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Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Old Apr 26th 2007, 11:34 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Originally Posted by The TWs View Post
I have fallen in love with a house on mls.ca that is within our budget and in a great area and am considering , slightly, the prospect of buying something without seeing it myself.

I have my mum over there and my mother and father-in-law are heading out for a visit so they can see it too.

Has anyone else done this? Am I totally mad to even consider it?
I would be really suspicious. We saw some houses we thought looked great on MLS when we went to see them OH MY GOODNESS! What dives. What we found interesting was the angles the photos are taken from really do disguise the real nature of the houses. The one house we did like when we saw it in person the estate agent discouraged us from going down into the basement as it was unfinished with dirt floors and we would need to go back and get our shoes etc etc. The rest of the house was beautiful with a new extension and a jacuzzi in the master bedroom and so we decided to put on offer on it. It turned out when we got it surveyed to have absolutely no foundation and was sinking rapidly into the ground beneath it, also the extension was a DIY job and the bad workmanship is to lengthy to list. So beware even if you see the house make sure you get a survey done. The surveyor we hired advised us not to look at houses built pre-1960's and if possible always go for post 1970's. They refer to anything built before this as old timers and for a reason!
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 3:13 am
  #32  
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Originally Posted by ellsie View Post
My OH came over and bought our house so I had never seen it till I got here. There are 5 of us so we couldn't afford another big trip but with prices going up at the time we didn't want to wait. He sent lots of photos back but of course it's not the same as seeing it and choosing it yourself. So we have a house with lots of space for us all in a lovely neighbourhood. Big basement for his book collection and next to a park so he has less mowing! Not a bad choice!
Well I'm glad you are still together! Obviously you have the same taste in homes. Good for you!
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 4:48 am
  #33  
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Originally Posted by The TWs View Post
I have fallen in love with a house on mls.ca that is within our budget and in a great area and am considering , slightly, the prospect of buying something without seeing it myself.

I have my mum over there and my mother and father-in-law are heading out for a visit so they can see it too.

Has anyone else done this? Am I totally mad to even consider it?
We did something also seen as mad. Bought a piece of land we did see.Looked at a house plan and left the builder to get on with it whilst we flew back to Uk. went back once it was finished. Too late to change our mind!. What we would not have done is buy anything built unseen. MLS can be very deceiving. If you do take a chance, get an independent appraiser to go in and check over, and give you a current market value. We also found a realtor that was fantastic and send photos of our build. Our neigbour bought unseen, and is demolishing her house in a few weeks, and building a new house!! tells a story doesnt it? Good luck.
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 5:17 am
  #34  
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

We purchased 2 houses, a business and 32 acres that we'd only driven past and taken vague note of 6mths previously - didn't step foot inside any of the premises.

The realtor was very helpful, took photos from every conceivable angle, patiently answered endless lists of questions, and put us in touch with a variety of people that were able to help us make a decision.

The only fly in the ointment was that once we'd paid a deposit, the vendor made a decision that up-keep and maintenance was no longer required. We arrived a few months later and found acres of knee high weeds, broken fences and lots of repair work to do (it's an equestrian property www.fieldstone-equestrian.ca and horses aren't exactly easy on fences, particularly when all the electric fence has been turned off to save on hydro bills )

Don't regret what we did, went in with eyes open and expecting the worst. Made sure we had sufficient contingency and rolled our sleeves up.
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 7:37 am
  #35  
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Originally Posted by R I C H View Post
We purchased 2 houses, a business and 32 acres that we'd only driven past and taken vague note of 6mths previously - didn't step foot inside any of the premises.

The realtor was very helpful, took photos from every conceivable angle, patiently answered endless lists of questions, and put us in touch with a variety of people that were able to help us make a decision.

The only fly in the ointment was that once we'd paid a deposit, the vendor made a decision that up-keep and maintenance was no longer required. We arrived a few months later and found acres of knee high weeds, broken fences and lots of repair work to do (it's an equestrian property www.fieldstone-equestrian.ca and horses aren't exactly easy on fences, particularly when all the electric fence has been turned off to save on hydro bills )

Don't regret what we did, went in with eyes open and expecting the worst. Made sure we had sufficient contingency and rolled our sleeves up.
RICH - Wow - just looked on your website. The equestrian centre is massive. That must have cost an arm and a leg so what a massive gamble when buying from the UK. Looks like it worked out for you though - it's fantastic!
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 6:19 pm
  #36  
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Thanks for your comments - it wasn't quite and arm and a leg, but plenty enough! We sold a 2 bed thatched cottage in a nice part of Worcestershire and used our equity to buy it, plus a small mortgage. Look carefully and you'll find that there are some great property/business deals to be had.

We've seem to have spent the arm and a leg element on improvements, refurbishments etc. The pics on the website are a far cry from 18mths ago - we removed in excess of 60 dump truck loads of waste and rubbish in the first couple of months here, so it's been a big exercise in clean-up and better presentation of facilities.

Should pay dividends - will probably move on once PR comes through (on 3yr work permits currently), so hope to see a good return on our investment.
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 6:52 pm
  #37  
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Rich - that looks amazing! Must have been one hell of a decision to take the plunge - good on ya!
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 7:06 pm
  #38  
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Originally Posted by iaink View Post

Of course a realtor will help you buy it unseen, there is a good chance that they will be the ones to help resell it if the dream goes sour, and they stand to make $17k commision from facilitating the initial deal in the first place, never mind any resell.

Why would they discourage you from doing this? They could potentially make $50 grand out of your mistake?

Please note that I am a Realtor, and I stated that I would not recommend it, but sometimes due to various circumstances it is necessary.

