Each year, millions of American households move. Some go to a new house around the corner, and some go to a neighboring town or city, others move to a state next door. Still, others take the big plunge and move far away from their current location.
According to statistics, almost 50% of out-of-state moves are done to take a higher-paying job or one that better suits the person’s needs and wants. Others move for retirement or to be near family, while some choose to move simply to reduce their cost of living.
In many cases, these about-to-be-transplanted individuals, couples, or families will be purchasing real estate in their new locale. Unfortunately, some of them will have little time to make a decision and to see the properties they wish to consider as their next home. That makes home buying in a new location a scary proposition, but it doesn’t have to be if you are careful about the steps you should take that will lead to that all-important purchase.
Research, Research, Research
Unless you’re fortunate enough to spend days on end searching for a new home in your new location – which isn’t likely if you’re getting transferred for work reasons – you’re going to have to rely on the internet for some basic information about your destination, including about the current real estate market in the area.
Online is a good place to start, but remember that it’s just that. A starting point. There are plenty of sites and resources that will help you take a look at certain neighborhoods, show you how schools rank in a certain area, or give you an idea of pricing in the current market. Write things down, start a spreadsheet, and formulate some ideas of what kind of house you want and where you wish to be located. Then…
Find a Local Realtor
When you’re relocating, you put a lot of responsibility in the hands of your realtor. That’s why you want to make sure he or she has your best interest in mind and that he/she is well-versed in the particulars of handling purchases that involve relocation. As a matter of fact, it’s a good idea to look for an agent who has earned the CRP – Certified Relocation Professional – status. That means the agent has gone through a good deal of extra training to learn how to address the special needs of a person or family who is relocating.
Remember, you may not hire the first agent you contact. It’s okay to interview a few, but not so many that it gets confusing. If you’ve done your homework properly, you’ll be able to tell in advance which have the qualifications you seek. The one thing you can’t determine online, however, is that individual’s personality and how it meshes with yours. That’s why an extensive phone or in-person interview is essential.
Once you make that choice, you’ll find that having a certified relocation professional means you have a connection that can also help you with other aspects of your move, such as finding reliable movers, getting your kids signed up for school, or recommending a good place to buy new living room furniture.
Know the Laws of the State where you’re Moving
Buying real estate in one state isn’t always the same as buying a house in another state. So, make sure you take the time to ask questions about the procedure.
Does there need to be an attorney involved? Do laws demand you have a home inspection? How fast will I be able to close?
Leave no stone unturned! Make a list of important questions, and if they aren’t addressed by your realtor in your preliminary conversations, don’t hesitate to ask. It’s essential that everything is clear, especially since a lot of what has to be done may be done when you’re not onsite.
Allocate your Travel Time Wisely
If you only have x number of days to be present at your new location, make them count! Try to see the house you hope to buy at least once. While pictures and videos are helpful, they don’t help you hear the sound of the traffic outside the door or that cat smell that permeates the carpets. The fewer surprises are awaiting you, the better, obviously. If you have family or even future co-workers in the area, ask one of them to go check out your house of choice if you simply can’t get there. Two opinions are better than one!
If you are scoring a few days in your new locale, try to make one of them the day of the home inspection. Again, pictures, videos, and technical reports are helpful, but it’s much better to be there and see what’s happening, especially where problems are concerned. It’s actually more important for you to be there for inspection than it is to be there for settlement. That can easily be done remotely.
A good agent recognizes that those who are relocating can be anxious about the details. That’s why it’s essential to pick a realtor you can trust and with whom you are comfortable interacting as well as one that knows the ins and outs of relocation. Call today with your relocation questions!