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Home Bidding Sight-Unseen?

An increasing number of homebuyers are making offers for homes without first seeing them in person, according to an analysis by online brokers Redfin.

The study, which surveyed 1503 respondents who purchased a home in the last one year in November and December 2017, found that 35 percent of people who bought a house last year made an offer without seeing it in person, showing an increase from 33 percent in May 2017 and 19 percent in June 2016.

It found that millennials were even more likely to make an offer on a home sight-unseen with 45 percent of millennials surveyed saying that they had made an offer on the home before seeing it, reflecting their comfort on relying on online information about homes for sales and neighborhoods.

In fact, the study found that many buyers who can’t get to tour a home right away because they are busy or relocating rely on online tools such as virtual tours, online maps, housing apps, statistics, and online reviews to understand the subtler aspects of the neighborhood where they plan to live.

Regionally, homebuyers in Los Angeles were most likely to bid on a home before seeing it, the survey indicated, with more than half (57 percent) of the respondents in this area saying that they had successfully made an offer on a home they had not seen in person.

Los Angeles’ neighbors, San Diego and San Francisco with 46 percent and 44 percent respectively were other hot Californian markets where homebuyers put a bid before actually seeing the home. The study found that the prevalence of foreign investors in Los Angeles might have played a role in the popularity of sight-unseen offers.

Apart from the competitive California markets, this trend was also prevalent in Chicago, Austin, Denver, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Portland, and Sacramento.

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