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A couple buying a home in another state

Buying a Home in Another State

To avoid buyer’s remorse, follow these five steps for purchasing a home from afar

Buying a home is stressful, and if you are looking to purchase a home in a completely new area, the stress level is even higher, as the experience is full of unknowns. You won’t have the luxury of seeing a neighborhood for long periods of time, for instance, and it’s virtually impossible to discern your commute time to work. These are just a few examples of key considerations when purchasing a place in a different city or state.

To help ease the buying experience, we have five ways to help you evaluate and purchase a home that is less likely to give you serious remorse:

1. Identify Your Top Neighborhood

Before starting your search, make sure to do your research ahead of time. Just because you are moving to a new location, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn about an area online using a local newspaper as a starting point. Try investigating your prospective neighborhood by using Google Maps and the Street View functionality, not to mention a general search to learn more about a particular area.

2. Find an Agent You Trust

Finding an agent is an essential part of finding a new place, as they will become your eyes and ears on a particular area. Make sure you interview plenty of real estate agents to ensure you’ve found the best possible match, starting by collecting personal referrals. There are plenty of real estate websites—including Realtor.com and Zillow—that can also help you glean additional information about an agent’s experience, sales volume and specialty areas.

3. Watch Out for Scammers

Finding a reputable agent is essential, especially because purchasing a home in a different state, or area far from where you currently live, can open you up to the possibility of a scammer. A very common tactic is to have a forger create a listing for a house that’s not actually for sale, using pictures that are ripped off from other locations. The scammer’s main objective is to start a fake “bidding war,” and when you put down earnest money to secure an offer, the scammer pockets the cash.

4. Get Another Opinion

In a perfect scenario, you would be able to take trips to the new city and check out the best listings in person. In instances where you may not be able to get there physically, you can at least have your trusted agent take you on a virtual tour. Even in that instance, however, there is much that is left to the imagination. If you can bring trusted friends, family members or other proxies to check out the space, it may help you in finding your new home.

5. Attend the Inspection

If the choice is between going to an inspection or the actual home closing, it is best to try to make it to the inspection. Walking through the home with an inspector allows you to take a detailed look at the new space. It can even reveal a completely new side to your potential home and teach you more about its history and unique features. You’ll then be able to determine if a few small fixes are needed or if you should negotiate a price reduction to assist in much bigger repairs.

While buying a home in an unfamiliar area can be scary, there are ways to help make sure it’s the best possible fit for you and your loved ones. For experienced real estate attorneys that can help lead home buyers through an out-of-state journey, contact us.

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