Do you need to move out of state? If your new job or another major life transition will bring you across the country (or at the very least, to the next state over), take a look at what you need to know about homes for sale, real estate agent services, and buying in an area you may not know well.
Connect with Locals
Which part of your soon-to-be new city do you want to move to? You likely don't know the area well and aren't sure which region has the most to offer. Ideally, you could use an existing connection to learn more about the city and home buying options. A future co-worker, former classmate, or friend of a friend who has lived in the area for several years can help you to better understand the different neighborhoods.
If you don't know anyone in the area, you can still connect with locals. Join local social media communities that apply to you. These could include local parents groups, school groups, employment groups, or regional community pages. Introduce yourself (virtually, of course), explain your moving/home buying needs, and ask for input. Bring up specific needs, such as a top-notch school district, daycare nearby, dining, retail stores, grocery shopping, or public transit.
Co-workers, friends, family, or social media contacts can also help you to find a local real estate professional. If you don't have a referral, read online profiles and reviews from past clients. Look for in-depth reviews that provide plenty of details. Skip reviews that seem too good to be true or overly general. While, "Best agent ever" may sound positive, this type of review doesn't give you the information necessary to decide whether the real estate pro can truly help you to find a home from another state.
You may need to interview a few agents before choosing one. Schedule video calls with your top three agents and ask them questions, such as:
How long have you worked in the region? As an out-of-state buyer, you need an agent who has in-depth knowledge of the area. While there's no magic number, your agent should have at least a few years of experience.
How long have you lived in the area? Your agent needs more than just knowledge of the local real estate market. Any knowledgeable professional can look up comps or help you to put together an offer. A long-standing local can also help you to learn more about the region and choose the best neighborhood for your needs.
How can you help an out-of-state buyer? Will the agent preview homes for you? Can they bring you along on a video call walk-through? Make sure the agent has creative ways to help you find a home from far away.
Your future agent should also have the time to discuss your future home—on your schedule. This is essential if you currently live in a different time zone from your future new home state.