For properties that are more than 3-4 hours drive away, does anyone travel to a property prior to making an offer? If so how many communities are visited before making an offer, on average?
Can a single trip be sufficient for most properties during the due diligence period?
Am I correct that a property should be visited at least twice annually?
I know opinions will vary, but if the property is hot I’d drop everything and drive over ASAP. I personally visited the property that I have under contract twice before I made an offer, it’s 4 hours away.
It’s amazing how good something can look in a few pics VS in person. Also the neighborhood, etc. can be much better evaluated in person.
If the property is a killer deal, tie it up ASAP. Otherwise just drive up and check it out. Meet the seller in person if possible. As Frank points out in his study course, a personal relationship with the seller can make a big difference.
Thanks. Driving is one thing, but a plane ticket is another.
Exactly, a plane ticket and I’d lock it up before seeing. I saw Frank suggest hiring someone off of Craigslist to drive through and video the park. A 4 hour drive is nothing.
google maps - street view and its like being there. I would only travel to the property if I really like it and the owner (in my two cases older person without computer) and had to meet me first. Unless you have unlimited time then go for it.
I agree with Brian. I did a few property visits prior to making offers. After doing it about a dozen times, I realized it was a gigantic waste of time that could be better spent doing something more productive. Google earth and Google street view are your time saving friends when it comes to making your time count. It doesn’t benefit you at all to visit the property prior to getting an accepted offer because there really isn’t any penalty for dropping the contract during diligence if the seller wasn’t forthcoming about the condition. We are in diligence on a property that is a 16 hour drive from where I live. Our process looked like this:
- Two weeks of negotiation using the seller’s financials, pictures they provided, street view, and google earth
- Once the contract was accepted, we hired a local photographer for $100 to go into the park and take as many pictures as they humanly could
- About two weeks into diligence, we are just now visiting the property and taking care of the on-site diligence
At this point, I wouldn’t even drive an hour to look at a park before the seller and I are at least very close on price personally. Mom and Pop deals that are off-market are about the only ones who get exceptions to this rule.
I appreciate the feedback, which has helped me decide whether to take the MHU this year.
I use google maps, bing, and google street view extensively for my work currently. I figure most of the communities are private roads, so the Google street view misses everything but the entrance of the community.
That is a great tip about hiring a local photgrapher. I will start doing that from now on.
Between google maps’ street view, bestplaces.net, realtor.com, zillow.com, the city’s wikipedia and the chamber of commerce website, you no longer need to see a park in person prior to making an offer. That being said, you need to definitely see the park in person during due diligence. Street view is a great tool, but you often can’t see up into the park and you will find that some parks that show well on-line look horrible in person. Since you have to make a bunch of offers to find a winning deal, take a 80% leap of faith on park appearance and condition when making the offer, and then get it 100% accurate by visiting it AFTER you have it under contract. Otherwise you will burn travel cost and time, for no net gain.
Thanks. You all have been most helpful.
I guess my situation was different. I’m in a 1031 period so I couldn’t risk wasting time on a bunch of parks. I suppose if I wasn’t a 1031 I might look at it differently. Besides, it’s 1.6 M in my case, a 4 hour drive is nothing.
I do somewhat disagree with the statement that street view is like being there. I’ve looked at several dozens of parks using that. It is helpful, but the photos are not high resolution and don’t really give a fully accurate portrayal of the park. I saw some parks that looked pretty good on street view, but in person not so much at all.
I would say you can definitely exclude some parks with it, but that’s about it.
One park I looked at looked good on street view, but in person I saw a lot of other stuff, like a vacated shopping mall nearby that I likely wouldn’t have found on street view.