Inspection musts for long-distance real estate purchase

REThink Real Estate

The premier event for luxury agents and brokers
Luxury Connect | Oct. 16-18 | Beverly Hills

Q: We are flying to Palm Springs, Calif., over the weekend and are hoping to find a condo for vacations and eventual "snowbird" retirement. But, if we do find something, I am concerned that an inspection would take place without us being there. Flying back and forth repeatedly for every little thing involved in this purchase could almost cost more than the condo! Do you think a fair and thorough inspection can/will happen without the buyer being there?

A: Absolutely — I do think a fair and thorough inspection can happen in your absence, if you put all the right ingredients in place, which we’ll get to in just a moment.

However, I’d still strongly encourage you to attend your inspection. I agree that flying back and forth can be uber-expensive, and I’m not suggesting you need to do it several times for a single property. But I have — more than a few times — heard deep buyer’s remorse from buyers who saw their properties only once, at the initial showing, before they bought it.

A second visit, whether it occurs during inspections or not, is the opportunity for you to make sure that this is the place you want; to spot and notice good, bad and ugly elements of the property that you simply did not see the first time you were there; and to get a deep confirmation that this is the right place for you — or have a change of heart — before you have to remove your contingencies and commit to closing the deal.

These days, it is not necessary that you be in the town where the property is located to execute your closing. The escrow holder can overnight the paperwork to wherever you are, and a local notary who can vouch that you signed it in person is really all it takes to seal the deal.