What do you need to know if you’re gearing up to buy a home in another state? Here are five tips if you’re making an out-of-state move:
1. Hire a buyer’s agent who is familiar with the area where you are searching for a home. When you cannot be onsite for all aspects of your home search, it is crucial that you have a trustworthy, local expert to guide you through your buying experience. From learning about an area’s best neighborhoods, schools, and amenities to finding out tips about your future commute, your real estate agent is the perfect point of contact for regional information. And let’s not forget that agents are a wealth of knowledge about available homes, lenders, and service professionals when it comes to selecting a home, getting a mortgage and going all the way to closing. Choose carefully so you feel confident working with your real estate agent—even from afar.
2. Become a thorough online researcher, but don’t limit yourself based on your search results. It pretty much goes without saying that you’ll have to do more than a little online research when you buy a home out of state. But you shouldn’t only rely on what you see online. In fact, you probably shouldn’t totally rule out a home out based on poor listing photos. Instead, check in with your agent to find out if a home that has the features you want is worth looking at. Your agent may be able to check in on a home before you attend a showing. Finally, while online information and a trusted real estate agent can be great resources, you should make sure you visit any home that you are seriously considering.
3. Try to be present for your home inspection. Frankly, when you’re moving to a new state, it is likely that you won’t have a pre-established network of trusted professionals to rely on for things like your mortgage, home appraisal, and inspection. While you certainly can rely on the trusted advice of your real estate agent when it comes to selecting an inspector, you might feel most comfortable with the results—and purchasing the home—if you see any potential issues for yourself. If you can’t be there, your real estate agent might be able to stand in, but for peace of mind, it can be important to attend your inspection.
4. Use technology to your advantage. Though you shouldn’t simply rely on your online resources when you’re selecting a home, it is safe to rely on technology for other aspects of the home-buying process. You can actually sign an offer on a home electronically—and you can orchestrate your entire closing without physically being onsite. You certainly want to do your legwork before you agree to buy a home, but you can—and should—let technology take you through the closing process if possible.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is great advice for any potential home buyer (or seller!), but it is especially true if you’re buying a home out of state. If there is anything you don’t understand about the process, all you need to do is ask. Your real estate agent is there to assist you through the entire process. Use their services to navigate a new market.