Buying a home, even in the same neighborhood, is usually pretty stressful and complex. But when you buy a home out of state, everything just gets worse. You may not even see the property before you buy, and people in this situation are often operating under time constraints – so the stress and fear are compounded. But with the right approach and the right professional assistance, it can be done, often with less stress and anxiety than you might imagine. Here’s how to buy a home when you are out of state.
Do Lots of Research
Obviously, you’ll have to do plenty of research, most of it online, but it takes more research than many people think. Sure, you’ll have your agent to help you, but that doesn’t absolve you from your research responsibilities.
The research you need to do goes far beyond the house itself. You will also want to check the local housing market, the city, and neighborhood, the cost of living, educational and employment opportunities in the area – all those things that impact everyone’s life. And don’t forget to look into laws and regulations governing real estate transactions, which may be different from those where you currently live.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how “dumb” you may think they are. Even if you’ve bought real estate in the past, things change when you’re buying out of state. You will likely have to operate under different real estate laws and regulations in buying a home when you are out of state. And you won’t know if you don’t ask.
Take, for example, the earnest money deposit. The required amount can vary from a few hundred dollars to 10% of the purchase price depending on the location. And some states require an inspection before the deal goes into contract while others require it after. When asking these questions, you should begin with your agent. (To find out more, call 866-593-7012.)
Beware of Scams
Buying a home when you are out of state also makes you more susceptible to scams. Scammers tend to prey especially on out-of-state buyers who are forced to conduct the transaction long distance.
In one of the most common of such scams, the so-called seller lists a house that isn’t actually for sale. Using stolen listing pictures, the scammer lists the house at a very low price. Then, after winning a non-existent bidding war, the buyer wires the earnest money. The scammer then takes the money and takes off. And the buyer is out the earnest money paid down for a bogus listing.
Engage a Relocation Specialist
Buying a home when you are out of state involves quite a bit more than finding the home, making an offer, and closing the deal. You also have to consider the logistics of being present for closing as well as arranging the move, not to mention the actual move itself. For these reasons, you might consider using the services of a relocation specialist.
A relocation specialist is a professional who can help you with almost everything associated with the purchase and move, except for actually negotiating the purchase. She can connect you with a good agent, reputable movers, a reliable title company, and home inspectors, as well as offering important information about the local school district. A definite plus of engaging a relocation specialist is that it doesn’t directly cost you anything because the specialist’s money is coming from vendor referrals.
Choose Your Agent Carefully
Perhaps most important in the process of buying a home when you are out of state is choosing the right real estate agent. Since you will be in a different state from where the home is located and the transaction takes place, you will have to rely heavily on your agent. She will be your number-one contact and your eyes and ears there.
This means, then, that you need an experienced, qualified agent who knows the local market in well. Your agent must also be willing to listen, answer all your questions, communicate often and by your preferred method. Basically, your agent has to fully understand your situation and your needs and then possess the expertise to do what is required.