Buying a home is complicated — even if you’re only moving a few blocks away. If you’re buying a home in another state, the process is even more challenging and adds a whole new level of preparation and expenses.
Here are a few tips to help you streamline your long-distance home purchase and move:
Find a Realtor
Whether you are moving across the street or across the country, hiring a Realtor is the best move you can make. When you are looking for homes in a new state, having someone familiar with the area is an invaluable asset. Realtors have unparalleled knowledge of their communities and can help you navigate the complex, sometimes overwhelming, process of homebuying.
Your Realtor will also help you evaluate local market conditions, which will be different than where you currently live. Your Realtor will help you understand whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market and help you understand what it will take to make a successful offer based on the local real estate conditions.
Make sure to search for Realtors who specialize in the specific neighborhoods and areas you would like to live. You can also search for a Realtor who is a Certified Relocation Professional (CRP) who has specialized training in relocation.
Knowing the day you are moving is just one of many dates you will need to figure out. When do you need to sell your current home? When can you take a trip to the new state to view potential homes? Considering those questions and having a breakdown of what needs to be done and by when will help you prioritize tasks and keep you from scrambling at the last minute.
This is especially important these days as many areas across the country are facing housing supply shortages so timing will be critical.
Also make sure you are prepared for a longer purchase timeline, especially if the state you are moving to has different laws surrounding how real estate can be purchased.
Tour Potential Homes Online
Traveling back and forth between states to look at homes is time-consuming and cost-preventative for most, but that shouldn’t prevent you from beginning your home search online.
Digital real estate listings on sites like realtor.com often include photos and videos that give you a good view of the home. The pandemic has also accelerated use of technologies that make it easier than ever to participate in 360-degree home tours and virtual showings. In fact, the pandemic spurred many buyers last year to purchase homes before they had even seen them in person.
Though you might eventually have to make a trip to your new state to purchase your home, touring a few homes online can help you narrow down your choices and save you time and money.
Plan for Multiple Trips Before Moving
You’ll likely want to visit several homes in person before making an offer, but you’ll also want to visit the area after you’re done house-hunting. Researching the property in person and being there for the home inspection will give you a much better idea of what you can expect from your new home.
Long-distance moves can be an expensive, so make sure to ask for estimates from a few moving companies before committing. If you are really hoping to save money, a do-it-yourself move might be your best option. Make sure to consider the cost per mile, insurance, gas and taxes when price shopping for a moving truck. And if you have any pets, make sure to research hotels that allow animals or arrange with your airline to have your furry friend travel in the cabin with you.
Homeownership is not only an investment in your financial future, it is an investment in your life in your new home state. Make sure to work closely with your Realtor to find a house that is going to make this new place really feel like home
A directory of Realtors from across the country is available at Realtor.com.