There are many reasons you might need to buy a home remotely. Perhaps you're relocating for a new job but won't be able to travel back and forth before your moving date, or maybe you simply don't have the time to see homes in-person. Regardless, the entire home-buying process can be done remotely. The key is knowing what to expect from the process and how to make the most out of it.
To make remote home-buying easier on you, there are a few practical tips worth keeping in mind.
Find the Right Agent
It all starts with the right real estate agent. Your ideal real estate agent for a remote home sale is one who knows the area where you're looking to buy and has lots of experience with remote home sales and closures. Typically, this agent will be somebody who lives and works in the area where you're looking to buy.
Take some time to reach out to residential real estate agents in the area, either by phone or e-mail, to determine who is the best fit for your needs.
Take Virtual Tours
While not available with all listings, virtual tours are becoming increasingly popular. These tours allow you to virtually "walk through" a home, giving you a more realistic view of the house than you'd be able to enjoy with photos or video alone.
In addition to taking virtual tours, consider asking your real estate agent to go on tours on your behalf; you can set up a live video chat and have your agent walk you through the property in real-time. He or she can also answer any questions you may have along the way, such as "how old is that air conditioning system?"
Prepare For Closing
The E-Sign Act of 2000 makes it possible for you to use digital signatures to close on your home, but you'll still need to prepare for a digital home closing. In some states, for example, you may be required to obtain a remote online notarization (RON) prior to your closing. This is something you'll need to take care of ahead of time, but that your agent can walk you through pretty easily.
No matter what your reason for needing to buy a home remotely, the process is now easier than it has ever been. Just be sure to keep these tips in mind as you begin shopping remotely for residential real estate.