Iaink is quite right about the expenses involved, this should not be the approach if there is any way to avoid it.
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 9:08 pm
  #39  
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Thats what we did-sort of- we saw the house we wanted on mls in May 2006, went over in july for a week reccy and went to the open house on this place, kind of had a half hearted look around as we never dreamed it wld still be on market when our time was right.

we just wanted to see inside some canadian houses.

then our house sold in 2 weeks flat and our canadian dream house was still on mls - this was october 2006!

so we arranged for our realtor to get things going, arranged home inspection which nearly put us off but we neednt have worried, these guys are very thorough and pick up everything!

arranged mortgage and insurance quotes all ready and lined up for us when we stepped off the plane.

it was hard work but it paid off and 3 days after landing in ontario we picked up the keys to our new house. We are now living very nicely thank you in the house that waited for us!

Go for it if thats what you want - I can assist you with how to do everything! PM me
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Originally Posted by Bsidebaby View Post
arranged home inspection which nearly put us off but we neednt have worried, these guys are very thorough and pick up everything!
Or more accurately...Some of these guys are very thorough...


Unfortunately some of them couldn't find there arse with both hands in the dark.

As far as home inspectors go , get personal recommendations from people you trust (not necessarily your realtor who of course wants the sale to happen), or failing that ask a few inspectors for some satisfied customers you could talk to, and then make sure you follow up and talk to them. Its a largely unregulated profession here, with few set standards, and there are more than a few cowboys out there. And if they screw up, dont expect to be able to sue them for compensation, they are largely untouchable.
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 10:12 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Originally Posted by iaink View Post
Or more accurately...Some of these guys are very thorough...
As in any profession, actually considering the complexity and range of N.American construction the Industry in Canada does pretty well with regard to complaints

Unfortunately some of them couldn't find there arse with both hands in the dark.

As far as home inspectors go , get personal recommendations from people you trust (not necessarily your realtor who of course wants the sale to happen), or failing that ask a few inspectors for some satisfied customers you could talk to, and then make sure you follow up and talk to them. Its a largely unregulated profession here, with few set standards, and there are more than a few cowboys out there. And if they screw up, dont expect to be able to sue them for compensation, they are largely untouchable.
Realtors should really be giving a choice of 3-4, this cozy relationship of Realtor recommended HI's is where a lot of the problems lie.
Customer ignorance (probably more so Ex-pats) is a huge part of the problem and your post demonstrates that fact.
Regulation has not especially helped the Industry. In the States, Oregon has amongst the toughest licensing, and I have heard horror stories down there.
The majority of Home Inspectors voluntarily join Associations such as Cahpi or Nachi, undertaking Inspections to a well defined Standards of Practice.
As for Home Inspectors being untouchable??, they could probably save 4-5K on their E&O insurance then.
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 10:51 pm
  #42  
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Sadly I'm with the previous post as our home inspector missed some glaring stuff not least the design of the furnace ducting. All advice that we have had from Canadian professionals (not ex-pats) is that it's virtually impossible to get any recourse. It would be expensive, take forever and the outcome is unlikely to go in our favour. We're stuck with sorting it ourselves. Basically then the report was worthless in our case.
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 11:12 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Originally Posted by MCrocker View Post
Sadly I'm with the previous post as our home inspector missed some glaring stuff not least the design of the furnace ducting. All advice that we have had from Canadian professionals (not ex-pats) is that it's virtually impossible to get any recourse. It would be expensive, take forever and the outcome is unlikely to go in our favour. We're stuck with sorting it ourselves. Basically then the report was worthless in our case.
There you go, glaring stuff....since over 90% of house ductwork is not exposed.... a huge misrepresentation of your Inspector, and their scope of Inspection.
Did your HI work to any SOP, (none actually include any design considerations, engineering assessment, costing evaluations, code compliancy etc etc)
I went to the doctor, I refused to take my cloths off, he missed a malignant mole on my arse.
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 11:28 pm
  #44  
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Originally Posted by Hudman View Post
There you go, glaring stuff....since over 90% of house ductwork is not exposed.... a huge misrepresentation of your Inspector, and their scope of Inspection.
Did your HI work to any SOP, (none actually include any design considerations, engineering assessment, costing evaluations, code compliancy etc etc)
I went to the doctor, I refused to take my cloths off, he missed a malignant mole on my arse.

Sorry but the flaws in the ducting are exposed - in fact the biggest issues were plainly to be seen straight from the furnace.

Each to his own opinion of course but the fact is that a home inspection should determine if there isn't adequate heating in two of the bedrooms. Perhaps I'm just expecting too much eh? The mole analogy is off the mark.
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Old Apr 27th 2007, 11:52 pm
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Default Re: Buying a house you've never seen?!?!?!

Originally Posted by MCrocker View Post
Sorry but the flaws in the ducting are exposed - in fact the biggest issues were plainly to be seen straight from the furnace.

Each to his own opinion of course but the fact is that a home inspection should determine if there isn't adequate heating in two of the bedrooms. Perhaps I'm just expecting too much eh? The mole analogy is off the mark.
How long did the Inspection take?
Were you there for Inspection...was the home furnished?
Again if it was a design flaw or BTU calculation of duct size, they are not included on ANY HI Standards of Practice.
Perhaps you should have read your Home Inspectors SOP.
Quite frankly if I could get a HVAC Engineer, Plumber, Carpenter etc etc for around $400 I would do that pre purchase. HI's are generalists akin to seeing your GP. He will refer you, if appropriate.
Your going to have to convince me your HI messed up.
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