Guest blog from Brenda Masse, Green Scene Home Inspections
More people are moving to Dallas every day. In fact, more people moved to Texas last year than any other state. People relocating to Dallas often find themselves buying a home while living in another city, state or country. It can be hard to know where to begin, especially in a hot market like Dallas where you often have to act quickly to secure a deal. Here are some tips for out-of-town buyers:
1. Figure out your timeline.
Make a timeline that includes both the “drop-dead-have-to” dates and the ideal, best-case-scenario dates. When do you absolutely have to be moved and settled? Decide how many times you can reasonably travel to the new city prior to moving within this timeframe.
2. Find a Realtor in the new city.
Find a professional Realtor®, someone who specializes in relocation who will guide you to the right neighborhoods, schools and amenities for you and your family. He or she should provide you with information about your new city: transportation, medical, dining, entertainment, arts & culture – anything and everything you need to know about your new home.
* Pro-Tip: Before you schedule a trip to your new city, take an inventory of your furnishings and belongings with measurements of large items so you can make sure your stuff will fit while you’re in the actual space.
3. Make decisions about what you want.
Make a list of things that are important to you in your home and your neighborhood. Indicate which things are MUST HAVES and which ones are preferences you’d be willing to concede if necessary. Likewise, make a list of things you absolutely don’t want, and share these lists with your Realtor. The more your Realtor understands what you’re looking for, the more he or she will be able to help you from a distance.
4. Tour homes online.
Have your Realtor set you up with an MLS search so you can tour homes online. Sites like Zillow and Trulia sometimes have outdated information. Use the Google Street View feature on homes you may be interested in, so you can see a satellite view of the street and the other houses on the block to get a feel for the neighborhood.
5. Make financial arrangements.
This can be a challenge from out of state. A good first step is to get pre-qualified by a lender in your current town, one that has a location in your new city, so that the lender can help facilitate the process for you. Ask your Realtor for help – they work with lenders every day, and can recommend people that can work with your specific needs.
6. Be prepared to act quickly.
In a fast-moving market like Dallas, you may not be able to travel every time you are interested in a home. Sometimes homes here have multiple offers within hours of listing on the MLS. Your Realtor can tour homes for you and walk you through them virtually. If you have to act quickly, don’t be afraid to make your best offer to try to get a home you like under contract. You can arrange to view the home in person during the option period, and worse-case scenario, you’re out the option fee if you decide it’s not the right home for you after all.