How to Purchase a Home Out of State in 10 Steps

There are plenty of reasons why you might need to relocate to another state. This can include anything from new career opportunities, wanting to be close to family members to simply wanting a change of pace. Regardless of your reason, buying a house out of state can prove to be quite a challenge considering all the additional planning, logistics, communication, and expenses involved. 

Fortunately, the internet has made purchasing a new home in another state much easier. If you are looking to move to a new state, we have put together a list of things you can do to ease the process:

1. Do Some Research

Before moving to any new place including to a new state, it is always crucial that you research the place beforehand. Find out as much information as possible about your new state and community beforehand. Here are some great places to start:

Local News

Reading local news articles on the web will help keep you up to date on all events and other happenings, learn about members of the community who are making a difference, the local business scene, and find out more about the rate of crime in the area. This will help you in determining whether the area is a good fit for you and your family. 

City Website

The city’s website is a great place to start when you want to find information on the laws and ordinances of the city, the different services available for residents, parks and facilities for use by residents, recreational activities offered by the city, and other important information about the city. You can also discover news stories specific to the area. 

Google Maps

Google Maps will help you discover your new home’s proximity to hospitals, schools, grocery stores, restaurants, parks, and other points of interest. After learning the names of the closest schools and businesses, take the time to do some research to find the best ones and know what to expect. The best way to do this is to check out their websites and read online reviews. Also, go through their social media sites to see how they interact with their audience. 

Resident Groups on Social Media

Once you’ve identified the city you want to move to, make a request to join the various resident groups on social media like Nextdoor and Facebook. By reading the posts from residents, you will be able to get first-hand information about what they are going through as they live in the area. 

These groups help give you a deeper insight into how life is for actual residents. This includes things like the common problems that they face, great things about the city, and how neighborly members of the local community are towards each other. What’s more, you can even introduce yourself to other members of the group as a new resident, ask questions about the place, and seek tips and recommendations from residents who know the area well. 


2. Make New Friends Online

There is a lot of power in networking. And fortunately, the internet has made it much easier to find and connect with people who know people.

In addition to interacting with your new neighbors on social media, ask people you already know if they know people who live in or close to the place you are moving to. If they do, ask them to connect you with them. Many people are usually open to talking about the city they live in and even give recommendations on the best neighborhoods, as well as restaurants and entertainment spots. 

In case you are moving due to a new job, consider reaching out to your colleagues-to-be, introduce yourself and ask questions about the area and also seek tips and recommendations. This can also serve as a great way to get to know them better. 

Online communities like Meetup allow you to connect with people in your local area who share similar interests and job skills as you along with letting you know about different events that may be of interest to you. 

3. Consult Relocation Experts

The work of relocation experts is to ease the moving process and make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible. Their services often involve assisting with the logistics of the move which includes connecting you with a reliable moving company shipping service as well as a storage facility; making travel arrangements for you, your family, and pets; managing contract work being carried out on your new home and helping to enroll your children in school.

If you are not ready to pay for the costs of all the services they offer, you can request relocation materials free of charge. Even though you won’t get personalized advice you’ll still be able to get some insight and answers to any relocations that may have to help you narrow down your search. 

There are plenty of companies that provide relocation packages that cover moving costs and provide a relocation expert for workers relocating out of state. 

If the company you are using doesn’t provide one, you can find your own specialist by Googling “relocation experts” along with the name or ZIP code of the city close to the place you are moving to. 

A relocation expert can also help with selling your current home and with buying a new one. In case you are unable to find one who offers these services, you will need to find a reliable real estate agent. 

4. Choose A Reliable Buyer’s Agent

When buying a home, one of the fundamental and most important things to do is to find a trustworthy buyer’s agent who specializes in working with buyers. Better yet, you can try to find one who has experience working with out-of-state home buyers. 

Since buyer’s agents have a fiduciary duty to the home buyer, they are expected to act in the buyer’s best interests throughout the transaction. Part of the responsibility of a home buyer’s real estate agent is to find homes that suit your needs and preferences and also attend house viewings on your behalf in case you are unavailable to view the property in person. The agent may also assist with negotiations, house inspections, and the closing process. They can also recommend professionals for the various services that may be needed. 

When looking for a good buyer’s agent, check local listings online and go to their website to find out more information about them, and don’t forget to check their online reviews. You can also contact listing agents that frequently pop up in online listings and request referrals to buyer’s agents. Not sure about where to begin? Consider going through the list of top-rated and verified agents on Rocket HomesSM.

5. Get as Many Pictures And Videos as Possible

Given that you may not always be able to view the available properties in person, you need to consider the next best option – checking out as many photos and videos as you can. You can request a friend or family member living in the area to attend open houses of the houses you’ve identified and video conference you so you can digitally walk through with them. You may also attend virtual walk-throughs in case they are provided. Alternatively, request your agent to visit the properties and take photos and videos. 

