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If you’re looking to purchase a new home that’s out of state but don’t have the time to travel there yourself, there are ways you can still have a smooth home buying experience.

Erin Vader, one of our copy editors here at Quicken Loans, lived in Virginia for three years before moving to Michigan. She bought her home in Michigan from out of state – before ever even seeing it in person.

How did she manage that? She relied on her mom to check out the house and location for her.

“If you don’t have someone you know in the state you want to move to, you should have someone that you really trust to provide you with information,” says Vader.

How to Find a Real Estate Agent out of State

In case you don’t have a loved one living in the state you want to move to, we talked to James Harris, a real estate mogul and star of Bravo’s TV show “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles,” to help you successfully find a real estate agent out of state.

Harris advises that it’s best to contact a local broker in the area you’re looking and have them refer you to a top agent in that area.

“With so many real estate websites, many home buyers can now begin their search online,” says Harris. “However, it is best to always rely on the expertise that an agent can provide.”

When finding the right real estate agent for you, make sure that you not only get to know your agent, but that your agent gets to know you, too.

To find an agent who fits your needs in the area you want to live and make your home buying process less stressful, check out Rocket Homes.

Discover Everything About the House’s Area

Since Vader’s mom knew the neighborhood that she was moving to, she was able to ask for details about how walkable it was to other places and the overall vibe of the area.

To find out what the feeling of the out-of-state neighborhood is like, Harris recommends asking your agent.

“It is critical to work with a qualified and educated real estate agent who is a specialist in the area you are moving to,” says Harris. “Many of the real estate websites now also provide detailed area information.”

To make sure that the house’s location is right for you, research the community and work with a good agent who’ll help you throughout the home buying process.

And to start searching for a home, check out My Perfect Home – a tool to help you find the right house for you. 

Advice if You Can’t See the Home in Person

Even though Vader’s mom couldn’t give her a virtual tour of the house with FaceTime or a similar mobile phone app, she still had enough trust in her mom to make the process work.

“My mom didn’t have a smart phone at the time,” says Vader. “She took photos from a digital camera and uploaded them to Shutterfly for me to view, but mostly, I just knew she wouldn’t let me move somewhere that wasn’t going to be a good fit for me.”

If you can’t make it out to see the home you’re interested in buying, ask your real estate agent to send photos and videos of it.

“Your agent can preview the property and provide a virtual showing with you via FaceTime,” says Harris. “Ask your agent for phone numbers of neighbors to speak to about the neighborhood.”

Harris also recommends researching crime rates online and searching for other data, such as the quality of the neighborhood schools.

Expect Changes with the Home Loan Process

When Vader was applying for a mortgage in Michigan, there was a short holdup in her home loan process. She was asked to provide her lender with a signed letter from her employer showing that her income would remain steady in her new state.

“Verifying my income turned into a bit of a big deal because I was keeping the same job I had when I was in Virginia,” says Vader. “I was going to be working remotely and my employer didn’t even have an office in my new state, so the lender wanted proof from my employer that I would be keeping my job.”

Every situation is different, so you may not have an issue verifying employment, but you could still run into other obstacles. According to Harris, getting a loan for a home out of state isn’t quite as easy as it would be if you were buying a home in the same state where you currently live – but don’t let this stop you.

“Don’t get discouraged; just know that things might take a little longer,” says Harris. “The lender’s decision to allow the out-of-state purchase may depend upon the reason for your purchase.”

Harris also warns that you should have a well-thought-out decision, or you may get denied.

“Don’t be surprised if the bank or lending institution chooses to raise the down payment requirement or decides to charge a higher interest rate,” says Harris.

Overall, Vader says getting a home out of state worked out better than she ever could have expected. She thought she was going to have to buy a new home within a year or two of moving in, but the process turned out so well that she ended up loving her new home and lived there for five years.

To make your transition to a new home or a new city easier, check out our guide to relocation.

