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Tips for Buying a House Long Distance

Feeling stressed about your upcoming long-distance move? Read on to find the keys to a successful, stress-free experience

By Meghann Shike on March 9, 2015

Family looks at house for sale, there is a mom, dad and two kids by a for sale sign
istock photo © Susan Chiang

Have you ever found yourself facing a job promotion that requires a long-distance move? Did you have a moment of panic at the thought of moving to a new state? Buying a house long distance can be extremely stressful. Use these tips to help you find your dream home from anywhere.

Interview multiple realtors over the phone.

Don’t be afraid to ask each realtor if they are going to have time to answer your questions. Making a long-distance move, you’re going to have more questions than if you were moving across town. Unless you’ve already established a relationship with a realtor, be sure to interview at least three candidates. You’ll be surprised how different they can be.

Is your realtor connected? 

Ask your potential realtor if he or she has the resources you are going to need throughout the home-buying process. Do they have a lender they can recommend? Do they have a title company, home inspector and maybe handyman just in case your future home has some projects your home inspector points out to you? You will inevitably need some, if not all, of these people, and you may not know any of them in your new city. Your home-buying process will be easier if your realtor has these resources, and a good realtor should.

Ask more questions. 

Questions help you gather information, so keep asking them. Ask your potential realtor for neighborhood suggestions. Make sure you pick a realtor who is recommending neighborhoods that meet your needs and are close to whatever is important to you, whether it be school, work, the gym, etc. Research those, and then pick your realtor.

Drive your commute. 

Drive what would be your commute from your prospective new home to your job during rush hour. You may think moving to your suburb outside the city is far enough out to not be affected by traffic, but you might be wrong. Drive a couple of different routes to make sure. You don’t want to end up on a two-lane backroad for an hour on your way to work if an hour-long commute every day is not okay with you.

Know what to offer. 

Ask your realtor how much to offer for the house and why? A good realtor will have comparable properties that have recently sold and be able to explain a reasonable offer price for your home based on the sale price of these comparable properties.

Be present during your home inspection. 

Walk through the home inspection with your home inspector. Ask about anything that doesn’t look right or you don’t understand. I know I keep telling you to take more time out of your lives while you’re away from home and work house shopping, but trust me. It’s worth it. You might regret it if you don’t. Better to be informed before you sign on the dotted line than to have surprises with dollar signs after closing. There’s nothing more stressful than moving into a house with more problems than you were aware of. Hopefully, if you find surprises, they are small, but what if they aren’t? Walk with your home inspector, so you fully know what you’re buying. Your home is too big a deal not to.

Following these steps, educating yourself, and being proactive will lead to you buying your dream home and moving long distance with minimal stress and maximum happiness.

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