Avoid Pitfalls When Buying From Afar
Relocating to a New Area
Buying a home in the new destination, coupled with an unfamiliar environment, can cause the relocation process to be a stressful experience if you are not adequately informed or knowledgeable about the destination area.
Without ample time to conduct area tour assessment of homes, schools, cultural and community amenities, etc. to ensure that the overall location will meet your needs, you could ultimately purchase in an area you know nothing about and really don't like.
You should consult with an area expert real estate agent Realtor® to review your destination needs assessment, including your time constraints. The agent should provide an objective area information overview and explain local real estate customs and procedures.
Your home search can be enjoyable when you have the guidance of a qualified real estate professional. Time and time again we have helped relocation buyers find their dream home from thousands of miles away. Here are some of the steps we recommend to get started:
1. Do Your Research Online First
Before you buy a home, you should always do your research. This is especially important when you're buying a home out of state. Getting to know the area, communities, and price ranges can make the process feel less overwhelming when you begin working with an agent. Even though you will have our professional guidance and expertise, starting the buying process with some self-education will make you feel more confident and at ease with your final buying decision.
2. Work With a Qualified Agent
The Agent and Buyer relationship is an important one. When you're relocating or buying a home from out of state you need a reliable agent that you can trust. Since you won't be in the area day-to-day, we will guide you through every step of the buying process. We'll take the time to really understand your specific wants and needs and be intricately involved in ensuring we make the best use of your time viewing the right houses.
3. Consider a Relocation Specialist
It's best to work with an agent that's a Certifed Relocation Specialist. As a Certified Relocation Specialist, we've gone through extensive training to make sure your relocation is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. From connecting you with reputable movers, title companies, or local experts in the area; relocation specialists can help you with nearly every aspect of your move, from afar, in addition to finding and negotiating the best deal for your home purchase.
4. Be Aware of Online Scams
Unfortunately, scammers often take advantage of out of state buyers. When looking at homes online watch out for deals that seem too good to be true. When talking to a seller, make sure the person is who they say they are and the home is real and actually on the market.
Scammers create listings for houses that are not actually for sale, using stolen images and attractive prices, well below market value. This encourages urgency so some out-of-state buyers will immediately make an offer. Once the offer is "accepted", a down payment is requested and is kept by the scammer who disappears and moves on to the next victim. It's best to always work with a trusted agent Realtor to avoid these types of situations.
5. Know That Out of State Buying is Different
Whether you've bought and sold a property before, you should be mindful that the relocation buying process will vary by locale. There's a standard buying process for every state. Certain states do inspections before going into contract, some afterward. Many out-of-state buyers are required to put a deposit on the home when their offer is accepted. This deposit can range from a few hundred dollars to even 10% or more of the purchase price. We will guide you on what to expect throughout the buying process here in Arizona
6. When Necessary, your Agent Can Be Your Eyes
Ideally, you should plan to make trips to Arizona to explore the communities and view the prospective homes in person. But if you can't, don't worry, there are great options. We bring the homes to you. Our premier service to buyers includes guided custom 360-degree virtual tours empowering buyers to tour homes from the comfort of their home.
With this cutting edge technology, we have sold several homes to families across the country and Canada without the buyers viewing them in person. This can also be a great tool for you to see homes virtually before you plan and make the trip to view the houses in person.
7. Be Prepared to Submit an Offer
When you start your house-hunting, we want to make sure it's just a matter of time before you have the keys to your dream home. The last thing we want is for you to find a home you love and have an offer denied because you weren't prepared.
So, before you make the trip to your Arizona to start looking at homes, you should have all the necessary financial steps completed. That way when you find "the one" you are prepared to submit a strong offer! Here are some things to consider:
- A pre-approval letter with lender contact information or a completed Arizona Pre-qualification form.
- If it's a cash purchase, you should have written proof of funds from a bank or investment company.
- Have a checkbook or access to funds from a national bank for earnest money/escrow deposit.
- Need to sell before you buy? Ideally, you should already have your home listed and preferably be under contract to sell, prior to submitting a contingency offer to purchase another property.
- If possible, plan to be present for all the home inspections.
- Moving to a new area sometimes means a new job. So if necessary, obtain a written offer of employment to help boost your mortgage qualification.
8. Try to Attend the Inspection
During the inspection, every aspect of the home will be thoroughly examined by a professional home inspector and a detailed report will be provided. However, pictures on the inspection report can only tell you so much. If you can be there in person, you will be able to see and better understand any potential issues and make your best judgment on how to move forward.
Inspectors are a great resource, when you meet them they can share their professional opinion on what needs attention now and what can be put off. They can also offer maintenance tips to new homeowners. If you absolutely cannot be present for any of the home inspections, we make it easy for you to speak with the inspector and engage in the inspection summary walk-thru via live web conferencing. We will always be at the home inspection to be your eyes and ears and look out for your best interest.
9. The Closing Can Be Completed Remotely
Closing! The exciting finale. When you finally reach close of escrow, you will be excited and likely anxious to be there to sign the final paperwork. Many relocation buyers don't realize they don't need to stress it if they can't be present. These days, you can sign all the paperwork remotely. Remote closings are increasingly common because after all; with all the technology we have today, you shouldn't need to travel just to sign papers.
We recommend you work with a title company that has a national network and knows the protocols and can work in your current state and in Arizona.
Follow these simple steps and you'll avoid these common pitfalls. Once the closing paperwork is complete - it'll be Key-time. Let the fun begin!