How to Buy a House Remotely

Maybe you’re too busy to travel and you’re considering buying a second home. You could be, forcibly or voluntarily, quarantined to your house. Perhaps you are an investor looking to take advantage of a market, but your schedule won’t allow for an in-person house hunt. Regardless of whether or not you can make a personal inspection of the home, you can buy it. It’s important that you prepare yourself for a remote purchase though, and there are a few ideas in particular that you should consider. Buying a house can be an intimidating project but it’s easy if you know what you are doing.

Set Up Financing

Thanks to technology, financing can all be handled over our phones. The process is pretty straightforward. For example, On Q Financial, LLC has an online app called Simplicity by On Q Financial that you can easily and securely download to your phone. A pre-approval letter in hand lets your realtor know that you are serious. Within the app, you will be able to select a mortgage consultant who will work with you and your realtor to organize the funding of your loan. Our expert consultants will help you assess your financial health and find the right program for you. Whatever stage you are in, they are able to help. Contact them today.

Hand putting coins in a coin jar labelled "Budget"

Find the Best Houses with the Best Amenities

Finding the best house is no easy task, especially if you are thousands of miles away. The most important first step you can take if you want to find your dream home is to do your research. As you peruse the online selection of houses consider writing a list of home features that stand out to you. Additionally, you can collect photos of properties and links that will serve as examples for your realtor. This information will come in handy later. In particular, you should investigate the kitchen and master bedroom. Do you require updated appliances? Are you looking for an open floor plan? Do you want to have a studio or study? Will you be needing a large basement? You should also consider what type of area you want to live in. Look up local travel/tourism sites to find out about events and local attractions. Consider how close the home is to a school and the crime rate for the area. This might require a simple Google Maps search.

The best person to help you while you’re remote house hunting will be your realtor. They will be your eyes and ears on the ground. Your realtor will work to find your ideal home and inspect it. That is why it is important you know what you want and are able to communicate that to your agent. We recommend you take your list of features and organize them according to your top five non-negotiables first and other important features below. Understand that you might need some flexibility because sometimes there can be limitations in the area you are looking in.

Infographic - Essential Amenities

Look for an Agent With Experience

If you want to enjoy working with your agent, it’s important that you find someone you are comfortable with. Sometimes it is extremely easy and you find someone right away. Other times the process can be more troublesome. Your realtor is going to be the single most important person that you will rely on throughout this process, though, so it’s important that you find the right one. You will want to vet the realtor with questions about their past clients, their work history, and their knowledge of the area. It would be a good idea to also inquire about references and ask those references about how negotiations went. A veteran in the industry who has lived in that area for a while could provide a wealth of knowledge about the area and knows how to work that market for the best deal. If you’re wondering how to find a good realtor, follow our guide here.

Experience in the Local Market

You probably know your own market pretty well, but if you are unable to house hunt in person, you are going to be relying on your realtor’s knowledge more than ever. Using a realtor without any experience in the local market might be a mistake in the long run. An experienced realtor will be able to tell you whether home prices in that area have been increasing. They will be able to know people who live in the area and might even have sold some of those people’s homes. They are also going to have great options for houses on the market, and because of their connections, they are more likely to give you a great deal.

Experience With Remote Buyers

You will be communicating virtually with your realtor a lot. Therefore, a realtor who has experience working remote buyers will not shy away from technology. They will be updating you along the way through texts and other forms of communication. Most likely they will want to FaceTime or Skype you as they walk through homes that you might be interested in. This is the best practice when remote house hunting. With this method, you can check the home without actually being there.

Someone taking a picture of a kitchen with a mobile phone

Take Advantage of The Due Diligence Period

The Due Diligence period is a 14-30 day window after the house is under contract where you are allowed to change your mind on a property purchase. When you make an offer on the home, you will negotiate an earnest money deposit. This deposit is meant to ensure that you follow through with the purchase. However, as long as you cancel within the due diligence window, you shouldn’t lose your deposit, only a small due diligence fee.

The reason that this time frame is required by law in some states is so the borrower can collect all the necessary information. This will allow you to make the most informed decision possible. Be careful though, because in some states a due diligence period is not required, so make sure it is in the contract you sign when you make the offer on a home. While the due diligence period is active, it is important that you order a title check, home inspection, and appraisal. Your lender and realtor will be able to help you order all of these services. It’s important to mention that you should ask your realtor to walk through the home inspection in your place and ask any questions you need to ask.

A man in a hardhat and yellow vest holding a floor plan while pointing something out to another man

Get Ready For a Remote Closing

If you are able, it’s recommended that you travel for last looks during the 48-hour window before closing. This window allows you to change your mind if there is anything wrong with the property. However, this may not be an option for all remote buyers. In that case, all of your prep work will provide the necessary comfort you need to know that your house will be as advertised when you move or get an opportunity to visit.

Thanks to the E-Sign Act of 2000, your digital signature is as valid as your physical signature. Many homebuyers think you need to attend a closing in person, but that is not the case. For the most part, a majority of your paperwork will be sent through your loan processing application and signed via DocuSign. A few title documents which need physical signatures can be sent through the mail when you know you are clear to close. These documents should be returned before the closing date, and a mobile notary will be able to verify the signature. Shipping these documents will be up to your agent and lender who will coordinate the information needed well before closing day.

Someone using a copy machine

Buying a Property Remote

It is possible to buy property from your home. The first step is finding the right real estate agent with the proper qualifications that make them able to handle a remote buyer. This includes being comfortable with technology and knowing the local area extremely well. It’s essential that you prepare yourself financially for this decision as well. Whether you are agoraphobic, quarantined, or simply too busy, it is possible to purchase a home remotely. If you’re ready, contact a mortgage consultant today and make the first step.

Approval code On Q Financial, LLC0413200681Y000008LOfp