Some people claim that the right way to buy an investment property is without actually visiting and seeing it. Let me explain: they are afraid that seeing a house with your own eyes might influence your decision. When you do the research and learn everything you can about a house, that information is objective and the decision based on it would be logical. Once you have seen the house, your emotions can interfere with the logic.
Personally, I don’t think that buying sight unseen is a smart move. Seeing the house reveals things no other way does. You get to see the neighbors – which is important even for an investment property. I mean, would you really like the tenant to run away because they have a drug dealer living next door? A real-life example, today I was heading for inspection and in the area of the house I was checking out there was car with no wheels standing on bricks and police were looking for witnesses. Needless to say, I turned around and went to inspect another house in different area 🙂
Another reason for personal inspection is to see if the street is noisy or not (how else will you know?) and to see who are the people (not just the immediate neighbors) that live in the area. From my own experience, 20 minutes I spent just sitting in the car parked near a shopping centre, watching the crowd, saved me from buying into area where I don’t want to be.