Recently, I have been speaking with several prospective clients who live in other states, and are in the process of relocating to the Denver metro area. In the midst of a historic seller's market here, it's challenging enough to be a home buyer. Add in the complication of not being able to go see a place in person, and finding a home to buy before you arrive can seem like an impossible task. No doubt, it's a challenge...but there are things you can do to tip the odds back in your favor (with the help of a good Realtor, of course).
Do Your Research!
A robust site like KDHouses.com is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal, when undertaking the challenge of buying a home in another state, prior to moving. Discovering the types of places that fit your requirements involves more than just the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage. What do you want to be close to? What type of lifestyle do you like to lead? Do you have kids? If so, you'll want to know what the neighborhoods and assigned schools are like. A good Realtor, combined with a good website with extensive search options that pulls data directly from the MLS, will have you up to speed about which areas to focus on. You also want to be able to set up daily search result emails, to be sure you're aware of the latest properties. In a market like this one, time is of the essence.
When an out-of-state client finds a property they really like, I will go to the location and shoot video walkthroughs, take photos of any points of concern, and let them see everything that's important to them. I'm also currently researching a 3D video solution, which will enable me to create video walthroughs that put people in my shoes, as I check these properties out for them. The video can be loaded on a smartphone with a 3D video app, which is mounted in - and viewed through - a device like the Viewmaster Virtual Reality Starter Pack (which I will provide to these clients, as needed).
Leveraging all of the available technology, in cooperation with a savvy, native area Realtor (such as yours truly), is a recipe for success!
Determine exactly what you want to buy
It's important to give a lot of thought to the specific deal-breakers that you simply can't live without, when you're undertaking a home search remotely. Knowing what you want is most of the battle. Do a list of the "must-have" features, and a list of the "would like to have" bullet points. When you're looking at properties, make sure they're ticking all of the "must have" boxes...and then see how many of the "would like to haves" it comes with. This will make it a lot easier to help your Realtor focus specifically on the properties that are the best fit for you and your family. It's also important to know precisely how much house you can afford, by getting pre-qualified. This will dictate a lot about which areas should be your focus, and it will empower your agent to make offers quickly for you.
Plan to travel!
You'll want to set aside some time and money to spend a couple of weekends traveling to the areas you're focusing on buying a home in, and going on some showings with your Realtor. At this point in your search, your agent should have a very good idea of exactly what you're after, and can take you on a tour of a very specific selection of homes that suit your needs. I like to not only show homes, but treat clients to lunch at one of my favorite local spots and show them what is available to them, around the neighborhoods they're searching in. The process should be fun, as well as informative. In the end, you may come away from your trip with a successful offer on your new home...but at the very least, you'll have an excellent feel for the areas in which you're looking, and be better prepared to pull the trigger, when the perfect home shows up.
Squash your fears and pull the trigger!
There's no room for doubt or hesitation, in the current Denver housing market...so knowing what you want, doing your due diligence, having your finances in order, and trusting your Realtor should give you the confidence to go through with an offer, when you find the right place. Be ready to take a step back, when you're feeling doubt, and figure out whether it's just nerves...or whether there's something about the house you're considering that just isn't right for you. You're making an inter-state move, there's a lot swimming in your brain right now and so many moving parts, it can be hard to juggle everything. Adding the complication of buying a house can be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Don't let it be! Rely on your Realtor to usher the transaction through to completion and take as much of the load off your shoulders as possible. Ultimately, if you must make the move without first buying a home, it's not the end of the world. Your Realtor can help arrange short-term storage for your belongings, and there are AirBnB locations all over the Denver metro area, to accomodate your family while you and your Realtor canvas the area weekly for the right home.
Don't let the idea of buying a home remotely intimidate you! I can help you navigate the process as painlessly and enjoyably as possible. Give me a call, and let's talk about how I can facilitate your new Front Range lifestyle!