How to buy a house in another state
There are a lot of reasons why people are moving to other states these days. There are the typical reasons, like job relocation and being closer to family. But also during the last few years many people are choosing to move for better overall economic opportunity, schools, lifestyle and more.
Whatever the reason you’re looking to move, these tips are important to smooth your way on how to buy a house in another state.
1. Do a lot of research on location when you buy a house in another state
You know how they say real estate is all “location, location, location”? Well, if you aren’t familiar with the area, then it’s even more important that you do your research on exactly where you want to put down roots.
A lot of real estate is hyperlocal. School districts, transportation, proximity to commercial areas, parks, busy streets, and crime all play into real estate values and desirability. You can have one house a quarter of a mile from another similar house with wildly different real estate and resale values.
Since you’re moving from far away, you want to make sure that where you land has the right mix of things you care about, need and desire. It can be hard to evaluate hyperlocal aspects from far away.
2. Find a local real estate agent you can trust
Really good real estate agents should be able to hone in on exactly what you are looking for through trial and error and do a lot of the groundwork for you. They can help you determine why one block suits your needs more than a house a couple of blocks away.
It’s a good idea to interview a number of real estate agents to make sure you find one that really will be able to assist you, speed up the process and find the house that really checks all of your boxes.
3. Consider state and local taxes and insurance differences
One thing people often forget when moving states is the advantages or disadvantages of tax and insurance differences. State differences in property tax caps and homeowners insurance regulations can cause very different costs that you want to be aware of.
For example, many states like New York and New Jersey have some of the highest property tax rates in the United States. Other states like Florida have very high homeowners insurance rates.
And finally, of course you want to consider income tax differences, as that varies a lot state to state and city to city.
You can compare state home insurance rates here and property tax and income tax rates here.
4. Do you need to be there in person for the viewings, and the closing?
Of course, it’s always a good idea to see the house you are considering buying in person. What are the neighbors like? Are the other properties on the street being maintained? Does the basement smell? It could be a sign of plumbing or drainage issues.
But it is entirely possible to do most of your house shopping virtually. The last few years has ushered in a lot of virtual technologies, even full walk throughs online. It may be economical to go with this approach and then swoop in to see in person the house that you make an offer on.
For the closing, each state has different rules. In many states, you don’t need to actually attend the closing. It’s good idea to become familiar with the closing process in advance of making an offer as things can move quickly. A good real estate agent will be able to walk you through the process so that you know what to expect.
5. Don’t skimp on the inspection
Since you’ll be buying a house a good distance away from where you are now, you want to make sure there aren’t a host of unexpected problems and expenses when you move in.
It’s a good idea to be there in person for the inspection and also go the extra mile in ordering more inspections if you discover additional concerns. Finding out about expensive repairs after you buy can really effect how good an investment your new house is.
Discovering the details on how to buy a house in another state can relieve some of the anxiety of a big move. But just like everything else that’s important, hard work will pay off and try to enjoy the process!