Buying a House from Far Away? Avoid These Mistakes

Buying a House from Far Away? Avoid These Mistakes

With remote work the norm these days, many Americans are looking to move locales. According to Redfin, “a record 26% of homebuyers looked to move to a different metro area in the three months ending August 2023, up from 24% during the same three months in 2022 and 25% at the beginning of this year.”

But while the trend’s hot, even in 2024, the process can be tricky, especially when you’re not physically present.

Here are 6 common pitfalls to avoid, along with tips on how to leverage AI for a smoother, smarter house hunt:

1. Choosing the wrong agent.

An exceptional real estate agent is always crucial, but when buying from afar, they become your on-the-ground lifeline. They’ll tour homes, vet options, and potentially even handle your closing.

Choose wisely! Trust recommendations, interview multiple agents, and prioritize local expertise and responsiveness.

AI Tip: Utilize AI-powered platforms like Zillow and Redfin to streamline your agent search. These platforms often feature detailed agent profiles with ratings, reviews, and areas of expertise, helping you find the perfect match.

2. Looking just at home prices.

Understanding the local market is vital, but housing costs are just one piece of the puzzle. Factor in the overall cost of living, including taxes (both income and property). Research local salaries if job hunting, to gauge your future financial picture.

AI Tip: Employ AI-driven property valuation tools like HomeSnap to get accurate estimates of property values and potential investment opportunities. These tools can help you assess affordability and make informed decisions based on data.

3. Not factoring in your move (and travel).

You also need to think about your move — as well as the costs that will come with it. You’ll need movers, trucks, packing supplies, gas, and more. In some cases, you may even need to cover air travel or transportation for a pet. These should all be factored into your decision to move and can help you better prepare for the costs that will come with buying and moving to a house from far away.

Travel to and from your new locale during the home search should also factor in. If you plan to see any potential homes in person or to do a little on-the-ground recon in the area, airfare, gas, lodging, and other costs will come into play, too.

4. Skipping the research.

Research is critically important when buying a house from far away. You’ll need to research the area — its neighborhoods, amenities, schools, and job opportunities — as well as do a deep dive into any property you consider. 

Try to find out:

  • What the property tax cost was the previous year
  • If there are any permits on file with the city (indicating any renovations)
  • Local crime rates
  • Quality of the school district and zoned schools 
  • If the home is a foreclosure or short sale
  • The full history of the home

You should also get the seller’s disclosure from the listing agent. This should detail any known issues with the property, as well as recent updates or repairs.

AI Tip: Access market trend analysis tools like PropStream and Roofstock to gain insights into future value and inform your negotiation strategy. These AI-powered platforms analyze vast datasets to predict property value growth and identify potential opportunities.

5. Shying away from technology.

Embrace tech! Tools like FaceTime, Zoom, and virtual tours let you explore homes remotely. Some lenders and title companies even offer online or mobile closing options. Stay connected with your agent through calls, texts, and video chats. For example, check out our eSNAPP application.

Tech is also a vital tool for keeping you in contact with your long-distance agent. You’ll need to text, video chat, email, and more to stay on top of the market — especially while you’re far away.

AI Tip: Look for virtual tours with AI commentary to receive a more comprehensive virtual experience. AI assistants can highlight key features and potential concerns, providing a richer understanding of the property.

6. Failing to visit — at least once.

You don’t have to visit every potential home that hits the market (a video tour should do), but you definitely need to visit your new location at least once before buying a home there.

After all, research only gets you so far; you also need to get a good handle on the feel of the city. Does it feel like home? Can you see your family living there? Do you like the climate in that part of the United States, the people, and the way the city is laid out? These are things you can only assess by visiting in person.

Ready to Make the Move?

Buying a house from afar requires extra planning and preparation. Embrace technology, choose experienced vendors, and don’t skip the critical in-person visit. Integrate AI tools strategically to streamline your search, gain valuable insights, and make informed decisions.

But always remember, the personal touch of a trusted real estate agent is invaluable for navigating the intricacies of the market and ensuring a smooth transaction.

Bonus Tip: Looking for a lender to guide you through the process? Get in touch with Embrace Home Loans® today!

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