There was a time when we would have advised against investing in a property sight unseen. It would have seemed way too risky and not worth whatever deal you thought you were getting. Come and see it for yourself, we would have said.
These days, we not only recommend buying a property sight unseen, we facilitate the process with investors from all over the country and even all over the world. As long as you have access to great technology and a knowledgeable local partner in place wherever you’re buying, you’ll find you’re able to close a deal that works well for you and your investment goals.
That isn’t to say it’s a breeze. There are some unique challenges that you’ll have to be prepared to encounter. But, the real estate market in Orlando is moving quickly. You have to be ready to buy when the right opportunity comes along. Why waste time flying out here?
Here’s what you need to know about investing in a property sight unseen.
Limit Your Risk with Extra Due Diligence
Orlando and the Central Florida real estate market is a great place for investors regardless of where they are. There’s a lot of diverse housing available to you, and you’ll find single-family homes in new construction neighborhoods, condos in older and more established communities, and units in multifamily buildings all across the area.
If you’re not going to walk through the property on your own and in person, you’ll want to spend a bit more time than you normally would on things like photographs, data, video tours, and inspections. Conduct as much research as possible into the location and the history of the property.
Start with a complete inspection of the property. You’ll want a licensed inspector to show you where some of your most potentially problematic areas may be. Evaluate the inspection report carefully and ask any questions that might pop up. You might be concerned about a faltering roof or windows that aren’t hurricane-proof. No, we don’t get direct hits in our inland part of Florida, but you’d be surprised at what a strong tropical rain and wind storm can do here. If you’re not local to the area, this is a spot you could miss.
Find information online about the property. Review tax records and the history of purchases and ownership transfers. Get to know the dynamics and the demographics of the neighborhood. This will impact the types of tenants you’re able to attract.
Partner with Local Orlando Real Estate and Property Management Experts
Get in touch with a real estate agent who can help you identify potential properties and negotiate deals. This is an important relationship to have in place so you can close effortlessly, without being there in person. You’ll lean on your real estate agent to talk about the property’s price, location, and the competition you’re likely to encounter when making an offer.
When you choose a real estate agent, make sure they understand that you’ll be buying the property without seeing it yourself. You’ll need as many photos as possible. You’ll want your agent to walk through the property for you. You’ll want videos and real-time conversations about what the home has to offer and where you might have some trouble.
Even more important than the help you get from a real estate agent will be the partnership you form with a local property manager. This is essential because when you buy a property sight unseen, you don’t have the understanding of the local market that’s so necessary in establishing rental values and deciding on renovations.
Choose an Orlando property management expert who has detailed information on the local rental market. You want someone who knows the local rental values, the vacancy rates, the competing homes, and the tenants. You’re looking for a property management relationship that begins with the purchase and extends into the leasing period and the tenancy. You’ll lean on your property manager for help with preparing the property for the rental market and selecting tenants. Your property manager will have access to vendors and contractors. You’ll know what to charge in rent and whether to accept pets because of the experience provided by your management company.
Don’t wait to hire a property manager after you buy the investment property. When you’re buying sight unseen, you need this help right away.
Leverage Technology to Invest Sight Unseen
The technology available to property managers and investors is improving every day. You’ll need to access the best and most innovative platforms and apps when you’re investing in real estate from afar, especially if you don’t plan on seeing the property before you buy it.
It starts with basics like video tours and Zoom calls to talk face-to-face with contractors and inspectors.
There are also 3D floor plans that can help you understand what you’re buying. Property management insights and data analytics driven by artificial intelligence can provide the most accurate analysis of data points available. You’ll need video chats and online meetings.
It’s important to think about real estate management and property management technology when you’re choosing your professional partners. Where are they getting their information? What can they provide and how do they invest in technology? Ask these questions.
When you’re investing in a rental property without seeing it, you have to be transparent, you have to trust your local partnerships, and you have to do all the due diligence that would be required for any investment. Make sure the numbers work. Make sure you’re comfortable with what you know about the market. Take a look at your investment goals and see how a Central Florida investment property fits into your overall goals. Then, move forward with entering this market. Even if you don’t come here yourself.
Orlando and Central Florida have a lot of potential, whether you’re a new or experienced real estate investor. Let’s talk about how we can align our services with your needs. We’d love to talk about working with you as you explore this market and its value. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at RE/MAX 200 Realty. We manage rental properties in Orlando and throughout the greater Central Florida area, including Orange County and Seminole County.