a potential buyer as they show them around a property. Here’s Zac McHardy from Brisbane, Australia, doing an open home on Facebook Live:

And here’s Monica Breckenridge from Pink Realty in Colorado Springs talking about how she uses Facetime or Skype to show buyers through homes in their military town when people can’t get to the area but need to purchase:


Here’s Jessica Edwards from Wilmington, North Carolina, talking about her experience with showing buyers through a home via Facetime:

But there are risks involved

In this article at Redfin they note the story of a buyer called Jason, who lived in Alaska but wanted to purchase a home in Denver:

Karla Kirkpatrick-Adams, Jason’s real estate agent in Denver, said that there are some circumstances when sight-unseen offers work, but she cautions buyers that it’s not without risk. In Jason’s case, Karla said, “I knew the condo building and exactly what Jason was looking for. Given his circumstances, a sight-unseen offer was the only option. This condo carried minimal risk because it is in a highrise in downtown Denver that has a solid Homeowners Association maintaining the building. Purchasing a single-family home would carry a lot more risk with the potential for latent defects or other issues.”

So that’s definitely something to remember as well – communication must be good between the buyer and the agent, and the buyer really needs to do their homework.

Real estate agents need the right marketing material to begin with

But of course all of this selling to potential buyers interstate (or in an entirely different country) becomes so much easier when you start with a great marketing campaign:

  • Professional, high quality photography (not the cheap stuff)
  • A great video tour
  • A floor plan of the home (fantastic for providing information to people interstate)

To find out more, check out the list of real estate photography and marketing experts listed here at