How to buy a home remotely

Buying a new home is an exciting and often stressful time - even more so if you are buying a home remotely. But thanks to modern technology it is far from impossible, especially if you follow these guidelines: 

Research as much as you can

Before you consider buying a home remotely, you should try to become as familiar with your new location as you are with your current one - in other words, you will be doing hours of research on the area you want to move to.

One of the best places to start is by joining neighbourhood groups on social media and asking the locals some of your burning questions. 

You can ask about commute times and public transport availability, and find out about shops, schools, parks, sports facilities, hospitals, churches, and local attractions. Use the internet to find out more about the essential information as well - for example, crime stats, income levels, and house prices.  Google Street Views will also help you to visualise what it might be like to live there.

Nothing beats an in-person visit to the town or city you are planning to move to, so if you can it is advisable to go at least once.

Identify the best local real estate agents

Again, internet research will be able to help you here. Visit local property portals and agent websites to see which agents are active in your desired area. You can also ask for recommendations on neighbourhood groups to see which agents are mentioned often for their good service.  

Make contact with these agents and explain to them that you will be buying a home remotely and ask them how they will be able to assist you in making this process as easy as possible.

Technology has allowed us to do all kinds of things during the pandemic and with advancements in virtual tours viewing properties remotely shouldn't be impossible for the right real estate agent. 

It helps to have people ‘on the ground’ who are personally familiar with the area and are prepared to provide you with inside information as well as real-time local market and house price trends.

Be clear about what you want

When buying a home, remotely or not, it is always advisable that you have a checklist of features that you want in your new home. This list should contain both the features you will be able to compromise on and those that absolutely won't. 

If you want a home office and an agent shows you a home with a bedroom that could be converted into an office, would you be able to budge? 

Knowing exactly what you want out of a home and location will really help you - and the agents who are looking out for homes that might suit you – to hone in on the best options and pick the one on which you want to make an offer.

Don't sweat it

If you’re still nervous about making an offer “sight unseen”, there’s always the option of making the sale contingent on you viewing the property in person (and still liking it) when you get there.  

Alternatively, you can always consider renting for a few months and giving yourself time to settle into your new job and new routine before you finally decide on a new home. And you won’t be wasting all your earlier research, because your knowledge will still make it much easier to narrow down the list of homes to view and choose one to buy.

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