How to buy a house remotely
How to buy a house remotely
For home sellers, it is easy to skip the closing as they can pre-sign the papers and have the money wired directly to their account. On the other hand, home buyers don’t have it so easy. Being physically present at the closing table to sign paperwork used to be the only option. That involved many potential inconveniences, such as having to take time off work and other obligations, traveling a long distance, etc. Luckily, nowadays, home buyers can opt for remote closing, or even do everything remotely and simplify the whole process. Remote buying is becoming more and more popular and soon you’ll see why.
The most common reasons to buy a house remotely
- Buyers who choose to buy a house remotely usually do so when buying a second or vacation home and are unable to travel back and forth.
- Out-of-state investors who want to make a purchase in a different real estate market often buy remotely.
- Buyers who are buying a house for someone else don’t necessarily need to see it in person.
Whatever your case is, here are some tips to help you purchase a house remotely.
Hire an agent to help you buy a house remotely
As you’re not dealing with the purchase firsthand, your agent is the link between you and the seller. Since your real estate agent will be in charge of the entire home-buying process, you need to make sure he/she is trustworthy. Your agent should visit open houses, find the right house for you, negotiate with the home seller on your behalf and take care of the paperwork, which is a pretty big deal.
If you are planning to sell your old home and move to the new one, your agent can help you with that process, too. They can advise you on how to earn more when selling your home and take care of the paperwork.
We suggest interviewing a few agents and asking for recommendations before hiring. One of the most important questions is how much experience they have. And we’re not just talking about buying and selling homes. If you want to buy a house remotely, you need an agent who’s worked with remote buyers before.
Another important question concerns their availability. Remote buyers and agents who work odd, part-time hours are not a good match. For instance, agents should be available to attend home inspections which are normally done between nine and five o’clock.
Communicate with your agent and trust their opinion
No matter how skilled and experienced your agent is, you need to help them help you. That means telling them exactly what your needs are early on. They won’t be able to meet your needs unless you are completely honest. Besides, knowing exactly what you are looking for will help them work faster. On the other hand, if the buyer has too many requests, the whole process will last longer. Therefore, you need to focus on the priorities, such as size and location, and the features you must have.
If you fall in love with a house but your agent says buying it is not a good idea, don’t be stubborn. They are on your side. Also, a local agent is an expert on the local market; hence, they know things about the market not many people know. If leaving Tennessee and settling down in Florida for the first time after buying the house, you can’t possibly know more about Florida’s market than a local agent.
How to use the due diligence period
Once the home seller accepts your offer and the house is under contract, the due diligence period starts. This period usually lasts between 14 days and a month. During the due diligence period, you should review your title documents and deed restrictions and get a home inspection, among other things. Finally, you should decide whether you want to proceed with the purchase. This is also a good time to negotiate for repairs and price reductions in case there are issues with the house such as roof damage, mold and burst pipes. This period is also your opportunity to view the house in person before closing the deal.
There is a nonrefundable due diligence fee ($500-2,000) which serves as compensation to the seller for the time their house was off the market. You should also pay the earnest money deposit, (at least 2-3% of the purchase price).
Things to know about remote closing
Thanks to modern technology, remote closings have become quite popular and feasible. Your real estate agent will send pages of the contract and addendums for you to sign using an electronic signature, which is just as valid as a physical one. This way, you can review and sign various documents, agreements, and disclosures, including offers to purchase, mortgage documents, sales contracts, residential and closing disclosures.
This is your chance to review the papers and ask your agent additional questions. Have in mind that the paperwork is full of terms only professionals understand. If there is something you aren’t familiar with, ask your agent for clarification and do research of your own.
If you decide to go through with the purchase, you’ll sign, click the “I agree” button, and the documents will be sent to the appropriate parties. After you sign, your agent will take all the closing documents to the closing table and the transaction will be completed.
Martha Pearce has a finance degree and enjoys reading and writing about money management and investing. In her free time, she likes to hike, watch sci-fi films, and play video games. She currently lives and works in Jackson, Mississippi.