As more buyers enter a real estate market with fewer homes for sale one issue that sometimes comes up with out of town home buyers is buying a house unseen.
Technically, it is not a case of buying without seeing but rather a potential buyer getting it under contract "until we can see it" and then decide if we like it.
I have never had a seller opt for this type of offer. Still there may be some sellers willing to take their house off the market until someone travels to look it over.
If I were representing the seller would I recommend accepting this type of offer? Not likely.
If I were the buyer's agent would I recommend making this type of offer? Possibly if there was no other option and my buyer really likes the property. This can easily be a contingency to an offer to purchase. Still, in a market that has shifted in favor of the sellers, I doubt it would be met favorably.
In a seller's market where multiple offers are common place it is the cleanest offer that often gets accepted. The best offer may not even be the highest price or the cash offer.
One option in this circumstance could be the inspection contingency. Usually an inspection contingency allows the prospective buyer to have an inspection done within a designated number of days (usually 7-10 days in this area).
Although the property inspection is really not a get out of jail free card it does allow a buyer to cancel an offer if not satisfied with the inspection. And there is no pass or fail but rather a completely subjective interpretation of the findings.
Still, with the ease of video photography, it would be rare an out of town buyer would be completely in the dark about a property. Plus with Google Earth and other resources available it is easy to get a neighborhood tour and really not be "buying without seeing."