Buying A House Long Distance - 5 Tips
Whether you’re moving across the state or across the country buying a home long distance presents unique challenges so I’m going to give you 5 tips to make your relocation easier.
Understand the place you’re moving too
Every town and city has its own vibe and feel and has areas that cater to different lifestyles so it’s important to understand where is going to be right for you from the outset.
You can learn a ton about a city by doing a little bit of research especially on places like Youtube. Try to find those areas of the city that best align with your interests and the lifestyle you want. For example, you might be looking for an area with parks and great schools to raise your young family or you might want bars and night life so you can get out and meet people.
Once you’ve identified a few areas of interest then you’ll want to create a shortlist of those areas in advance of any house hunting trip out so you won’t be wasting the short amount of time you have looking at areas that aren’t suitable.
Find a local agent
There is only so much you can do online so find yourself a local agent who is used to dealing with clients who are long distance.
I work with tons of people from across the US who are looking at moving to Spokane. One of the things I do for them are video tours so people can get inside a home from wherever they’re located. This has proven to be invaluable for clients who are now able to figure how a house is pieced together which isn’t always obvious from the listing photos. It’s also a great way to check out a neighborhood and see if it’s suitable for you too.
Narrow it down
If you’re planning a trip to Spokane to view houses with me it’s critical to narrow everything down so you can use your time efficiently and get the most out of a trip.
Identify a handful of neighborhoods as places you might want to live and a handful of houses in each of them. If you’re only going to be town for a couple of days then seeing 30 homes during your time here just isn’t realistic. It’s going to be incredibly overwhelming and stressful. By the 2nd day you won’t remember which kitchen belonged to which house and which house had the great shop and which one had the neighbor with cars on blocks?
Also narrow point your price point. So if you’re looking in the 400k range don’t be tempted to throw in a 200K fixer up just because. It’s going to make comparing properties much more difficult as you’ve now shifted the goal posts.
Know your market
Understand the kind of market you’re buying in. Your agent will be a great source of knowledge for you regarding this. If you’re in a buyers market then you can consider doing things like offering lower than list price and requesting a home warranty. If you’re in a sellers market then you want to create the path of least resistance for the seller and create an offer that makes their life as easy as possible.
I can guarantee you that you will end up getting frustrated if you low ball in a sellers market or end up over paying in a buyers market so listen to your agents advice on this one. They’ll be happy to share data with you to support what they’re saying.
Pre-plan your closing
Once your offer is accepted you’ll want to reach out to the closing agent and figure out the logistics of it all.
Are you going to be coming into town and drive your uhaul to the closing office? Are you going to fly in just to sign? Are you going to be using a remote notary from the city you’re currently living?
Being there in person is always the preferred option, you don’t want the closer here in Spokane to find a missing signature on the day of closing and need to fedex your documents back to you - this will delay closing and will end up incurring extra fees too.
This is so important to think about early as the house isn’t yours until you sign your name on the dotted line and it's recorded as yours.
Bonus tip - continue to use your agent
Your agents job isn’t over once your offer is accepted. If you need someone to attend an inspection or let a plumber into the property for you then your agent can be there on your behalf to make these things happen.
If you have questions or need help finding documents for your lender then your agent will be able to help with this too.
In short your agent is still your primary advisor throughout the transaction up until you close. Even after closing your agent is still there as a resource to help you get situated. So lean on them, get to know them and let them take you out for a celebratory drink when you close.