Buying a House from Far Away? Avoid These 6 Mistakes

Buying a House from Far Away? Avoid These 6 Mistakes

With remote work the norm these days, many Americans are looking to move locales. In fact, according to Redfin, one in three homebuyers looked at properties in a different metro last quarter — up from just 27% a year ago.

Still, just because it’s common doesn’t make it easy.

Buying a home in a city (or state) you’re unfamiliar with can be difficult. It’s especially challenging if you’re not able to travel there often to view homes or meet with your agent.

Are you considering buying a home in another part of the state or country? Want to make sure your purchase goes off without a hitch? Then avoid these all-too-common mistakes.

6 mistakes to avoid when buying a house from far away

1. Choosing the wrong agent.

A great real estate agent will always help your case when buying a home. But when you’re buying a house from far away? They’re even more critical.

As a long-distance homebuyer, your agent is essentially your eyes and ears on the ground. They’ll be the one visiting homes for you, vetting properties, and they may even be able to close on your behalf, depending on what state you’re buying in.

For these reasons, choosing a good agent is incredibly important. You should get recommendations from trusted locals, interview at least a few candidates, and be choosy about who you work with. You want to be sure they have tons of local experience and that they have enough bandwidth to really dig into your home search.

2. Looking just at home prices.

Knowing the housing market in your new town is vital — but it’s not the only data point you need to look at. If you really want to see how affordable a place is, you’ll also need to look at cost of living in the area, as well as local taxes (both income and property).

If you’ll be getting a job in the region, researching local salaries and pay rates can help you gauge what your financial situation may look like there, too. 

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 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 its property taxes were 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

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.

5. Shying away from technology.

If you’re not a fan of technology, buying a house from far away is going to be pretty hard. Tools like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and other conferencing tools can allow you to tour a home the same day it’s listed — without travel or hassle. Depending on your lender and title company, you might even be able to close remotely, using online or mobile notary tools. 

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.

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, the people, and the way the city is laid out? These are things you can only assess by visiting in person.

Buying a house from far away?

If you’re hoping to buy a home in a new area, make sure you choose experienced vendors. Want a lender who can help guide the way? Get in touch with an Embrace Home Loans office in your area today.

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By Aly Yale / August 23rd, 2021 / Categories: / Tags:

Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.