Thursday, June 25, 2020 / by Anne Rose
Added challenges, like COVID-19 pandemic health guidelines or travel restrictions, can make long distance home searches even more difficult.
“In light of the uncertainty in today’s world, travel is more difficult, viewing homes is more difficult, and yet still the market is competitive and fast-paced,” says Kirk Pugh, Broker/Realtor with KBT Realty Group - Keller Williams Innovate. “It is important for buyers to utilize technology and a true local expert to help guide them through the process. An agent should be able to help virtually select and eliminate properties so that when the time is right, the client and agent are maximizing home tours and on-the-ground time in an efficient manner.”
A Realtor experienced with out-of-state home buyers will also bring a cadre of professionals with similar experience to the table. Mortgage lenders, insurance agents, inspectors and relocation experts are part of a savvy real estate agent's tool kit. The right professionals provide an equal advantage in the local market for out-of-town buyers.
“Regardless if you are moving for work or fun, working with a lender that is experienced in relocations is especially important,” says Tara Jones of Guaranteed Rate. “If you are relocating for work, be sure to let your loan officer know if you will be transferring to a local office or working remotely. In addition, discuss your timeline for the move post-closing so your loan officer can make sure all documentation is correct in the beginning to set you up for a successful closing."
Also, out-of-town buyers typically aren't able to attend inspections or walk-throughs. A Realtor working with out-of-state buyers should make the additional commitment to be available in person for those critical steps in the homebuying process, notes Johna Herbinger, Realtor with KBT Realty Group - Keller Williams Innovate. The Realtor's proficiency on video chat, FaceTime, and other technology can make a remote buyer feel secure in the many decisions that need to be made.
One of the most important things is for out-of-state buyers to feel comfortable in their relationship with their Realtor. There are no silly questions, and a real estate agent should assure buyers that all of their concerns and inquiries are valid. Anyone who is buying a new home, especially someone who is not a local, needs to ask a questions and collect information to get a feel for various areas and neighborhoods.
If a buyer is thinking about coastal living, but has never experienced it as a home owner, the agent should help them visualize what year-round life is like in their prospective new state. For example, fall in southeastern North Carolina doesn’t have leaf color changes, and winters can have 75 degree days.
“I help people who have never lived in a coastal area anticipate not shoveling snow or bundling up for the long dark months of winter,” says Janine Pugh, Broker/Realtor with KBT Realty Group - Keller Williams Innovate. “I really try to paint a picture of coastal living for anyone coming here from out-of-state. I always tell the people I am working with that once they get here, step out of the car, and take a breath, they will he able to tell if the neighborhood is the right one for them. Seriously, it has to feel “right” to them... and they always laugh and tell me that I’m right."
It also doesn't hurt to work with an agent who understands where you are moving from. Although you want an agent with local expertise and depth of knowledge in the area market, a real estate team often offers someone who has roots or family in many parts of the country. This kind of understanding of what you are leaving, and the changes you will be experiencing, is invaluable.
Real estate agents working with remote clients have to make an extra effort to quickly establish a relationship so that they can help match the home buyers’ dreams with the realities of the area.
No one can afford to sacrifice time just because they are shopping for their new home from out-of-state. With a Realtor who has expertise in long distance transactions, and a team of professionals to help take an offer from under contract to sold, long distance buyers don’t have to be outpaced by locals in search of the same property.
“Efficiency and speed-to-offer can make a difference even in the uncertain times we are all experiencing,” Kirk emphasizes.
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