“This house in St Pete Beach Florida looks amazing! Just what we’ve been looking for. Honey let’s get down there and look at it this weekend.
This may not have happened to you personally but things are moving rather fast in real estate lately and if you happen to be looking to buy in a place outside of your current home state of city, things can quickly get hectic and disheartening. With real estate, different circumstances call for different and adaptive strategies. Just like with any challenging situation in life, buyers in today’s market are finding themselves in need to adapt quickly in order to acquire their dream homes. When there is will there is a way.
This article is mainly about purchasing a home or investment property remotely. Due the rather fast pace of the current market, especially here on the gulf coast of Florida, out of state or remote buyers are compelled to find creative ways to successfully complete real estate transactions.
Long gone are the days when you would find a property you like online, discuss it with the family for a few days, book a flight to go check it out in a week or so, then go back home to decipher the numbers with your accountant before making an offer. Now a days, its more like “Think fast & act faster”.
The good news is, thanks to technology, buying a real estate asset remotely is easier and more secured than ever before. Most of it can be done electronically without you ever having to leave the comfort of your home or office. Assuming that you’ve made up your mind about a general geographical, here are the steps to buying a house remotely, safely and with confidence.
STEP #1 – Find and reach out to a local Realtor. Preferably interview a few before choosing the right one. You want someone who is responsive and knowledgeable of the area in addition the being well versed in the technicalities of the industry. Most importantly, you want someone who is attentive to your specific needs and is willing to go the extra mile to complete the transaction successfully.
STEP #2 – With the help of your local Realtor and in conjunction to with your own efforts and research, find the right property. What makes a property the right one for you? Think of it in terms of LOCATION, LOOKS, CONDITION, FEATURES, PRICE & VALUE. Ultimately, the right one always stands out from the rest.
STEP #3 – Request a virtual showing. Being a remote buyer should not stop you from examining the property thoroughly. You can use technology such as FaceTime and WhatsApp or even ask your Realtor for a prerecorded video tour of the property. Make sure to inspect not only the interior but the exterior, neighboring houses, nearby properties and the neighborhood itself.
STEP #4 – Once you have made the decision to move forward with a particular property, think about your offer and communicate the terms to your Real Estate Agent. Here are the numbers you’ll typically need to decide on when submitting an offer.
- PURCHASE PRICE, meaning the price you would offer the purchase the property; not to be confused with ASKING price set by the sellers.
- ERNEST MONEY or Escrow deposit (usually 1-3% of the purchase price in the state of Florida). This amount must be available to you in liquidity. It is customarily deducted from your total closing balance at the end of the transaction.
- FINANCING OPTION indicates whether you are paying Cash of getting a Mortgage through a financial institution. You must also indicate the type of loan you are getting: Conventional, FHA, VA… etc. In either case have your proof of funds or preapproval letter ready to send along with the offer.
- CLOSING TIMEFRAME, typically 30 to 45 days. In general, the faster you can close, the more appealing it is to the seller and the better your chances of getting your offer accepted.
- ADDITIONAL TERMS or request to the sellers. In some cases, buyers will structure deals in a way that allow for certain concessions or closing cost assistance.
Good job! You are now a few steps closer to acquiring your dream property. Don’t book you flight quite yet however. Let’s wait for the seller’s response. The following steps are contingent upon your offer being accepted otherwise, repeat STEPS 2 through 5 until you get a positive response from a seller.
STEP #6 – Let us assume that your offer was accepted by the seller. Congratulation! You are now officially “Under Contract” to purchase the property. Review the final “fully executed” contract carefully and pay close attention to any communication coming from your Realtor other transaction coordinators involved. Follow the instruction sent by the title company (chosen by the seller in most cases in the state of Florida) and wire your earnest or escrow deposit as soon as you can.
STEP #7 – Book a flight or plan a trip to go physically look at the property. This step is optional as you are technically within your rights to close on this property without ever stetting foot on its grounds. It is however worth mentioning that as part of your purchase contract, you are entitled to an inspection period (usually 7 to 14 days in the state of Florida) during which you can cancel the purchase contract and back out of the deal without running the risk of forfeiting your escrow deposit. During this period, it is highly recommended (even for cash buyers) to conduct a thorough inspection and preferably visit the premises to make sure everything is a promised.
STEP #8 – Now it is time to close! Your escrow period typically lasts 30-45 days. Cash buyers tend to make it shorter. Make sure to cooperate with your realtor, the title company, the insurance folks and lender or bank to ensure a timely conclusion to your transaction. On the day of closing, you will have the option to travel to the title office or sign remotely with a mobile notary. This service is available in most areas in the country. Let’s open a bottle of champagne and celebrate! You have just purchased real estate remotely.
In conclusion, there could always be hurdles and unforeseen challenges during a real estate transaction. With the assistance and guidance of a trusted Realtor in your targeted area, purchasing a property remotely can be a pleasant and stress-free experience. Are you ready for you next real estate adventure? Lets get started now!