Row of houses in neighborhood

How to buy a home in another state

A lot has changed recently about where we live and work. With the rise of telecommuting, a need for more space at home and the help of record-low interest rates, over 20% more people are planning to move this year than last year. While most new homebuyers stay within the same area, 14% make a long-distance trek over state lines to find a new home.

If you’re planning to relocate, follow these tips for how to buy a home in another state.

How to get an out-of-state mortgage

It’s helpful to work with a lender experienced in out-of-state relocation. Guild has more than 200 retail branches from coast to coast, with loan officers licensed in multiple states.

Last year, two-thirds of homebuyers made an offer on a home sight unseen, up from 32% a year earlier. Between online home listings, digital mortgages and eClosings, remotely buying a home in another state is easier than ever before.

  • MyMortgage enables you to upload documents and manage checklists from any mobile device, simplifying the process from application to close.
  • Guild’s secure eClose solution is straightforward and less time-consuming than a traditional mortgage closing. View loan documents as soon as they are released, on a computer or mobile device, from the comfort of your home. On most loan products, you can e-sign the majority of documents in advance of closing.

Requirements for buying a home in another state

Before starting your home search, it’s best to connect with a loan officer. Then, fill out a loan application to get pre-approved.

If you’re moving due to a job change, the key is to show that you’ll have a steady income. Be prepared to provide documentation, including an employment agreement to start the job 60-90 days after closing. The employment offer or contract must establish the position, start date, type of job and pay rate. It must be non-contingent, or the conditions need to be met before closing. Non-contingent employment agreements are only allowed for mortgages on primary residences and for specified programs. Learn more about what can affect a mortgage application.

During the pre-approval process, you’ll learn how much home you can afford. With this, you can confidently start shopping for an out-of-state home.

15 tips for buying a home remotely

It’s best to visit your new city in person when shopping for a new home, especially before making an offer. However, don’t worry if you can’t take a trip to scout the area before you buy. There are many useful ways to learn remotely about homes for sale and be better prepared for moving to a new state.
  • 1. Work with a national lender like Guild with branches in the state where you’re looking to buy.
  • 2. Take the time to interview real estate agents with local expertise.
  • 3. Ask for personalized virtual tours of the homes that meet your criteria.
  • 4. Find out if there are property restrictions and a homeowners association (HOA), paying particular attention to the covenants, conditions and restrictions, also known as CC&Rs. Read the HOA guidelines to understand the community’s move-in policies.
  • 5. Investigate the property tax situation by visiting the municipality’s website.
  • 6. Conduct online research of the surrounding area through news articles and neighborhood-related websites and apps.
  • 7. Gain valuable insight by joining neighborhood social media groups.
  • 8. Confirm that your new location has the amenities and nearby services that you value most.
  • 9. Research the school district.
  • 10. Check the local traffic at rush hour to get an idea of your potential commute time.
  • 11. If you have a will, trust or living will, contact an estate planning attorney in your new area because property laws and marital property rules may differ in your new state.
  • 12. Reach out to your car insurance carrier to determine if your coverage will be different in your new state and if you’ll need a new insurance policy.
  • 13. Is your new home in a flood plan, at risk for an earthquake, hurricane or tornado? Educate yourself on the risks in your area and research hazard insurance policy offerings.
  • 14. Check out how far your salary will go in another city with the cost of living calculator from CNN Money.
  • For legal and tax purposes, recommends checking your new state’s website for information on how to establish a domicile there.

By getting pre-approved and doing research in advance, you’ll be more prepared for a smooth move to your new state. Connect with an experienced loan officer to start the mortgage pre-approval process today.

The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.

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About the Author: Guild Mortgage

Founded in 1960 when the modern U.S. mortgage industry was just forming, Guild Mortgage Company is a nationally recognized independent mortgage lender providing residential mortgage products and local in-house origination and servicing. Guild’s collaborative culture and commitment to diversity and inclusion enable it to deliver a personalized experience for each customer. With more than 4,000 employees and over 250 retail branches, Guild has relationships with credit unions, community banks, and other financial institutions and services loans in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Guild’s highly trained loan professionals are experienced in government-sponsored programs such as FHA, VA, USDA, down payment assistance programs and other specialized loan programs. Guild Mortgage Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guild Holdings Company, whose shares of Class A common stock trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GHLD.