Buying a new home is complex enough. Buying a new home in an area that is completely unfamiliar to you? That’s a challenge that requires an airtight strategy to overcome. Relocation comes with plenty of significant obstacles, but having a plan for how you will buy a home in your new location can take some of the stress out of the equation.
1. Determine your budget
First thing’s first: figure out how much you can afford to spend on your new property. Depending on where you’re relocating from, your dollar could stretch further than it would in your current city of residence.
2. Start as early as you can
You won’t always have the luxury of time, but if you’ve got it, maximize it. The earlier you start the process, the easier it will be. As soon as you get the deadline for starting a new job or when you have to move out of your current place, start researching the neighborhoods of the new city.
Use crime statistics or some other meaningful criteria to narrow down the search area, then dig into the details of the neighborhoods on your list.
3. Find a knowledgeable real estate agent
There are a couple of ways to approach this. You could begin scouting for a real estate agent on your own, then select a few of your favorites for an interview before hiring them. An alternative is to ask for a referral from a real estate agent you know in your area. That local agent will do the research for you and present you with a name or two of reputable agents in your target location.
In either case, be sure that the agent you select is knowledgeable about the particular neighborhoods that you’re interested in. Someone who specializes will be able to give you more details about recent sales, days on the market, and general amenities in the area.
4. Ask for more information
Once you have identified the neighborhood, your real estate agent, and you’ve narrowed down your options to a few houses, ask for more information. If you can’t be there in person to tour the house, you can request a virtual tour from your agent. They can either record the tour or call you as they walk through, so that you have the opportunity to ask questions while they’re in the home.
5. Get the facts
Before making any offers, get all of the relevant information on inspections, delinquent taxes, and repairs. Be aware of who is liable for all of these things and make an offer accordingly.