Sight unseen property purchases have increased over the past two years due to COVID in the community and the subsequent level 4 lockdowns. Fueled by a desire for a change of scenery and lifestyle, many kiwis spent lockdown combing through property websites and looking to relocate to other regions. Buying sight unseen has become not only a feasible way to purchase property, but with the assistance of digital tools that support this process, it can also be relatively straight forward.

Useful digital and online tools

One of the most important aspects of buying a property sight unseen is to be able to understand and visualize the layout of the house. 3D virtual tours and 2D floorplans are fantastic tools for this. A 3D tour creates the illusion you are walking through the property. You can turn around, go into different rooms, and explore the layout of the home. A 2D floorplan provides a topological view of the layout of the property which illustrates the configuration of the home like a digital map.

Other tools that can be beneficial when property shopping from home include online resources that allow you to research potential homes. has an online tool called Property Checker which you can use to search houses by their street address and basic information, and this then generates a report on areas they recommend you do further research into. If you are looking at homes that you intend to renovate, then is also a useful resource. This portal allows you to search by project eg. deck, garage, bathroom etc and brings up information on whether or not council consent will be required, as well as any other guidelines or restrictions around obtaining that consent.

Alternatively, if you are wanting to purchase an investment property sight unseen, then chat to your EVES salesperson about obtaining a rental appraisal from one of our property managers, which can give you an idea of the expected yield.

What information to request from the salesperson

After identifying property listings that interest you, you can request further information from the listing salesperson to assist in gauging the suitability of the property for your intended purpose. Requesting the Certificate of Title and LIM report is a good place to start.

The Certificate of Title is effectively the deed to the property. It includes information such as the legal description and legal ownership entity, as well as any rights and restrictions that apply to the land. It is important to have your lawyer review the title to ensure there are no restrictions in the form of caveats or encumbrances that could potentially affect your intended use of the property.

A LIM report, or Land Information Memorandum, is a summary of information about the land and buildings held by the local council and can include everything from building consents and previous work done, to zoning information or history of flooding. Although many vendors have a LIM report available to supply to prospective buyers, you will be encouraged to purchase your own LIM report to ensure the information is right up to date (the same goes for a building report). Your lawyer or conveyancer will then extensively review the information supplied.

In addition to any information pertaining to the house and land, it is also good to ask your salesperson questions such as why the current vendors are vacating, what the neighbours and neighbourhood are like, if any unconsented works have been done and if there are known defects.

When you decide to proceed with a purchase sight unseen, the method of sale may determine the order and timeline in which you need to arrange your conditions of sale. An auction requires purchasing on an unconditional basis, so all conditions need to be satisfied before the auction date, such as finance or having a building report done. Your EVES salesperson will be able to liaise with you on the process for auctions including telephone bidding. If the property is priced or listed by negotiation, then your offer can be subject to conditions which you then have a set period of time to arrange completion of.

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