You are relocating to an area you are not familiar with and plan to purchase a home. Where do you start? Especially in a market you don’t know. Well, the same “rules” apply for an unfamiliar market as they do a familiar one. You just may not find the process as easy as if you were looking in a market you already live in. So, I have put together a list to help you find a home in a new market.
Talk to your current financial institution about a lender in the new area. Especially in the credit union world, we have connections all over the country and are happy to put you in touch with someone we would recommend. Moving to a new area can be overwhelming and when you don’t know much about it, you can get overwhelmed easily. Relying on current institutions you already have a relationship with can give you peace of mind.
Research your Real Estate Agent. Just like you would in your current area, ask for recommendations on a Real Estate Professional. The best person to ask is your previous Realtor (if you liked them of course). They will know who to recommend in the market you are looking in. A lot of larger Real Estate Firms have agents all over, so it is easy to recommend someone for you.
Lots of Google. One of the great things about the colossal amount of information available online is you can really discover an area without ever setting foot there. Zillow and Real Estate agencies will have tons of information for you on what areas of town you should purchase a home and which areas to avoid. Your Google search can also reveal the best schools, best entertainment, and even the median sale price in the new area so you can have an idea of what you will spend to get what you want.
Inspection. Especially in a new town, make sure you get a thorough inspection of the property you want to buy and ask the seller for concessions if anything comes back. You want to make sure your new home is going to be safe and free of issues.
Trust your gut. Maybe the best advice I have is to trust your gut when it comes to all of the previously mentioned items. If you don’t feel comfortable with your lender or agent, move on. Find someone you do feel comfortable with. Being able to trust the pros you are working with will allow for a much smoother process and maybe even save you stress in the long run.
Know if the market is competitive. Use your resources, most agents will be upfront on whether it is a competitive market or not. We are currently seeing some incredibly competitive markets in Montana so be prepared. Your initial offer on a home could make or break a deal so be prepared.
Expect things to go wrong. Even in a market you know well, home buying can be a stressful and things can go wrong. Be prepared. Know that until you are at the title company signing on the dotted line, the home sale could fall through. Thankfully if you have the right people on your side, they will fight for you and work miracles, but inevitably something will go awry.
To help you further, I have also included some resources for you to review while considering a new home purchase in an unfamiliar market: