5 Tips for Buying a House Out of State

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  • Buying a house in another state can create added challenges.
  • You'll likely want a trusted real estate agent to help you.
  • You also need to research expenses.

Buying a house in another state doesn't have to be as complicated as it seems.

Buying a house is a complicated process since you're making a huge financial investment. And if you're purchasing a property in a different state, things can become even more difficult due to the distance.

The good news is, if you follow these five tips, you can make the process easier and maximize the chances of ending up with a new home that's right for you.

1. Find a trusted real estate agent

Working with a good real estate agent can be crucial when buying a house in a different state. Your agent can do a lot of the preliminary work for you so you won't have to visit as many times. Your agent should also provide crucial insight into neighborhoods that would be a good fit for your needs, which can be valuable if you don't know the area very well.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage

When you're buying a property from a distance, you absolutely cannot afford to waste time looking at homes that are out of your price range. As a result, it's smart to get pre-approved for a mortgage as early as possible in the process.

Getting pre-approved means a mortgage lender reviews all of your financial details, tells you how much you can borrow, and gives you the rate you'll pay. You'll still need to get final approval, but you will have a clear idea of exactly how much home is within your budget.

You can also get a pre-approval letter from your chosen lender to include when you make an offer. That enables you to maximize the chances your offer will be approved, which is important when you live far away and don't have time to visit endless houses before choosing one.

3. Take advantage of virtual showings

Virtual showings have become popular during COVID-19, and they can be a great tool if you're buying a house from another location. You can ask your real estate agent to visit the property and video call you so you can "see" it in person before getting on a plane.

By taking this approach, you can narrow down your pick of houses and potentially even find one you want to buy before visiting.

4. Be prepared for at least one in-person trip

Although virtual showings can be helpful, there's no substitute for actually seeing a property in person and visiting the neighborhood. As a result, you should be prepared to make at least one in-person trip.

If you've found a property you really like and the housing market is tight, you may need to be ready to make this trip at the last minute so you can see a home quickly and make an offer before it's snapped up.

If you don't know of a specific home you want to buy, you may actually need to make multiple trips until you find one that's right for you.

5. Research expenses

Finally, you'll want to be prepared for all of the expenses that come with buying a home out of state. Your property taxes may be different than they are in your current state. And some closing costs, such as title insurance and transfer taxes, can vary substantially by state. You'll want to know how much you're likely to have to spend so you can save enough.

You'll also need to make sure you have money set aside for a long-distance move, as it can cost several thousand dollars to relocate all of your possessions long distance.

By following these tips, hopefully you can find a great home at the right price -- without incurring a lot of unnecessary stress that's inherent in shopping for properties from afar.

Our Research Expert

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