Long Distance Woes: How to Navigate Remote House Hunting

by Carson BuckFebruary 26, 2018

Getting Great Home Value From Across the Country When Buying Remote

Let’s face it: it’s far easier and much more comfortable purchasing a house that you have the chance to look at in-person. From getting a feel for the energy of a home to looking for little details that a camera can easily miss, buying a home you’ve actually been inside and looked over just feels better when compared to something like remote house hunting.

But that experience of walking through and touching, feeling, and investigating a property and building isn’t always available to a prospective home-buyer. Whether for investment or because their schedule will not permit it, sometimes necessity dictates that people have to buy remotely. Buying a home sight-unseen, however, brings with it a host of potential issues, so we’ve created a how-to-guide to help you navigate them.

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Building the Right (Long-Distance) Team

Whether you’re looking for a vacation property, an investment in another market or a home that you intend to move to, successfully buying a home remotely begins with putting together the right team. If you have the funding to buy the property in question outright, then you can skip ahead to finding the right real estate agent.

Otherwise, look locally for someone you can work with and trust in the mortgage business. Just because the home is on the other side of the country doesn’t mean that your mortgage broker needs to be. This, however, may not apply to the purchase of a home on credit in a foreign land. For that level of project, you will need a team that includes a broker that is experienced in financing overseas purchases, and legal help at home and in the country in question.

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Finding and Working With a Real Estate Agent You’ve Never Met

Once you’ve nailed down the financial part of the process, you will want to find a stand-out agent. When buying locally, you can afford to work with just about anyone, because a great deal of the house-hunting will fall to you. But, running a house hunt remotely while relying on websites to look at properties while coordinating work in the field with a remote partner requires a top-notch real estate agent.

If you have a real estate professional in your area, lean on them for contacts in their network that may have recommendations in the region of your search. It is best if you can interview potential agents in person before making a decision. But, a video conference may be an acceptable alternative. If you are working overseas, you may need to work with multiple agents to ensure that you are getting a full picture of what the market has to offer.

buy a home you haven't seenvia U.S. News

Making an Offer on a Home You’ve Never Been To

Making an offer and closing can now be handled remotely, with a few exceptions around signatures. Work with your trusted agent and you’ll be on your way to a complete transaction without ever seeing the property until you can make it there physically. The process is, thanks in large part to the internet, much the same as buying a home locally, with the exception of the level of trust you will have to have in your team.

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About The Author
Carson Buck
Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today's world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.