Pet Peeve of Listing Agents is Home Buying Sight Unseen

Real Estate Agent with Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker DRE #00697006

One of the services I offer my Sacramento sellers is, upon receipt of an offer, I always check MLS to find out if the buyer's agent had accessed the lockbox. We can tell if the agent opened the box. If we have 10 offers on a home, and 9 of the agents showed it and one did not, the agent who did not show the home is at a severe disadvantage. Because we will tell the seller that her buyer has not seen the home. A buyer must see the home.

Having said that, I did buy a house in Hawaii that my husband did not see. It's not because he didn't have a chance to view it, it's that he wasn't in Hawaii and wasn't about to fly over to the island to isnpect a property that his Realtor wife had already viewed. But most buyer's spouses are not like that. Typically there are two decision makers.

Now, I have asked agents directly if they showed the house and they will say, "yes, the wife saw it." So then I have to ask: did you go inside? Because I've had agents "clarify" when pressed that the wife had driven by. Which is different from what I asked.

Because spouses will use each other as excuses. Ever try to pin down a guy to an appointment time and he'll say, "Let me check with my wife?" That means you'll never hear from him again.

You can read more in our personal blog today on this topic at this link: Dangers of Home Buying Sight Unseen.

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Weintraub and Wallace Realtors



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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to

Comments (15)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Elizabeth - definitely a pet peeve and a tremendous mistake by buyers and their agents.  When informing sellers of this "move" by prospective purchasers of their home I have never had them react favorably especially when multiple offers are on the table.  Not a good strategy.  

Apr 29, 2019 11:53 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

HI Elizabeth... I don't see this happen very often... maybe a different marketplace. But I have "purchased" homes for a number of clients who never saw them prior to purchase and they were very happy with the results. Then again, in each case I knew exactly what my people were looking for and had spent time with them looking at houses.

As for my husband, I don't think he's ever seen any house we bought prior to signing a contract but once. In one case, he didn't see the home until he flew into town for the closing. He adds nothing to the overall exercise. 

Apr 29, 2019 02:46 PM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Michael Jacobs And if you ask the idiot agent who propagates this sort of behavior, the agent won't even realize he or she has done anything wrong.

Apr 29, 2019 04:49 PM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Nina Hollander The unethical practice tends to happen in Sacramento because we have such a huge number of agents who are desperate to make a deal, anyway they can fit to make it happen, no matter what does it to anybody else, and then they can't even get it to close, after all of that deception.

Apr 29, 2019 04:53 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Elizabeth- the only time Larry and I almost did that was when we were trying to buy a home in a seller's market in Northern VA. We'd been looking for months and I was still back in Florida. A new listing came on the market quickly so Larry had me look at in online. The house went quickly and the buyer who got it has an escalation clause in the offer. 

Apr 29, 2019 07:01 PM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, I sold two homes to buyers who lived out of state, both were happy with their purchases. Thanks to video and Facetime, they can at least see the home on their smart devices. I wouldn't suggest this as it can turn out to be a disaster as well. 

Apr 30, 2019 11:33 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I have to agree with you on this one, Elizabeth!  That's not my favorite kind of buyer!

Apr 30, 2019 01:40 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Thankfully I've had good luck with selling sight-unseen here in Charlotte. In fact, last year, I sold a buyer from Sacramento their new home on the east coast, sight unseen! 

I know what they want and so far, I've never had one to terminate during the transaction and they've all been happy with their homes. 

HOWEVER, all agents don't really 'listen' to their clients and if I'm representing sellers, I would prefer them select a buyer who has already taken the first (and main) step in the elimination process - actually seeing the home!

May 02, 2019 06:50 PM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Debe Maxwell, CRS Agents in Sacramento write offers for buyers sight unseen so they can stop the competition from buying the home and tie it up. They don't think about 1) disclosing this to the listing agent and they should ot 2) the seller's reaction who thought her home was sold and 3) the other buyers who now believe the home is damaged somehow when it comes back on the market.

May 02, 2019 09:10 PM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

It's also a lot of responsiblity for the agent to write up an offer for a buyer(s) who has never seen the home. There can be backlash, why didn't you tell me the master bathroom was so small, the garage had oil stains...? The list goes on and a listing agent we know the buyers, when they finally see the home, may back out. 

May 04, 2019 07:35 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Oh, that is crazy that they do that, Elizabeth! When I'm the listing agent, I much prefer the buyer seeing the property first. When they go back on the market, regardless of who's fault it is, buyers always think there is something wrong with the property - it's never the fault of the buyers in their minds!

May 12, 2019 08:30 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Eliabeth, we do" by appointment only" and I am always at each showing, fixer, tear down or what ever.... and if they did not see it I advise against accepting offers like that. Now just to be clear I have sold two clients homes who were from Australia, in one case the Wife saw it (decision maker) in the other the husband saw it... and we got the wife on the phone and we had discussions, questions etc answered and the deal was consummated....Endre

May 12, 2019 09:01 PM
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

I'm seeing this happen more now during this pandemic. People are not as willing to jump on a plane to come see homes, and they are trusting their agents to help them find the perfect second home in La Quinta.

Sep 22, 2020 10:21 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

I agree that someone on the buying team needs to have set foot in the house, I do not support blind offers either. However, a departure in agreement I have is that...

I have shown many homes on Zoom the last 7 years for my military clients and the last 2 years for my pandemic clients. I also tour the homes, I've never written a blind offer, but I've run into listing agents that prejudice my clients for only having seen it virtually. Well, this is ridiculous in a pandemic or for someone that will never be in town prior to owning, so once I realized honesty was costing us, I flat out lie to these agents now, because it's only going to unfairly be used against my clients. 

Just because YOU couldn't buy that way, doesn't mean others can' fact some have only bought that way. I have no ethical or moral issue helping my buyers this way, it battles the ignorance of the seller or listing agent.

I have sold several of my listings to virtual buyers by the way.

Feb 19, 2022 07:47 AM