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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Since I just had one of your representatives-JesseD.- tell our realtor that the pre-approval isnt valid anymore. It was activated this month-September- and shouldnt expire until November, good for 90 days. We are trying to buy a house in another state and he is in demands for a letter of employment verification. Not even willing to follow thru with anything, just nope cant do it until you can verify employment. It is under a VA loan, can change that if need be, but there is special exceptions in the VA too, as far as what they want to prove for a loan. Not willing to check into if the lenders will go ahead with our special needs or not,,,just no. Our parents are aged and have medical issues that need attending, driving for them is not recommended, especially during weather events. I have my fathers medical proxy. We are the only family and live across the country. We are in need of somebody that is willing to help, not heed our already difficult road.

    1. Hi Debby:

      I’m going to get this to our Client Relations team to see if there’s anything we can do to move you forward. I’m sympathetic to your situation and I do understand caring for parents. We’ll see if there’s anything we can do at this time.

        1. If no one has reached out yet, I apologize. I’ve escalated this with our team and someone should be reaching out as soon as possible. Have a good day!

  2. my Fiance and I are currently living in Illinois but he just got a job in Kansas City, MO and will be starting soon. We would like to buy a home in Kansas City as soon as we can because basically I will be stuck in Illinois while he is renting in Kansas City until we can buy a home. We have a decent down payment saved up and our credit scores are good mine being in the high 700’s. So my question is will it be possible for us to get a loan to buy a house in Kansas City with him just starting a new job and me not having a job yet? I have heard that you need to be a resident of the new state for at least a year before you qualify for a loan. We would like to move as soon as we can. How can we make that possible? also renting in KC first before buying a home isn’t really an option for us because we have animals.

    1. Hi Jessie:

      It’s not necessary to live somewhere for a year before getting a loan. The income piece is much more important than how long you’ve lived somewhere. Depending on the type of job your husband and has, he may be able to get a loan if there is a reasonable expectation that the income will continue. I would say the same thing for you. If you can show an offer letter for a job when you apply, the income may be able to be used. There are some job fields where you get a job on a probational basis, and that may not be the case, but every situation is different. I would recommend speaking with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716 to go over your situation in detail.

  3. My husband and I live in Illinois but are moving to Indiana. We want to buy a home when we move to Indiana. We don’t have job offers there quite yet. Are we able to apply for a mortgage with our current incomes and jobs in Illinois, or do we need to apply for a mortgage once we have verifiable income in Indiana?

    1. Hi Jen:

      Usually if you’re getting a job in the same field with a similar or better salary and you have the offer, that works in your favor. Every situation is different and I’m going to recommend with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. They’ll be able to go into your individual situation in depth. Thanks for reaching out!

  4. I am presently working in one state but plan to retire in another. I would be a first time buyer. What is the difference in interest if I do this? Should I make the purchase now, while I’m still working and my income is higher, or should I wait until I retire to purchase?

    1. Hi Lisa:

      I can’t tell you specifically what the interest rate difference would be because every situation is different. What I can tell you is that it’s generally better to apply while your income is higher. That being said, if you’re looking to retire to the property in the other state, you won’t be occupying it as a primary property, at least initially. This means a higher interest rate because there’s more risk involved with homes that are unoccupied. (Think unmitigated leaks, storm damage, etc.) In your situation, I’m going to really recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts to go over your options. You can get in touch with us at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  5. I am working in Illinois but family will move to Florida. I will stay in Illinois and work until family finds house. No house in Illinois and large 50 percent down payment. Buy Florida house as primary or second home? Family will move in right away. I will join after closing and once I have job in Florida.

    1. Hi Kurt:

      Ideally, you want to purchase it as a primary property because it will mean a lower rate compared to a second home. This is allowed on conventional and FHA loans as long as your wife is also on the loan. If you would like to check into your options, one of our Home Loan Experts would be able to go over them with you if you give us a call at (888) 980-6716. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

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