When you’re buying a home out of state, there’s a lot to consider.
You have to go through all of the work tied to buying a home, but remotely. Either you have someone on the ground in the new place who is doing the legwork for you, or you visit briefly in order to get it all done at once. Either way, it’s a very stressful endeavor.
How To Go About Buying a House Out of State
Figure Out Your Finances
The first thing you need to do when buying a house out of state is understand your financial footing. This means you need to figure out what you can afford, which means estimating monthly payments, closing costs, homeowners insurance, and property taxes. Part of this is going to include learning about the costs of living in the new place: your money may not stretch as far there as it does where you are now.
You can do a lot of research online using tools like a cost of living calculator, such as this option provided by NerdWallet. But it may also prove wise to visit the area, or talk to people who live there.
Of course, relying on your local real estate agent is a good idea, but ideally you want to have contacts in your new state, whether it be through a job, an alumni association, an online friends group, or some other organization. These people can give you estimated prices of groceries, gas, utilities, and other essentials that you’ll need to know to make your budget.
It’s also important to start the ball rolling on getting a mortgage. The sooner you can get approved, the better. For many people who are finding a home in another state, they are going to fly out to visit the place and see homes. If you find one you like, you will very likely want to put an offer on the home then–which means having your mortgage lender approved is important.
House Hunting Out Of State
There are a few ways you can go about house hunting out of state. For almost everyone, the home search starts online. You can search through listing after listing, noting what you like and don’t like. But it’s also important to have a local real estate agent who can guide you and be your “feet on the ground” in the new state.
A real estate agent may be able to set up virtual tours. They can do this by either locating homes that have virtual tours already made–there are many sellers who make videos and even virtual reality tours–or they can go to the home and Facetime you while they walk through it.
However, unless you have a lot of trust in your contacts in the new state, you’re going to want to visit the new state yourself and see the home before you buy it. So it’s best to do the virtual tours with your real estate agent and narrow the list down, and then fly or drive to the new house and make a decision.
Once you’ve picked out the home, you’ll make an offer. This may be all you have time for while you’re on your house hunting trip. From this point, your real estate agent will work on your behalf to get all of the details done–the home inspection, the appraisal, and work with the title company.
As part of this, you’ll agree to a closing date. It depends on the state, but many states allow you to close remotely so you can do it from your current home.
Moving Out of State
From that point on, you’ve now got a home purchased–you’ve completed one of the biggest tasks needed to move–and now you just need to find a local moving company to help you get all of your possessions, family, pets, and cars to your new home.
So whether you’re moving to be closer to family, or because you just got a great new job, or because you’re in search of a state with better home prices, you’re now a home buyer! You can enjoy your new state and relax.