A Step-By-Step Guide to Buying a Home Remotely

Our Guest Poster Today: Matthew Schwimmer


A woman on her laptop buying a home remotely

Nowadays, buying a home remotely has become standard practice. Even though it has its pitfalls, we are sure it's here to stay. Therefore, it's worth learning about video tours, virtual signatures, and listing portals if you plan on purchasing a home online. This article will share a thorough step-by-step guide on successfully buying a house remotely.

Steps for remote home buying

There are numerous reasons you might be looking for a house remotely, including a desire for a change of scenery or a long-distance move because of a last-minute job offer. For instance, if your relocation across the border from Louisiana to Texas needs to happen soon, it's crucial to have a structured plan.

Let's take a more in-depth look at the steps that await you.

1. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is essential

The first step in this process is to find a lender who can give you a loan. If you wish to do everything remotely, make sure you find the one that allows online document submission and signatures.

A mortgage pre-approval letter from a lender tells you how much money you can expect to get. When you start your online house hunt, this letter will be your primary asset.

2. Find the right local realtor

The real estate agent you end up working with will be your main ally during the whole process of buying a home remotely.

So, while looking for "the one," keep in mind, your realtor should have some of the following characteristics:

knows the market inside out

is up-to-date on the latest market trends

pays attention to your wishes, desires, and queries

has good reputation

has experience in remote home buying

good in negotiating

determined to succeed and has a winning personality

Since you are doing your research remotely, getting a referral for a reputable realtor from a friend, co-worker, family member, or someone living in the area is advisable.

3. Create a realistic wish list

Assuming you've already got your mortgage pre-approved, you probably have a budget in mind for your new home. It's always good to stay realistic and have a wish list before starting your search. This way, you can share your non-negotiables with your agent and ensure they present you with the best home choices for you.

An illustration of a house above which the word 'property' is written

Once you decide on your home must-haves, it's time to start searching for potential houses.

Here's a list of things to consider when creating your ideal home wish list.

1. number of bedrooms and bathrooms

2. the size of the property

3. the house style

4. garage or parking space

5. location

6. amenities

7. access to schools, parks, and public transportation

8. distance from work

4. Get to know the market when buying a home remotely

Even though your agent will be your go-to person for any information you need, it's crucial to understand important market features. For instance, determine whether the market you plan on buying a house in is a buyer's or a seller's one. If it's a buyer's market, there will be more homes for sale than buyers looking to purchase.

Knowing this can help you avoid rushed decisions. On the other hand, if you are in a seller's market, you will know you need to act quickly if you want to get the house you've laid your eyes on.

A woman researching the housing market on her laptop and phone

Being informed about the market is essential.

5. Start browsing

Thanks to all the listing platforms and social media, browsing homes online is easy. This way, you can rely on your and your agent's research to find suitable properties. Also, you will get an overall idea of the prices and types of homes you can expect to see in the area.

6. Attend virtual tours

Once you've found the property you like, your agent will schedule a showing. A virtual tour means your agent will see the house and the owners on your behalf, all while being on a video call with you. This way, you will have an opportunity to see the place and ask any questions. Even if you want this to be your second house, asking anything that crosses your mind is essential. This way, you will be sure the home meets your needs.

You will mostly have to rely on your agent's opinion at this stage. However, if you've done your research and chosen an agent you trust, you should be confident they will help you.

7. Create a written offer

When you're confident you've found the one, it's time to get started with the paperwork. All of the tasks in this step, such as writing the offer, adjusting it, and having it accepted, can be done virtually. Also, the majority of these tasks are done with the help of your agent.

8. Arrange a home inspection when buying a home remotely

Even though this step is not obligatory, it is wise to make. Scheduling a home inspection is your opportunity to get to know the property's condition inside and out. This way, you will know if there are any issues to be addressed before the closing.

You don't want to make a detailed plan of your moving day list of chores only to find holes in the walls or faulty plumbing fixtures.

To avoid this, we highly recommend asking your agent for a referral for an inspection office.

9. Appraisal and deal closing

Finally, once you're done with the inspection and post-inspection negotiations, there are a few more details to take care of.

The appraisal is necessary, so your mortgage company can determine the worth of your new home and ensure you aren't getting more money than you need. The good news is that you won't need to be present for the appraisal.

As for the closing, it can be done entirely remotely since e-signatures are as valid as physical ones.

A hand signing a contract

E-signatures are as valid as physical ones.

The final walkthrough on buying a home remotely

As you could've seen, buying a home remotely is not mission impossible. With the right agent by your side, purchasing your dream home or your holiday home won't be a problem. You might need to increase your virtual presence during this period or figure out how to communicate. However, everything should go smoothly if you follow our step-by-step guide. Happy house hunting!

Matthew Schwimmer, Blogger and Writer

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