If you’re planning on moving out of state, buying your future home from afar can be stressful. While modern technology makes it easier to research homes for sale in other locations, the process of choosing the right home, making an offer, and closing successfully can quickly become a challenge.
Despite its disadvantages, buying a house out of state is still very doable. Our team at First Fidelis is here to offer tips for buying a house in another state and how you can handle the details of the buying process while still living in your current location.
1. Understand that the Home Buying Process May Take Longer
The timeline for buying a house in a different location can depend on multiple variables. It’s important to understand that the buying process from afar can take longer than if you were buying in the state where you currently reside. Some of this will depend on how quickly you can find a local mortgage lender in the area you’re moving to, since you’ll want to take the extra time to find someone you trust.
Finding a loan officer who will act in your best interest can make the process of acquiring a loan and closing on a house much easier, even if it takes a little bit longer. If you are worried about this process dragging on for longer than expected, we recommend starting as early as possible—especially if you’re on a deadline for when you need to be fully moved.
Additionally, house hunting can take more time than expected when purchasing in a different location. Since you’re unable to visit every home showing in person, it may become more difficult to find a house you’re satisfied with, elongating the home buying process even further.
2. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
When searching for a house out of state, you’ll want to find a real estate agent who will act appropriately on your behalf. We recommend finding a reliable buyer’s agent, since these agents are legally required to act in your best interest. They can be your eyes and ears as you search for a home, and they’ll work on the ground to guarantee that what you’re buying has everything you want.
Many buyers will make the mistake of researching a property online and contacting the listing agent instead of acquiring their own realtor. However, keep in mind that the listing agent of a property is acting in the seller’s best interest rather than yours. For this reason, it’s better to find a buyer’s agent that’s on your side and is someone you can trust.
Furthermore, finding the right real estate agent that’s local to the area will ensure that you’re following all state-by-state rules for purchasing a home. These may include different laws and requirements regarding zoning, disclosures, deeds, inspections, property lines, and more.
3. Know Your Financial Situation
You’ll need to be well-versed in your financial situation before acquiring a mortgage out of state. Some people may have an allowance for moving, like if they are relocating for a job. However, this is not the case for everyone, so it’s best to know what you can afford ahead of time and be aware of what you will be financially responsible for.
The first step is to determine the cost of living in the area you’re moving to. Moving from an expensive market to a less expensive one may be a relief, but moving somewhere that’s more expensive than where you currently reside is a common source of stress for relocating homeowners.
As you budget for a home purchase, consider as many budgetary elements as possible, including your salary and the cost of utilities, taxes, healthcare, food, housing, transportation, entertainment, and more. You’ll also want to keep approximate mortgage rates and closing costs in mind. Fortunately, your loan officer is there to work one-on-one with you and discuss how much money you should expect to save.
4. Get Pre-Approved for Your Mortgage
One of the best ways to budget ahead of time and get an idea of your future expenses once you move is to fill out a pre-approval application for your mortgage. This can be extremely helpful and save you both time and money. Your pre-approval and personal budget play a huge role in determining what houses you can afford and what lifestyle changes you may need to make to ensure financial security.
Getting pre-approved before picking the right home is also a great way to show sellers that you are a serious and credible buyer. You’ll also want to make sure you have a healthy credit score so you can obtain the best interest rates possible; the higher your credit score is, the lower your mortgage interest rate will be.
5. Research and Visit the Area
If you’ve been thinking about relocating to another state for a long time, you’ve likely already done extensive research on the area. You may have even already visited to ensure you’d enjoy living there. If you have to move unexpectedly, however, you may not have as much time to thoroughly research where your future home will be.
As you do your research, think about your future plans, goals, and upcoming milestones—if any. Are you looking to have children sometime soon? If so, you’ll likely want to live in a house to accommodate kids and one that’s near high-rated school systems. Are the neighborhoods family-friendly and safe? Are you moving only temporarily, or will you be there long-term?
All these questions are important elements to consider as you research your future home’s location, since you’ll want to consider what the area offers and what amenities you’re looking for.
6. Consider a Relocation Specialist
While hiring a relocation specialist is not required to buy a house out of state, they can be incredibly helpful in all aspects of the buying and moving processes. If you’re moving for work, your company may provide a relocation package with a specialist who will work one-on-one with you. If you’re moving for personal reasons, you can still hire a relocation specialist yourself.
A few aspects of the moving process that a relocation specialist can help you with include:
- Finding the right real estate or buyer’s agent
- Selling and closing on your current home
- Finding financing for your new home
- Arranging packing and moving services
- Finding a storage facility, if necessary
- Coordinating travel for your family and pets
7. Try to Make It to the Inspection
If you’re debating whether you should visit your future home before closing on the property, we recommend at least making the trip on the day of the home’s inspection. It’s easier to uncover any flaws or issues the property may have when you’re there in person, especially since you’ll likely want to address these problems with the seller before finalizing the deal.
While you’re there, you may also consider having your future home appraised. A home appraisal will give you a better idea of the property’s value, allowing you to ensure that your mortgage lender isn’t lending you more than what’s necessary.
8. Decide What to Do with Your Current Property
If you’re choosing to sell your current home, you will need to meet with a real estate agent early to discuss your home’s value and any work that may need to be done before selling. Your agent can help walk you through the steps of selling and reassure you that you aren’t missing anything along the way.
You may also decide to keep your current home, either as a second property or an investment property that can be rented out to tenants. If you’re keeping your home, it’s important to ensure you have the financial capability to do so. Keeping your current residence may affect your ability to finance a new home in a different location.
Buying a house out of state can be incredibly stressful, but there are many steps you can take beforehand to ensure the process is as smooth as possible. Contact First Fidelis today at 913-205-9978 to see how we can help as you make the decision to move out of state.