Life is full of changes. Some changes can be exciting and adventurous, such as relocating out of state! Perhaps you landed a new job or promotion or want to move closer to family. Or maybe you are just looking to start over in a new location that appeals to your lifestyle.
Whether you are buying your first home or selling your current house to relocate elsewhere, buying a house out of state can create some extra challenges. It may seem overwhelming, and you may not know where to start. Most people who plan to buy a home out of state worry about the lack of time and ability to travel out of state when house hunting. How do you search for a new home when you are thousands of miles away? You may worry about knowing the reality of your new commute to work or what the new neighborhood is really like.
The good news is that today’s technology allows buyers to do online video walk-throughs or real-time video tours offered by a real estate agent. You will need to do some additional planning, communication, and logistics, but buying a home out of state is easier now than ever before. Here are some tips to get you started.
Do Your Out Of State Research
Knowing what to expect can help ease any concerns about buying a home in a state you are not familiar with. Your realtor can help with much of your research, but doing your own research is helpful, as well. Some of the most common things to research are:
Tourism, Chamber of Commerce, and Government Sites
These are helpful to learn about the state and area you are moving to. Research things such as cost of living, population (to determine how close you will be to neighbors, how much traffic, etc.), and local community news. Research activities, parks, shopping, and other local entertainment. You can use Google Maps to search how close your potential new home is to hospitals, schools, grocery stores, and much more.
Safety and Crime Rates
Nobody wants to move to a city with high crime rates. Research the statistics of crime rates in the city you plan to move to, but don’t forget to include surrounding towns in your research.
If you have children or plan to have children while living in your new home, research the schools in the areas you will potentially move to. Oftentimes, this is a deciding factor that seals the deal on where you will move as parents naturally want their children to attend the best schools.
This may not seem like a big deal. After all, every homeowner must pay property taxes. However, property taxes, and even the cost of utilities, can vary by county. You may want to move to one town, but just a ten-minute drive further out into the next county could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Resident Groups on Social Media
Facebook and Nextdoor have community groups that you can join. You will find posts from the area residents about many things they experience in the area they reside. You will learn about local businesses, common issues they face in their community and join in on the conversation. Introduce yourself as a potential new resident and post questions that you may have about the community.
The Out Of State Hunt
Once you have thoroughly researched and decided on a precise location to buy your home, it’s time to start house hunting! Securing a realtor in the market you plan to move to is key. Your agent will find you some of the best listings available in the area. You can also search real estate websites such as Zillow. Be careful, though, as you can waste a lot of precious time admiring homes that may already be under contract. This is where a local real estate agent can help. Your agent can inform you of homes that are coming soon or just listed. When you find properties that spark your interest, take virtual tours. Check Google Maps to ensure no annoyances exist like railroad tracks or huge shopping centers practically in your backyard.
Working with a great real estate agent will help with many of the services that you'll need such as community features and benefits, packing and moving options, etc. They can also help you to avoid scammers and fake real estate listings that people may post online.
Purchasing Your New Out Of State Home
Again, technology can make most of the home purchase process easy to manage remotely. You can shop online for the best mortgage rates and send your financial documents electronically. Other services you can find by searching online include finding a title company, purchasing homeowners insurance, and setting up the inspection and appraisal. Many out-of-state buyers do remote closing to complete the process. It’s best if you can attend the home inspection. This is the most important step to attend. If you are not able to attend, your real estate agent will attend on your behalf.
Finally, it’s time for the big move! Packing and shipping your belongings is a process in itself. Your best bet may be to hire a professional moving company that will transport your items across the country or however far your new home is. Your family can make the move a fun road trip without having to worry about hauling your furniture. If you have the time, do some fun sightseeing as you drive through different parts of the country. The big finale will be when you arrive at your new home and explore!
Questions about moving out of state? Contact us so that we can help you love where you are!