10 Things You Should Never Buy Online

A House
Buying an unseen house through the Internet is possible, but presents potential red flags. Martin Barraud/Getty Images

This one belongs in the same category as cars: "Huge purchases that should be handled in person."

Purchasing a house can be such an involved, drawn-out, emotion-filled process that it's hard to imagine anyone buying one on the Internet without ever having laid eyes on it. It does happen, though, and it's becoming more common — investors and house flippers, for example, snap up properties at online auctions all the time. But that doesn't mean it's appropriate for everyone. For the most part, people buying houses online are professionals who have a detailed plan for getting the most bang for their buck out of this purchase. If you're thinking it might be an easy way to get a good deal for your own home, you might want to think again.

If you're mentally and financially prepared for the unseen costs of buying a house online, go ahead and take a shot at it. But however tempting it might seem to buy a home with your laptop, most of us should stick to the old-fashioned method: walking through and making sure everything's ship-shape before plunking down hundreds of thousands of dollars.