Have you switched from working in an office to working remotely over the past two years? You’re not alone. Many workers have sought permission from employers to work from home, or they’re looking for new remote-only or hybrid positions. According to a study from Growmotely, 97% of full-time employees don’t want to return and 61% prefer working fully remote.
When you can work from anywhere, moving to get a change of scenery might make sense. If you don’t have to be within commuting distance of an office anymore, why not? Relocating can get you closer to family and the stuff you like to do than your current home — like hiking, skiing or surfing. Or maybe you just want to live somewhere that’s less crowded and gives you more bang for your buck.
One word of warning: if you’re thinking of moving out of state or to a different county in your current state, consider how that may affect your job, your pay, your benefits and your taxes. And note that out-of-state relocations could take a little longer to pull together than a cross-town move. You’ll have to find a real estate agent, plan a budget, do your househunting online, negotiate an offer and coordinate a move, all from a distance.
Keep these 8 tips in mind if you’re thinking of relocating and buying a house out of state.
1 – Figure out a budget
Buying a home in another state requires budget planning that’s a little different than buying something locally. For either, you want to get pre-approved (not pre-qualified), so you know what you can afford. But when crunching the numbers, you’ll need to look at how closing costs and other fees — like homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and general living expenses — might differ from where you currently live. Plus, there’s the move: hiring a long-distance moving company can cost thousands of dollars. For more budgeting advice, check out these five tips to get started.
2 – Do your online research
You’ve probably already spent hours checking out new home listings and imagining yourself in those spaces. But if you’re not finding your dream home on those sites, don’t despair. Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com are handy for getting a general feel of what specific neighborhoods are like and give a glimpse into school district info, community amenities and proximity to shopping and transportation. Plus, they’re great for understanding average home prices and the kind of inventory available in a specific area, which is really helpful before moving on to the next step.
3 – Try before you buy
Online research is great for getting a feel for a community, there’s no substitute for experiencing a potential new neighborhood in person. Before settling on an area to relocate to, spend a little time there to see if you fit in. Test out the dog parks, recreation, shopping, restaurants, parking — and coffee shops with great wifi — before fully committing. Airbnb is an excellent short-term solution for remote workers trying on different communities. Besides, online househunting is no substitute for working with a living, breathing, caring realtor who lives and works in the area.
4 – How will you get around?
If you’re a remote worker considering becoming an urbanite, investigate public transportation before taking the plunge. Are there buses, subways or ride-sharing to help you get from one place to another? How long will it take to get to the nearest airport? If you’re more interested in the suburbs or a rural area, you’ll need to budget for a suitable car. Convertibles are great for San Diego and Florida but might not be appropriate for frigid winters in the upper Midwest and the Northeast.
5 – Killing the commute? Or is it killing you?
A key benefit of remote work is zero commuting, which, according to BizJournals.com averaged 54 minutes per day pre-Covid. However, more businesses are asking staff to come in once or twice a week, so considering the length of a commute remains important before deciding on a location for your new home. But, if you’re only making the trip sporadically, a longer commute from your dream home may be something you can put up with.
6 – Reinforce your street smarts.
When you’re familiar with a neighborhood, you know what areas to avoid if crime is an issue. Our advice is to never make an offer on a property until you know how much crime the neighborhood deals with — and how much you are comfortable living amongst. To help you research the safety of a community, Safewise curated a list of the best neighborhood crime apps, including FBI Crime Data Explorer, AreaVibes, The Neighbors App, Family Watchdog, CityProtect and SpotCrime.
7 – Find a real estate agent you click with
The most important step when relocating and buying a new home is finding a guide. We’re talking about a reputable and knowledgeable realtor who knows the local housing market inside and out and will listen to your preferences. Find one who won’t waste your time trying to get you into a home that’s too expensive and who promises to return your calls, as you’re probably going to be dealing with them from a distance.
That Airbnb thing we mentioned earlier will help: visit the areas you’d consider moving to and meet with local realtors until you find the right one. Our recent blog has a few more tips on finding a great real estate agent.
8 – Work with a mortgage loan officer who “gets” you
When it comes to financing your new home, wherever it may be, Movement Mortgage can make it easy. Remember, you’ll want to get pre-approved before you do any househunting.
Movement has over 650 branches in the US and is licensed in all 50 states, so once you determine where you’re looking to relocate to, find one of our local loan officers and give them a call. They’ll help answer any questions about the process. Or, if you’re ready to start now, you can always apply online!