Buying real estate is already a complicated and sometimes lengthy process. Buying real estate from out of state presents even more challenges. Distance, logistics, time constraints, and extra expenses all play a part in making it more difficult than buying locally. Still, it doesn’t have to as difficult as it is for many people. To help you out, then, here are 7 tips for people buying Alameda County real estate from out of state.
1. Do Plenty of Research
The first thing everyone should do when buying Alameda County real estate from out of state research – lots of it. You will, of course, want to lean on your agent’s expertise, but you should also do your own online research.
Finding out as much about the market and prices and available real estate will save you both time and money. “Be your own advocate,” experts advise. “Fire up Google [and] see what you can learn – and give yourself as much lead time as possible.
2. Look Out for Scams
You also need to be aware that buying real estate from out of state makes you more vulnerable to scams.”You have to be sure the person is actually real, that the home is real . . . It’s so easy to put something fake online.”
Here’s one of the common scams you need to look out for. Someone creates a listing for a property that isn’t really for sale, using stolen photos and advertising it at a too-good-to-be-true price. When you respond to the listing, a fake bidding war ensues, which makes you even more interested. Then when you send (usually by wire) your earnest money, the scammer takes off with your money and disappears.
3. Ask Lots of Questions
Just as you need to do plenty of research, you also need to ask a lot of questions when buying Alameda County real estate from out of state. Even if you think they are “dumb” questions, ask anyway. It’s your money at stake here.
The things you should ask about include the amount of required earnest money and when the inspection is required. These can vary from state to state. Also, if anything seems amiss or sets off warning bells, ask about it.
Your agent can be a valuable asset here. To find out more, call (408) 893-1866 .
4. Try to Be Present for the Inspection
Certainly, when you’re out of state, you won’t be able to be present at all stages of the transaction proceedings. But you should try to be present for the inspection.
Here’s why, according to industry pros: “Pictures on the inspection report are great, but if you can be there in person, you can really understand the issues . . . Plus, most inspectors are happy to teach new homeowners about regular maintenance they should be doing and show them small things that won’t affect that sale but should be fixed. They can teach you things you might not know about your home otherwise.”
5. Use Video Tours
You should also leverage video tours for buying Alameda County real estate from out of state. You won’t be able to visit many (or any) of the properties in the early stages of your research and search. You can, however, easily take virtual tours of the properties from the comfort of your living room.
Many agents today create video tours so that you can conveniently experience living in a prospective home. Video tours “are huge time savers and they let you easily see if the house is right for you. Plus, you can get the agent’s input as they walk through the property. Then you and your agent can talk about the home on a more intimate level.”
6. Set a Day to View Houses
There will come a time, after the initial stages of your search, when you’ll want to view potential properties in person. To make the most of your time and travel expense, try to arrange to view several properties on one day. Work with your agent to schedule back-to-back showings for an efficient use of your time.
Again, this is why all the preliminary research and question-asking are so important. It will help you use your time more efficiently and effectively –especially if you have to pay for a plane ticket and take off work.
7. Choose Your Agent Carefully
Maybe the most important of our tips for people buying Alameda County real estate from out of state is this one. Choose your agent wisely and carefully. “[Y]ou need to rely on your agent to be your eyes and ears. So it’s imperative to find someone you trust to have your best interests at heart. . . You need to know that your agent is listening, that they understand your specific real estate needs.”
To find the right agent you could gather referrals and ask for references and spend hours going over reviews. Or you could simplify the process and talk to one of our experienced agents.