Author Topic: Tips for buying a home on the other side of the country?  (Read 523 times)

APBioSpartan

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Tips for buying a home on the other side of the country?
« on: January 19, 2021, 08:51:56 PM »
Hello!

My wife and I (28/29) are currently in Denver, Colorado, and are planning on moving back to the Westside of Michigan in the next year or so.  A little background, we are originally from Michigan and are moving back.  My wife was born and raised near the area we are moving to and I lived there for 6 years during my college years.  That said, we have never purchased a home before and although we have lived in that area, itís been a while since weíve been there and we obviously donít recall what every surrounding area/neighborhood looks like. 

With all that in mind, and considering weíve never purchased a home before (I.e., process noobs), any tips for out of state first time home buyers?  Do we need a buyers agent?  Should I plan on working remotely from there for a week to meet with a realtor and drive around again?  We have pets at home which makes it hard to just fly out there and chill for a while. 

Some additional/relevant context: my job is 100% remote so I will keep my job in the transition.  My wife is a healthcare provider, so we will likely move after she secures a job in the area. 

Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you so much!

Morning Glory

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Re: Tips for buying a home on the other side of the country?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2021, 09:06:14 PM »
Have her secure a job and get them to pay for your move. When I did that I got a house hunting trip (travel plus 3 days hotel and meals), plus packing and moving service provided by the company. This is normal in healthcare.

Cranky

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Re: Tips for buying a home on the other side of the country?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2021, 07:37:23 AM »
Personally, I think itís a good idea to rent for a year and take your time looking around.

But, lots of houses are selling sight unseen these days. Talk to a real estate agent about what you want, and prepare to take video tours.

We bought a house out of state recently, and didnít see the house until the walk through before closing.

APBioSpartan

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Re: Tips for buying a home on the other side of the country?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2021, 04:07:13 PM »
Personally, I think itís a good idea to rent for a year and take your time looking around.

But, lots of houses are selling sight unseen these days. Talk to a real estate agent about what you want, and prepare to take video tours.

We bought a house out of state recently, and didnít see the house until the walk through before closing.

Were you still able to back out before closing without penalty if it wasn't as expected?  As mentioned, I'm completely new to how the process of buying a home works, so those are the types of details i'm curious about.

Renting for a year did cross my mind, I'm just slightly concerned that with two dogs and a cat, that it would be a challenge in-and-of itself to find a place that would allow our pets and a month to month arrangement.  Like I mentioned, we know the area pretty well, so renting would be more to give us additional time and selection to find the "right" place.  Perhaps it may be worth it to pay the cancellation fee on an annual lease if we find a place that we like in the interim.  Worth noting, we have family in the area, I'm just not sure our cat and their cats would get along :).  That also makes it tempting for me to stay with them, leaving the wife and pets at home, for a period of time so at the very least one of us can play an active role in the buying process.  As you can tell, I have a lot of partially-formed thoughts which is why I was curious what others have done. 

Did your out of state purchase go well?  Any lessons learned?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 04:09:48 PM by APBioSpartan »

Cranky

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Re: Tips for buying a home on the other side of the country?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2021, 07:39:44 AM »
Well, we also had family in the area and were familiar with the area, so we had a pretty good idea of what neighborhood we wanted. We talked extensively with the real estate agent about what we were looking for. The house we bought actually never went officially on the market, because the agent called us when he saw it.

We had a good inspector. We could see the neighborhood comparables online and we could see all the info from when the seller had bought the place. There really were no more surprises than if we had walked through the house before making an offer.

We did require the seller to fix several things - she replaced the furnace - before we signed, but thatís fairly standard.

We did have to go to the closing in person, though that depends on the state.

I thought it all went pretty smoothly under the circumstances and we can hardly wait to finish moving, which wonít happen completely until this summer.

I still recommend, since you havenít bought a house before, that you rent for a year. Buying a house takes time and you can be picky since you donít have a house to sell.

waltworks

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Re: Tips for buying a home on the other side of the country?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2021, 08:19:27 AM »
From what I understand (I'm looking for a house in another part of MI, tentatively) MI is one of the least-hot RE markets in the USA, and is one of the top net out-migration states right now.

I'd go rent for a year and figure out exactly where you want to live before buying. That's always a good idea, but in your case (moving from a white-hot market to a stone-cold one) there's really no rush, right?

Yes, you can find a place to rent with pets. Yes, you can pay the landlord to break the lease (or sublet) if you find your dream home after a few months. It'll cost a few thousand bucks, big deal. A few thousand bucks to know where you really want your house to be is well worth it.

-W