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New City...No Problem - Tips for when you need to relocate

Services for Real Estate Pros with We Find Agents

Relocating to another city can be hard, especially when you’re on a time crunch. The logistics get even tougher when real estate is involved. How are you supposed to buy a house in another city when you’re not even there yet? If you own a house already, what do you do with it? Is renting an option? Because this process can get complicated, it’s important to know your options.

If you already own a house and you plan to sell, you have 3 legitimate options (if you don’t currently own a home, feel free to skip down to paragraph 4). First, you can negotiate a contingent purchase. A contingent purchase means that in order for your purchase to go through, you need to first sell your house. This way, you lock down the house you like and allow yourself the time you need to sell your current home. Unfortunately, many sellers are unwilling to accept contingent offers (especially short-sales and foreclosures).

Should you encounter a seller that won’t accept a contingent offer, utilizing a swing loan may be necessary. Swing loans provide you with short-term financing based on your ability to repay the debt quickly. They carry a high interest rate and are not meant to be long term solutions. However, if you expect to sell your house in the next 6 months, a swing loan can give you the short-term leverage you need to buy now.

If you’re not comfortable with those two options or if you can’t find a house you like before you have to move, corporate housing is your best option. Corporate housing is short-term, furnished rental property. It will provide you with the comforts of home while not tying you down to a long term lease that could prevent you from buying in the near future. Corporate housing is more expensive than regular rentals, so use this only as a stopgap.

Now that we’ve covered the logistics of moving, let’s discuss the housing search. First, talk with your Loan Officer about your financing options. Loan guidelines change all the time, so discussing the state of the loan market and how it affects your upcoming move is important. Your Loan Officer will also be able to give you an accurate price range so your REALTOR knows where to draw the line.

Next, hire your agent and have a candid discussion about your needs, your wants, and your personal preferences. Based on his discussion with you and your target price range, your agent should be able to narrow your search to 5 – 10 specific areas.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, it’s time to spend a weekend getting to know the area. Find a weekend when both you and your agent are free and have him plan out a detailed tour for all of your target areas. You’re going to want to see houses within your range, schools, parks, shopping centers, local attractions, etc. In other words, you’re going to want to get a feel for what life would be like living in that neighborhood. When the weekend is over, you should be able to narrow down your search even further (hopefully to 2 or 3 key areas).

By this time, based on your knowledge of the area, you should be able to look at photos and maps online and know whether or not a house is right for you. Your agent should also know your own personal style after spending a weekend with you. Have your agent preview homes for you and send you reports (with more detailed pictures and personal comments). If your agent finds one that he thinks is perfect for you, make a day trip out and see it for yourself.

Buying a home in an out of town area can be very difficult, but if you have the right agent who is willing to put in the work, it can be done. Most importantly, if you find a house you like, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger.