More homebuyers making offers before seeing homes in person
Kelly Leighton
Jul 11, 2017
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In a recent survey, one-third of Americans who purchased a home in the last year reported they had made an offer without seeing the house first in person.

That’s an increase of 14 percent from last year, according to Redfin, and 12 percent from 2015. Millennials were the generation most likely to buy without viewing first at 41 percent, followed by 30 percent of Generation X members and 12 percent of baby boomers. Thanks to lower housing inventory, and rising home costs, more buyers are likely to take the plunge and make an offer without seeing the home in person first. The average home went under contract in 37 days in May, a week faster than this time last year, and the fastest since the survey began in 2010. Additionally, with advances in technology, many buyers feel they have seen enough, thanks to videos and photos available of homes for sale.

Even for those who do see the homes in person first, affordability is a top concern among homebuyers. Forty percent said it is their biggest obstacle, while 21 percent reported that home prices have led them to look for homes in more affordable areas, and 32 percent reported they only looked in affordable neighborhoods, while more than 20 percent considered smaller homes or a fixer-upper.

Additionally, a potential increase in mortgage rates could make buyers scramble to purchase even quicker. If the mortgages rates hit 5 percent or higher, 23 percent said they would try to buy faster, while 29 percent said they would slow down, and hope to see the rates drop. A quarter reported it wouldn’t impact their homebuying, while 5 percent said they would scrape their buying plans for now.