Buying a new home is both exciting and frightening, but it’s a different game entirely when you’re shopping for a home in a different state from where you currently live. You may be at a disadvantage by not being familiar with neighborhoods and their nuances in the new state to which you’re moving, and may be more susceptible to fraud by shopping from a distance. But by following a few simple tips, you can gain the upper hand on your out-of-state home purchase.
First, assemble a reasonable timeline. Know when you plan to move, if you can visit ahead of time to tour homes, when you need to finalize the purchase of your new home, and how much time you’ll need to sell your current home if you’re currently owning. It may be difficult to purchase a new home based on the contingency of the sale of your current home between states, so you may need to complete the sale of your current home before seeking funding for an out-of-state home.
Second, you’ll need to obtain a loan for the new home. Major purchases such as new cars or expensive furniture can alter your credit score and make getting a home mortgage loan more difficult, so try to resist the urge to make any big-ticket purchasing decisions until after you close on the new home.
Be thankful you live in the era of internet access because having the ability to search neighborhoods, seek reviews, and engage in virtual tours makes buying homes out of state much more simple. Find out which neighborhood most suits you in the state to which you’re moving. You can use the internet to identify school zones, crime rates, and things to do in the area. Knowing which neighborhood you want to live in is crucial in the home-buying process.
Next, you’ll need to enlist the help of a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent is different from a listing agent. The listing agent’s job is to sell a particular house for the highest price. A buyer’s agent helps you research several home-buying opportunities and will help negotiate in your interest. Buyer’s agents are usually neighborhood specialists, which is another reason it may be a good idea to identify your desired neighborhood before enlisting the help of a buyer’s agent. Ask friends, associates, co-workers, or others in the state to which you’re moving for their referrals for buyer’s agents, and avoid working directly with family or friends.
Real estate and tax laws differ from state to state, so you’ll need to research and learn about the laws of the state to which you’re moving. Talk with your buyer’s agent about the closing process, and look into securing insurance coverage for your new home. Keep all of your important paperwork in one convenient, secure location, for easy access during your move.
Engage in online tours, rely on photographs, and use the internet to your advantage. Taking advantage of virtual tours will help you narrow your search so that if you are able to visit in advance, you’ve got less to choose from and won’t be overwhelmed. You may also be able to handle many of your documents and contracts via the Internet with email and digital signatures.
When you find the home you’re searching for, consider hiring an independent inspector before agreeing on a purchase price. An independent inspector can help uncover problematic areas with a home that you may not be able to see online in virtual tours. For example, if the home’s roof needs to be replaced, or if the wiring is wonky, you can use this information to either negotiate the price down or request repairs before purchasing your new home.
Buying a new home out of state can be intimidating, but you can get ahead by utilizing your resources and planning ahead. Assemble a reasonable timeline, secure your loan, identify your neighborhood, enlist the help of a buyer’s agent, research local tax and real estate laws, and hire an independent home inspector.
We would love to help you make a move from New York City to King County, Washington or the other way around! Give us a call today at 646-639-4155.