Are you interested in buying a house out of state? You’re in the right place.
Buying a home out of state is becoming increasingly common, as many Americans are constantly relocating across interstate borders for new job opportunities, retirement, or simply to be closer to the family.
The Clever Guide to Buying a House Out of State
Here’s everything you need to know before you get started:
Be Very Picky When Selecting an Agent
If you are not able to be on the ground during the home search, it’s essential to have an agent that is really looking out for you.
If you have friends or family in the area you are relocating to, you can start your search for a Realtor by asking them for a personal referral. Then, you can compare who they suggest against online reviews and other references.
If you don’t have connections in your new location, or you would prefer to use a professional recommendation, all you need to do is connect with a referral real estate agent, who will assist you in finding the perfect match.
Use a Relocation Specialist
When you’re buying a house out of state, it’s a good idea to consider reaching out to a Certified Relocation Specialist (CRP). These agents can help with every aspect of the move except actually making an offer on a property.
They can act as a referral agent and introduce you to a rock star in the local market, and connect you with reputable movers. They can also recommend the best local title companies. Working with a CRP removes a lot of the guesswork from moving out of state.
And the best part?
They are absolutely free to use.
CRPs make all of their money from vendor referrals, instead of through charging clients. Another bonus: because the vendors rely on CRP’s for referrals, you typically have the upper hand in rate negations and your agent can usually help you score a better deal.
Travel for the Inspections
The one part of the process you really need to be there in person for are the inspections. If you can only travel once, make it a priority to go for the inspections rather than the closing.
This is because inspections are part of the home buying process where all the potential problems with a home can be discovered.
While it is possible for your Realtor to use video chat, photos, and extremely descriptive written communication to fill you in on the inspections process, it is still no substitute for seeing it with your own eyes.
This way, you can ask about the issues that are pertinent to you and learn things about the home that you might not have had the chance to remotely.
Travel for the Closing, but Only if You Can
As mentioned, if you have to choose between attending the inspections or the closing in person, the inspections win out. In fact, as the world becomes smaller and more interconnected, remote closings are becoming increasingly common.
A small tip for remote closings: if you can, work with a title company that has a national network. This is because working with a company that has a branch in your current state and your future state will make completing the proceedings easier. This way, you can always pop into the local office to complete any necessary paperwork or to ask questions.
Send Money the Right Way
The two main ways to send money for your down payment from out of state are via wire transfer or cashier’s check.
You can get a cashier’s check at the local branch of your bank. There is usually a small fee for this service. You will sometimes need to give advance notice if you intend to ask for one in a significant sum.
Wire transfers are when money is transferred electronically, bank account to bank account. Although you can request them online, they still only occur during bank hours. Since down payments are larger sums, your bank might require identity confirmation from you before it completes the transaction.
You can’t make a down payment for a home in cash or with a credit card.
Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a House out of State
We’ve all heard the horror stories about buying a house out of state.
You know the ones, of buyers transferring their down payment to secure their dream home, only to arrive on move-in day and discover that three other families have done the same thing, for a house that’s not even for sale.
To avoid this, never buy a house without physically seeing it for yourself (during inspections, at least) or having someone you trust view it. If you are working with a reputable relocation agent or working on a referral from a friend or family member, it never hurts to have a third party (hired or otherwise) view the home.