Most people move to an area and then look for a home to buy, but what if you need to have a house before you get to the area? You can buy a home without being in the area, but there are some things you need to consider. If you are going to buy a home this way, you should make one trip to the area to look at houses, but it is not a requirement. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
Finding a Real Estate Agent
Before you get started, you need to have someone in the area that can help you. Find a real estate agent and talk to them about what you are trying to do. They will have a lot of helpful information about the area, and they can even look at new houses for sale on your behalf. To get started, ask about listings in the area and have them pull together options and send them to you so that you can look at them.
Making a List of Homes
If you find some homes in the listings you have received from the real estate agent, make a list of the houses you want to view in person. Once you are ready, have the agent set up showings for each of the properties close together, preferably on the same day or over a weekend. You can spend a day or two in the area and look at the houses then decide if there is one you want to buy. Make sure you tell your agent what you want to see and don't let them steer you toward other properties.
Putting in an Offer
Once you are back home, you can talk with the agent about the homes you liked and have them check to see how long they have been available, what the minimum price looks like, and what kind of offer you should make if you're interested in buying. Once you have the details worked out, have the real estate agent submit your offer to the homeowner. Most of the paperwork can be signed electronically, and if your agent doesn't know how to do that, their broker can help them get it all setup.
Buying the Home
If your offer is accepted by the owner, you can sign the contract and start packing. Closing typically is 30 days from the contract signing, but that time frame is often flexible. Make sure that the owner will be out of the house before the closing, so you can sign the papers and move into the house the same day. If your agent sets all the details for you, this process can be simple and seamless, and you won't have to find a temporary place to stay while you are home-shopping.