Client: "We can't come down to look at homes for another 60 days or so. Because of the tight waterfront market in Cape Coral/Ft Myers, should we make an offer sight unseen on a home that appeals to us based on photos and MLS information (with the contingency that we can withdraw from the contract if we don't like the home?"
Cape Waterfront Team: We strongly recommend against this. First, very few owners would accept an offer in such a strong seller's market (3.9 months of inventory). The only sellers likely to accept this type of offer are those whose homes haven't been able to sell, which means they are either overpriced, in need of a lot of work, in a poor neighborhood, or a combination of all three. Definitely not the scenario we want for our client's home purchase.
The second reason we feel this is a poor risk/reward is that you can't tell about the neighborhood from the photos, not even with an aerial view from Google Earth. Additionally, as I always tell buyers, the photos shown in the MLS are always nicer than what the home looks like in person (except for brand new construction).
All these reasons make it a poor risk for a buyer to spend the time, money and added stress of flying down here to look at one home. Our experience has shown that the buyer is disappointed too often. It's best to wait until you can come down to look at several homes, and make an unrushed and wiser decision.