Buying a house and moving to a different city can be a complicated process, especially if it’s too far from your current home to visit on a day trip. A fresh start in a new locale can be exciting and stressful at the same time as it adds a few more layers to the overall process, requiring more planning and logistics.
The better news is that even if you’re moving to a city that’s across the country, technology has made the prospect more manageable – you just need to know where to look.
Research the Market
One of the first steps to buy a house in another city is to research the market to get an idea of what’s available. Searching real estate listings of your desired destination can give you an idea of the various price points in different neighborhoods along with inventory options.
A Buyer’s Agent
Hiring a buyer’s agent who has plenty of experience in the market you’re looking to purchase in is critical when buying from a distance. You need someone who works for you and will be on your side, rather than contacting a listing agent who is representing a seller’s best interest.
Buyer’s agents can provide you a list of homes based on your budget, needs and wants, as well as attend open houses on your behalf if you can’t be there in person. They can also assist in the negotiation process, inspections, closing, and more, yet the seller will typically pay the agent’s commission.
Local Forums and Websites
You might be surprised at how much you can learn by joining a local forum on Facebook or Nextdoor. Search through to find out what people are saying – is there a neighborhood that should be avoided? Are there any that locals are recommending? You can get invaluable advice simply by posting, asking for some insight into the best spots to move to.
To make relocating and buying a house easier, you should always determine your overall budget first. Start by figuring out how much money you have to work with for both the move and the home purchase.In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, you will need to cover closing costs, Realtor fees, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and utilities. For help budgeting and saving for a home, check out Mint, an online personal finance tool.
The city’s website is likely to offer information on parks and facilities for resident use, news stories specific to the locale, and more, providing even more clues as to the best place to look for that “perfect” or almost perfect home. Read local news articles online to find out about events and get to know people in the community who are making a difference. Plus, you might learn about crime or drama happening in the area, all of which can help you decide which area might be the right fit.
Get a First-Hand Look
Visit the city if possible, taking the time to drive through multiple neighborhoods to get an in-depth, first-hand look. Of course, walking around is a good idea too. You never know who you’ll meet, and it could be the perfect opportunity to get more of an insider’s look.
If you have any friends or family in the city you’re planning to move to, ask them for tips on the neighborhoods that might best meet your criteria. Perhaps they might know someone planning to sell soon, but their home isn’t on the market just yet.
Take advantage of online contacts, too; it’s all about networking. Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a home in the area – the more eyes and ears you have out there looking and listening, the better.