Renting A House Without Seeing It

This is a subject that I’ve seen discussed numerous times, and it is always fascinating to me.  Have you ever rented a house without seeing it?  I have not, but I’ve informally agreed to lease a house at our next duty station based only on the pictures and the recommendations of the current tenant.  I’ve also rented my home to a tenant that wasn’t able to visit first.  Either way, it is stressful!

There are so many things to consider when you rent a house without seeing it.  Is it on a busy road?  Are the pictures old?  Is the yard safe?  Are there scary rooms?  As a landlord, I want my tenants to be happy.  I try to send current pictures that show as much as possible and explain the neighborhood and area as well as possible.  There is always the fear that if the tenant is not happy in my home, they will (consciously or subconsciously) blame me.

Housing is the single largest expense for most families, and of course you want to make sure you are making good use of your housing dollars.  Have any of you ever rented a house without seeing it in person?  How did it work out for you?  What advice would you give to someone who is considering doing it?

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • mama2aidan

    I’ve never rented a house without seeing it but some military friends of ours bought a house sight unseen and it’s turned out to be a bit of a disaster. It’s in the ‘hood, on a busy road and wasn’t kept up very well at all.

  • Krista

    We did a rental sight unseen however we had friends in the area who were able to go out and look at it, between that and lots of pictures from the landlord we signed a lease. That has actually been one of the homes we’ve lived in the longest during out time in the military and it was a great house for us. Having someone able to go look at it in person definitely made a difference in our confidence level.