5 Important House-Hunting Tips for Buying in a Different State
House hunting can be intimidating — and even more so when you’re considering an out-of-state move. It can get tricky when you have to make important decisions from afar, and sometimes visiting in-person isn’t always in the cards.
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However, house hunting in another state is possible — you just need to have realistic expectations and the right real estate team. Here’s what you need to know to find a home that fits your needs (and budget).
Find a Local Real Estate Agent
It may not be the best idea to house hunt on your own in a new state. Ask your local real estate agent if they can refer you to an agent in the area where you’re looking to find the right match. Not only is it important that you trust your agent, but you also need to get along with them.
Know Your Price Range
The location of a home directly affects its market price. While a 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom home in your area may fit nicely in your budget, the same size home in a different state may be an entirely different story.
Before you start shopping for a house, get a pre-approval from a mortgage lender. Getting pre-approval is a great first step when you’re ready to make an offer on a home. Not only does it tell you how much you’re qualified to borrow, but it also shows the seller that you’re a serious buyer.
Make a House-Hunting Checklist
You make a list when you’re shopping for groceries, so why not make a list when you’re shopping for a house? A checklist is a good way to remember all the critical details you need to look for when you’re shopping around. It also helps keep your thoughts organized.
Get the Lay of the Land
Once you know your price range and have an idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to do a little research on your new area. You can use sites like Zillow or Redfin to sign up and receive email alerts when homes go on the market that match your search criteria. Take virtual tours of any prospective homes for a more accurate feel for how the home is laid out.
It’s also essential to do a little digging into your new city to find out what’s important to you in a community. Join Facebook groups or other online forums to get the scoop on local neighborhoods. You can also dig a little deeper and scope out websites that provide additional information, such as walkability, crime rates, home price trends, and school district ratings.
Try to Visit Before Making an Offer
While it’s possible to purchase a home sight unseen, visit your new area if you can — before making an offer. If you do make the trip, ask your agent to schedule showings back-to-back, and don’t forget your house-hunting checklist.