Buying property off the Internet, sight unseen - would you?

Buying property off the Internet, sight unseen - would you? I sure hope not.



buying property off the internet, sight unseen - would you?


Over the years many potential Clients have contacted me regarding selling property they bought off the Internet. Lots or land, sight unseen, with loads of potential promise.


Sure I understand that the low Sale price offers great enticement and the possibility of doubling or even tripling your money BUT not if you have not done your homework first.




Very rarely, I can only remember one, have any of these purchases turned into anything but a large expense. It can be a large expense to confirm they are a saleable piece of property.


If that parcel was located within a Community, not only do you have to pay the taxes on this property annually but now you also have to pay the Dues of the Community annually. While you wait for the market to turn around and sell the property at a profit, your expenses add up quickly.


To sell the property you must ensure to a potential Buyer that it is in fact a “saleable piece of property” and to do that you will need to confirm that the property can support its own septic system (pass a perc test) and that it is not located within wetlands. None of these steps are free and they can greatly add to your expense.


Most of these parcels have gone to sheriffs sale because the current owner did not want to continue to pay taxes on a piece of unsaleable piece of property. Someone picks them up at sheriffs sale for pennies on the dollar and sells them for a great profit on the Internet. You would think that this would be illegal or monitored somehow but sadly, it is not.


Nine out of ten of these parcels cannot get a passed perc test on them or they are located within Wetlands.  Some have been approved for alternate septic systems (very expensive) or if you are lucky you can be given the chance to “improve the soil” and get a passed perc test.  To “improve” the soil you must bring in truckloads of dirt and let the soil improve to receive a passed perc test.  How is that for adding to your expense totals on this “cheap” property?


Do your due diligence before you purchase a property sight unseen on the Internet. If it sounds too good to be true, IT IS!


Buying property off the Internet, sight unseen - would you? I sure hope not.


10 Steps of buying property or a house in the Poconos.

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When looking for a Realtor© in the Poconos that will listen, assist and guide you without "pushing" you, contact Bobbie Smith. I would love to help.


Bobbie Smith, CRS

(Certified Residenial Specialist-CRS)

570-242-1891 Cell Best (Call or Text)

570-421-2345 Office 


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All pictures, text, etc. stated within is the exclusive property of Bobbie Smith and cannot be copied or duplicated without written consent from Bobbie Smith.  All statistics and data contained herein are obtained from reliable sources and are deemed reliable however each individual should always do their own research on each topic and derive their own conclusions. Any statements of opinion are just that, the opinions of Bobbie Smith. *Realtor is a registered trademark of NAR*

Comment balloon 8 commentsBobbie Smith • November 24 2014 05:33AM


Sometimes even when you see it... it's not a good idea.  There was recently a ONE day sale in a new "lakefront gated community"  It was laughable how people showed up and signed up for these lots on that ONE day.  They over paid and are now stuck with a pig in a poke.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 4 years ago

That is scary Bobbie. I have some property sight unseen but not quite like this example. I personally would never do it.

Posted by Noah Seidenberg, Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917 (Coldwell Banker) over 4 years ago

Good morning, Bobbie Smith it's never a good idea to buy any piece of real estate unseen.... risky business....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 4 years ago

Bobbie, I have seen a number of sellers who have contacted me about FL property they bought like this years ago by sink holes, etc.  it was money down the slide!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 4 years ago


How crazy is that?  What is amazing is how many fall for that kind of a scheme.

Happy Monday to you.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) over 4 years ago

Hi Tammy, A one day sale. That tactic worked well for the owner. Too bad the consumer did not fare as well

Posted by Bobbie Smith, 570-242-1891 over 4 years ago

Never is right Noah. Thanks.

I agree Barbara and it is a darn shame how often it is done.

Yep Ginny. Money right down the drain. Someone made a nice profit.

Amazing how many fall for that scheme is right Alexandra. Way too many have fallen for it. Lost thousands of dollars and then the property ends up going for sheriffs sale again.

Posted by Bobbie Smith, 570-242-1891 over 4 years ago

Bobbie, this should be featured.  It happens down here often enough but like you say, just going by the pictures and not knowing the real facts can be a real problem.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 4 years ago