6. Look Out for Home Sales

When looking to buy a home, it is crucial that you stay current on the local housing market. It allows you to identify the types of properties that are within your budget as well as desired area. This way, you will be able to make a more informed offer on your preferred property. 

If you are also looking to sell your current home, you will need to keep a close eye on the sales trends in your local area to help you set the right price and determine what offer you should accept. This will also help you to determine how long your house may stay on the market before selling. 

Selling in a seller’s market allows you to sell your home much faster and also fetch a higher price. But on the other hand, if it is a seller’s market where you are looking to buy your new home, you will find yourself competing with other buyers and paying more for the property.

Inversely, if you are selling in a buyer’s market, your house may end up staying longer on the market and you may have to sell it for a lower price than you’d initially planned for. However, if it is a buyer’s market where you are buying the property, you may be able to buy your desired property for less. 

To keep up to date with all the local market trends in both areas, consider attending local open houses, browsing through the online listings in the neighborhood, reviewing neighborhood trend reports for predictions and statistics, and subscribing to local agent newsletters. 

When trying to find ideal homes that are within your budget, it will be important to work with an agent who has in-depth knowledge about the local market. In addition to helping you find your dream home, they will also be instrumental in making a favorable offer and handling negotiations with the seller. 

7. Get Your Finances in Order

The cost of living tends to vary from one state to another and sometimes, even within the same state. It is important that you try to get a good understanding of the local housing prices as well as the cost of living. 

If you currently live in a high-cost market and are moving to an area with a lower cost of living, you will be pleasantly surprised by how much house you can comfortably afford as well as the lifestyle changes you can make with lower monthly payments. 

Understandably, if you are moving from an area with a lower cost of living to an area with a higher cost of living, you may need to rethink your current lifestyle and housing options. 

When coming up with a budget for your new home purchase, don’t forget to factor in the approximate closing costs and mortgage rate too. Also, arrange a meeting with a mortgage lender to discuss how much you need to have saved up for the down payment.

In addition to coming up with a budget for your home purchase, also consider preparing a new budget for your regular living expenses. Try to find out how much the average household pays for things like groceries, utilities, healthcare, and entertainment.  Depending on your new home’s proximity to your workplace, the nearest school, grocery store, restaurant, and so on, you may need to figure out your new transportation costs. 

8. Assemble a Team

At this point, you need to have already found an agent you trust and have identified or made an offer on a home. To successfully complete the rest of the process, you will need the input of a few more professionals in your new area. 

While your agent can direct you to a reputable local real estate agent or home inspector, it is still important that you research them online to be on the safe side. You can also find these professionals by seeking recommendations from a relocation specialist or other people within the local community. By this stage, you’ve hopefully been successful in steps 1-3. 

9. Get to Know the Real Estate Laws of Your New State

Granted, when buying a home, you may have grand plans on what you will do with the new property. However, it is important to keep in mind that each state has its own set of unique laws when it comes to real estate. It will help to familiarize yourself with these laws beforehand. 

You will want to have a clear understanding of the building codes, zoning laws, property lines, and even fencing in your preferred area. This way, you will be able to make sure that there are no restrictions in regard to the changes or improvements that you are looking to make to your new property. 

10. Choose a Reputable Title Agency

A clean title is crucial as far as purchasing a home is concerned. This assures you that the seller has a legal right to sell the home. 

Given how crucial the title is, it is in your best interest that you work with a trustworthy title company to do the title search, carry out a property survey, and finalize a legal document that indicates the seller can legally sell the property. 

The company may also provide the owner’s title insurance as well as that of the lender.

The lender’s title policy is required and is in place to protect the investment of the lender in the home in the event that someone else comes along and claims that they own the home. The title insurance of the owner safeguards the homeowner’s equity. While the owner’s title insurance is not a requirement, it is still highly recommended. 

It is important that you shop around when selecting a title company. So, seek recommendations and referrals and research the reputation of each company. 

Bonus Tip: Visit the Location

Nothing beats taking a well-planned trip to the place you are looking to move to. If you are in a position to, visit the area and make sure that you feel comfortable with it. 

If you are still in the process of finding the ideal home, consider visiting several different cities within your comfortable commuting distance. If there is a downtown area, consider visiting it and exploring the neighborhoods. Identify everything you like and dislike about these areas and use this to help you narrow down your search. You can also attend some open houses and walkthroughs if available. 

In case your bid has been accepted or you have already bought a home, it will be important to take a walk through it before you close. Explore the neighborhood, get to know your neighbors, and check out nearby businesses and restaurants to get an insight into what life is like living in the area. 

The Takeaway

Purchasing a home out of state can be quite challenging and may require you to be quite creative. At the end of the day, what you are looking for is a home of your choice and have all of the logistics of the move covered. While technology always comes in handy, there is nothing better than the input of family, friends, relocation experts, experienced real estate agents and new neighbors.

Getting started with your mortgage is easy and takes less than 30 seconds! Get your custom rate and closing cost options to see what you can afford.