If you’re one of the millions of Americans working remotely, you might be tempted to buy a house out of state. Or maybe you just need a change of scenery.
Buying a house long distance can be a challenge, but it’s doable with a plan in place.
Why Buy a House in Another State?
There are multiple reasons to consider a house in a different state. Here are some.
People may be lured by the cost of living of a state and its quality of life.
More than 350,000 people left California from April 2020 to January 2022 for Arizona, Texas, Florida, Washington, and other states. In the first half of 2022, New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., saw more people exit than move in.
Some companies move personnel out of state, and some employees are good with that. A recent Graebel report exploring the Great Resignation found that 70% of knowledge workers who resigned in the past two years may have stayed if they’d been offered the same role in a different region of the country.
Some folks choose to buy a house out of state to be closer to parents, children, or grandchildren. And people in their 40s may have aging parents and financial concerns on their minds.
Americans entering retirement may want to buy a home in a state where the weather and lifestyle are more appealing. When it comes to a home, some may want to downsize.
How to Purchase a Home in Another State
Buying a house from out of state may be a challenge, but people do do it.
It can be tough to buy a house if you have a house and a mortgage. Homeowners have been known to use a home equity loan or bridge loan to fund the down payment on another house.
A personal loan can fund travel and moving costs.
If you’re ready to move on, it might be a good idea to sell and maybe ask for a leaseback. If you’re in a hurry, learn how to sell a house fast.
1. Virtually Explore
It’s easy to research cities, states, and communities online. There’s a listicle for most everything. And data is everything, some say. There’s probably a listicle about why data is everything.
Anyway, maybe you’re interested in the safest cities in the U.S.
Or the 50 most popular suburbs.
It can be helpful to explore housing market trends by city.
Areavibes, BestPlaces, and HomeSnacks provide rankings or information. Coldwell Banker introduced Move Meter, to compare locations across the country. Or you could use Google Maps or Google Earth to study an out-of-state home’s proximity to schools, medical centers, law enforcement agencies, parks, and restaurants.
2. Link Up to Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook Groups and Nextdoor can provide a personal sense of home buying and community.
These groups are user friendly to newcomers, and many group members are happy to answer questions about life in their city or town.
3. Ask Co-Workers, Friends, or Family
If you’re moving out of state for a job, check in with future co-workers for advice about the homes and neighborhoods. If you’re moving near friends or family members, pick their brains. Is this going to be a good spot for you?
Moving is stressful enough. If you’re one of the growing number of people interested in financially downsizing, you may want to just exhale and enjoy when you land.
4. Consider Talking to a Relocation Specialist
Yes, home relocation professionals exist. And they do everything from connecting clients with a real estate agent to finding a long-distance moving company, scouring school districts, securing a storage space, and supervising a contractor’s work if the client is buying or building a house.
Relocation companies can also suggest local service providers and transport pets and vehicles across state lines.
Relocation services are often free of charge because the specialists earn their money from third-party vendors like real estate firms and employers transferring employees.
If you’re not inclined to hire a relocation specialist, here’s some helpful reading before making a big move:
You can look into the safety record of carriers on the U.S. Department of Transportation website.
5. Find a Reliable Real Estate Agent
A brave few who are interested in buying a house out of state opt to go without an agent.
It’s true that you can buy a house without a Realtor® — but even a local home sale may be challenging without a buyer’s agent in your corner.
Partnering with an experienced real estate agent who is based in the area where you hope to move could be highly beneficial.
Besides familiarity with neighborhoods, schools, and vibe, a buyer’s agent can walk a future homebuyer through local zoning regulations and the permit process.
6. Consider Visiting IRL
It’s not that rare to buy a house sight unseen. That can work out.
But someone looking to buy a house in a new state may want a real visit. You may receive short notice on a viewing date, so it could be helpful to budget for out-of-state travel as part of the buildup to buying a home in another state.
While a real estate agent can act as a proxy for homebuyers, there may be nothing like being onsite during the home inspection of a property you’ve made an offer on.
Then again, if you adore a property and must have it, you might waive some contingencies in the case of multiple offers.
7. Get Preapproved for a Mortgage
It can be easier to find a real estate agent or relocation specialist with a mortgage preapproval letter in hand.
When a lender preapproves a mortgage (a credit check and a review of financial assets is typical), it is tentatively greenlighting a specific home loan amount at a particular interest rate, which is not locked unless the lender offers a lock.
Obtaining preapproval tells home sellers that you’re qualified for a home loan up to a certain amount.
First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.
8. Handle the Closing Online?
Get ready, because closing on a house may take only 20 or 30 days.
In some cases, everyone huddles to sign closing paperwork. Other times, buyers and sellers sign separately.
But most states have approved remote online notarization, when buyers join a video call, present their government-issued IDs to a title company rep and a notary, and sign all paperwork electronically.
The Takeaway on Buying a Home in a New State
Buying a house out of state requires investigation and probably a good real estate agent. Getting preapproved for a mortgage can ease the path to a new address.
Transferred workers or people with mere wanderlust will want to see the financing options SoFi offers. With SoFi, you can look into a fixed-rate mortgage loan or a home equity loan to buy a house out of state, and a personal loan to make the move.
Get prequalified for a mortgage quickly and see your rate.
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.
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