The NY Times
had a very interesting article about investors buying houses over the Internet
sight unseen and (surprise, surprise) getting burned. The article describes the case of two investors who bought three houses in Buffalo, NY for a total of $13,000. The investors believed the seller's statement that the houses needed only minor repairs (really?) You can probably guess that those statements weren't quite accurate.
In the end, the investors lost the properties to the city - unpaid taxes - the city is billing them for the cost of razing the homes (the buildings are safety hazards), and one of them had to file for bankruptcy.
While I feel sorry for the buyers, I can't help but wonder who would think they could buy a structurally sound, much less habitable, home for under $5,000. Caveat emptor!