Buying a house in one state when you live in another can sound like a tricky proposition but if you prepare yourself and have the right resources, it can be a pretty smooth transaction. Here's what you should know about buying a home out of state.
#1. Make sure you have a buyers agent. Regardless of where you're buying, you still need to have an agent that represents you. This is the person that can help find the home and facilitate the transaction and they are working on your behalf, not the seller of any one particular property. The best way to find an agent out of state is to simply ask a real estate agent in your state for a referral. If that doesn't pan out, do some online homework and find someone that is well-versed in helping buyers out of state. Simply sending a few emails or text can put you in touch with the right person. Related: Can I buy a FSBO (For Sale By Owner) if I have an agent?
#2. Research, research, research. Unless you've lived in that city or are very familiar with the community, you'll probably have to do some research on a neighborhood or a particular area in that city. Places like America FactFinder is a good place to start to learn about a communities employment potential, stability, crime rate, school zones, and more. Whether you are buying a house for investment purposes or yourself, doing your research ahead of time is really the key to getting the right property.
#3. Be patient. By starting the process early you'll have less stress along the way. Shopping long distance can lead to some stressful and frustrating moments and homes are probably the most expensive item you will ever by so take your time, not only to find the right house but the right agent to facilitate the deal.
#4. Work with a relocation specialist. Your agent might actually be one, but if your move is work-related, your company may offer other professional relocation services and specialists. Ask around and find someone that is well-versed in moving people from one state to another. You can find tips, hacks, and secrets to a seamless move. Related: Simple Ways to a Budget-Friendly Relocation
#5. Ask your agent for a tour. Really good out-of-state agents will give you a virtual tour in real time. This gives you a good idea of the neighborhood, the outside, the environment, and of course, the house itself.
#6. Visit beforehand if you can. Not everyone can visit the house or the area before they buy. And that's a tricky thing, buying a house before you've seen it, but it's not impossible. If you can visit the area, the neighborhood, and even the house you are going to buy before finalizing it.
#7. Always have an inspection. Regardless of whether you are here, there, or anywhere, have the home inspected by a professional that is familiar with homes in that area.
#8. Work with the bank that can help you in both states. Working with a small town, or local credit union or bank might be difficult when buying out of state. Working with a national bank and a national title company can help finalize all of the paperwork seamlessly. Your real estate agent will probably have some recommendations.
#9. Consider closing on your existing home first. If you are selling a home to buy the new one, remember that out-of-state closings can fall through if they're scheduled to take place the same day as the closing on your existing home. "Before closing on the house you're buying, the lender making the loan for your new house must receive the closing statement, as well as any funds being wired from that sale. It's best to schedule the closing on your new house a few days after the closing on your existing house.".
#10. Be aware of online scams. Buying from different states means you are opening yourself up to public information that scammers and hackers can get a hold of. There's not much you can do about this, but you can be aware of it and cautious of anyone calling to reschedule mortgage payments or change the address of where you need to send money. Double check and triple check anyone that's calling to verify funds, identity, or anything to do with your mortgage payment even after you've closed.
It's definitely not impossible to buy a home out of state but by getting your ducks in a row and preparing ahead of time, you can be way ahead of the game. If you're planning on buying anywhere in the Columbus real estate market, give me a call. I help folks relocate in and out of Ohio all the time and have resources and information to get you started.
As a certified Realtor® for the top-rated Columbus Realty Firm - Vision Realty, with 32 years of dedicated real estate experience, I can help buyers, sellers, investors, short sale sellers and more find, sell or invest in the right property, at the right price, at the right time. Contact me anytime for updates and information on the Columbus OH Real Estate market.