Buying a house in another state can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be as challenging as it seems.
Use these tips to find — and buy — your dream home from afar.
When Billy Conry’s job transferred him to Colorado in 2014, he and his wife, Liz, were excited to move to a new state and find the perfect new home. Avid outdoor athletes who ski, run, hike, and bike year-round, the couple hoped to find a mountain home that was accessible to the outdoors and nearby trails — bonus if it was a log cabin.
It didn’t take them long to realize they’d be in for a challenge: The real estate market in the Centennial State was extremely competitive. Most of the homes the Conrys found online sold within days. They decided to beat the rush by staying put in their Utah home and pairing their online research with a local real estate agent to find their new home without seeing it in person before moving day. “The Colorado market was (and still is) crazy hot,” says Liz. “If you don’t jump on a house you want, you won’t get it! We just went with our gut feeling.”
The Conrys were so successful in finding a great house without an in-person house hunt that they took the same approach last year when they moved back to Utah. With one sight-unseen purchase under their belts, the couple were even more confident in the process — plus, they had a real estate agent they trusted and friends in the area. “We trusted the process and knew that it would all fall into place again,” says Liz.
1. Do your neighborhood homework
Definitely do serious research on commute times, neighborhood amenities, and other neighborhood factors to narrow your home search. But when you’re house-hunting without planning to see the home in person you need eyes on the ground to be your guide. That means finding a great real estate agent who is well-acquainted with the neighborhoods you like.
“A good real estate agent goes a long way in this process,” says Liz.
The Conrys enlisted their agent to visit various homes, take photographs and videos, and thoroughly tour the homes to scan for any potential issues. “Then we’d discuss it over the phone, ask questions, and come up with a game plan. We have never had any surprises at all during this process. Each time we found the house we wanted, we would make an offer based on our Realtor’s awesome scouting!”
2. Surf the web for homes for sale
Make Trulia’s online listings and app your go-to source to help focus your search. Trulia can give you an advantage during your search, as it has up-to-date information on each listing page, offering the specifics you need to make choosing the right home in the right neighborhood easy, even when you can’t visit in person. Use Trulia Maps to look at the schools, commute times, and local crime. You can even scope out nearby restaurants and businesses.
The Conrys found their dream log cabin home (pictured above) on top of Conifer Mountain — at nearly 10,000 feet — online and bought it without seeing it in person. “I always found our homes online first and then sent them to our Realtor to check it out [in person],” says Liz. But she still appreciates the value of a stellar real estate agent. “You still need a top real estate agent to help you navigate the process, especially since you can’t do it in person for yourself.”
3. Use social media to get to know a neighborhood
If you don’t know the area or anyone who lives there, social media can be a great way to get an insider’s view of the place — the real scoop from the people who actually live there. Today, most neighborhoods, communities, and towns have their own Facebook pages. Take advantage of them — ask about schools, nearby parks or green space, and other factors that are important to you. “We used these a ton in our searches!” says Liz. “I’ve always joined these sites in the areas I am looking [at]. They help a ton and provide information from neighbors and community. Very useful!”
4. Trust the process, trust your gut
The Conrys had such great success picking up and moving to a new state, they decided to take the same approach when they moved back to Utah — and they scored the home pictured above in Draper, UT. They love that great ski slopes are less than a half-hour drive away. The couple emphasizes you’ll need to understand going in that this home-buying experience won’t be like every other home purchase. Because it’s not. “Do your research and you won’t be disappointed,” says Liz. “This day and age, the house-buying process is changing so much, and if you don’t react quickly, you will lose your dream home! Trust the process and trust your gut instinct.”
Bottom line? Moving to a new city does require a bit of faith — and confidence in your real estate team — but it can also relieve a lot of stress. “We all have crazy busy lives and can’t [always] be there in person to see a house,” Liz says. “But with the way technology is changing, you have options and great resources out there, so use them!”
About Empire Appraisal Group, Inc.
Establish in 2005, Empire Appraisal Group, Inc., is Broward County’s leading residential appraisal company as a result of their accurate and reliable appraisals, excellent customer service, and quick turn times. When working with an appraiser, integrity and professionalism are essential, and Empire Appraisal Group has a well-established reputation for providing the best appraisal experience. Daniel Lindeman, the Chief Appraiser, is considered one of the top property appraisers in Florida, with nearly 15 years of expertise and 8,000+ appraisals to his credit.
We ‘specialize’ in helping people who need appraisals for estate purposes, divorce, bankruptcy, FSBO’s and more.
We also work closely with realtors to help establish listing prices, these pre-listing appraisals ensures sellers get top dollar for their home.
In addition, to homes of all shapes and sizes, we also appraise condos, multifamily homes, boat docks, land, as well as specialty properties. No job is too big or too small, from manufactured homes to mansions.
Call Empire Appraisal Group directly with any questions concerning your real estate values at 561-441-9298. Also, check out our ‘Reviews’ page and see what others are saying about Daniel Lindeman and Empire Appraisal Group, Inc.
We provide residential appraisal services to all cities in Broward County: Parkland, Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Dania Beach, Cooper City, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Sunrise, Hallandale Beach, Hillsboro Beach, Hollywood, Lauderdale by the Sea, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, Lighthouse Point, Margate, Miramar, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes, Tamarac, Weston, Wilton Manors.