Moving to another state requires a lot more consideration than just moving a few zip codes over. The luxury of strolling through neighborhoods and driving by houses is nonexistent. An out of state buyer has to put their trust in the internet, a visit or two and a really good agent.
Here are 4 points to consider when buying a house out of state:
1. Cost of living differences. Your salary may be increasing but will it really affect your bottom line? Similar to the first step of buying any home, a buyer must take into account their budget; but an out of state buyer may have to adjust their budget to the new area’s cost of living.
Research the tax structure in the new state. Take in account the new property and income taxes. What can [insert your price range here] buy you in the new area?
2. Be internet search savvy. Careful research online can save you from fruitless trips across country. Not having the advantage of knowing the area can steer your search in a wrong direction. Stick to reputable real estate sites and avoid craigslist and foreclosure databases.
Craiglist is a hot spot for scams and even if you find a property chances are the information is out dated by the time you send an email. Also many sites that promise houses at 1/3 market price are well in fact, too good to be true. These sites advertise false properties to bait you. It’s not until after they get your money you find out 18k doesn’t really get you that 3 bedroom house in NY… hmm. It could be a trailer but you would have to get a membership to find out. Get address with trial, no thank you.
Instead give regional blogs or chatting with the locals/real estate agents on facebook a try. You will be surprised how many cities have facebook fan pages. You will quickly learn about the best areas, places to avoid and can get an idea of some big name brokers in the area.
3. Find a great agent. I would recommend an agent for any buyer, but an agent is even more essential to an out of state buyer. When pictures online aren’t enough, who are you going to call? Not your travel agent, not for every house at least, but your real estate agent.
A good agent will honestly tell you if the house doesn’t meet your standards or provide a video of those that do. Video is a must for the out of state buyer. While pictures can be edited and shot from beneficial angles, video is hard to fake.
And how do you find a great agent? Refer back to step 2. Was there a website that was particularly helpful? Odds are an agent is behind that site and presto; you got yourself a local expert. But don’t be so quick to pull the trigger. Since a great agent is vital be sure to take the time to interview and get to know them. Here are some important questions to ask.
4. Plan for a productive trip. When you are finally ready to make it out for a visit have your agent make it as productive as possible. Tour the neighborhood, drive the commute to your new place of employment during rush hour, and see more than one house. Get a hotel in the area you are considering, staying steps away from the airport won’t immerse you in the culture.
Related articles: Inspection musts for long-distance real estate purchase