Buying a home can be difficult, but buying a home in another is even more complicated. Yet as the price of plane tickets and gasoline continues to rise, traveling is expensive, and it makes perfect sense to want to save that road-trip until you’ve narrowed down your options a bit. But how do you do that, when real estate can be just as complicated in your home town? Here’s how:
1.) Hire a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent is different from a listing agent. The watered down version is a listing agent works with the seller while a buyer’s agent works with the buyer. You want an agent that is working for you, not the other way around. The fact that you won’t be able to see a lot of these home in person could make you an easy target for seller’s looking to dump their property on an unsuspecting buyer. Plus, a buyer’s agent does not charge you to represent you, meaning you won’t be out a ton of money for nothing.
2.) Do plenty of research on your own. An online listing of a home won’t be able to show you the other important factors of your search; what the neighborhood is like, the quality of the schools, the amount of crime, etc. Even things such as the weather and flood zones need to be researched as well. No point in an agent showing you a gorgeous home just to learn that there are no schools in a 50 mile radius.
3.) Still be prepared. You still need to do your basic things, like get preapproved for a mortgage as well as hiring a professional to do a reliable home inspection. These are important steps to take before you ever even set your eyes on your future dream home.
4.) Take a trip. Yes, no matter what, you still have to take one trip to the house to see it in person before making an offer. It might be wise to schedule a few showings before deciding on your favorite one, but don’t make the mistake of buying a house without ever really seeing it. For all you know any photos or videos that you’ve seen could be fake. You’d be amazed at what can seem real on the internet nowadays.
5.) Enlist the help of family and friends. If you’re moving to a new city where friends or family currently live, ask if they might be able to take a few minutes out of their weekend to check out a house you’re interested in. They’ll more than likely be happy too, and it’ll give you a better idea of the kind of homes your real estate agent is matching you up with. Plus, a trusted friend or family member is the perfect person to ask when it comes to questions about the neighborhood.