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Buying a second home in another state is something most people can only dream about, and if you are one of those lucky people, congratulations! However, even though it’s not your first time, buying a home in a different state comes with an extra set of challenges, and long-distance buying is just one of them. So to help you have a smooth buying process and avoid buyers’ remorse, we’ve prepared simple tips, and you can find them further in this article.

Tips for buying a second home in another state

If you are searching for your second home, you’re probably doing similar things to when you were buying your primary residence. However, as this will be your second property, things tend to be slightly different. Plus, you’ll be buying out of state, which comes with additional complications.

 A house on a beach with a red roof and a white porch fence
As the second home is a place to get away and relax, most people choose states with great weather and access to the beach.

We’ve prepared tips to help you have a quick and successful home buying process out of state. And as California is one of the most popular second-home destinations, we’ll use it to simplify our explanation of purchasing a second home in another state.

Be financially prepared

You probably already know how important knowing your finances is for buying a home. However, as you will be investing in a second property, there are many more things to consider. Therefore, before you jump into buying another home, make sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you saving enough of your current income for your retirement? It should be at least 15%.
  • Do you have an emergency cash fund? It would be best if you had enough saved to last you six (preferably, even nine to twelve months).
  • Did you pay off your credit card debt, and is your primary home paid off?
  • Do you have a college fund set up for your children or any other similar savings?

If all of your answers are yes, it’s pretty much safe to say you’re ready to buy a second home.

Set a realistic budget

Most people imagine beach properties with stunning views when buying a second home. However, before you rush to find your California dream home, make sure to know how much you can afford.

Make sure to list all expenses related to this purchase. As you’ll be buying from a different state, you need to factor in moving costs, too. Let’s say you are moving from Florida to California and you want to have a smooth transfer across the US. Interstate moving can be costly, so planning these expenses in advance is crucial.

Don’t forget the travel costs for attending open houses and many similar expenses. They don’t seem much at first but can certainly end up taking a significant toll on your budget.

Know where you’re buying and what you want

Before you start looking for a perfect California property, it’s essential to research the state you’re buying a property in. Analyze the cost of living, taxes, state laws, and various other things. Before you commit to buying a second home in another state, make sure to understand all costs associated.

A woman sitting at a desk and researching buying a second home in another state on her laptop
It’s important to find out everything you need to know about the state you plan on buying in.

It would be best to think about what you want from your second home too. For example, if you want a California beach home but only plan on spending a couple of weeks a year there, why not consider renting your property for the rest of the year? You need to think of ways to make your investment pay off, as otherwise, you might end up regretting your decision.

Hire the best local realtor® you can find

Hiring a great real estate agent is crucial even if you are buying a home in the same street as your current one. However, when it comes to purchasing in another state, having an experienced local realtor® from California as your ally is that much more critical.

As you are buying out of state, chances are you are not very familiar with the place you plan on buying your home in. For that reason, you’ll need a local realtor® who has experience in the area you’re interested in. A good realtor® will listen to your requirements and make sure to find homes that best suit your needs and budget.

Schedule video tours but plan a trip to view homes in person

As you will be buying from a distance, it will be challenging to travel to see each home your agent wants to show you in person. Imagine flying across the country a couple of times a month to see a house and return? It doesn’t make sense.

Therefore, make sure to ask your realtor® to schedule video tours of the properties instead. This will make the home buying process that much easier and cheaper for you.

A real estate agent showing a home to a pregnant woman and her husband
Before making your final decision, make sure to view homes you like the most in person.

Of course, you shouldn’t base your final decision only on what you’ve seen on a computer screen. So once you’ve seen enough homes, you’ll be able to narrow down your list and choose several you’ll want to go and see. That way, you’ll be able to cover several homes on a single trip.

Let your realtor® know which homes you’re interested in so they can organize house viewings for you. After seeing homes in person and thoroughly checking everything, you’ll be able to decide whether you want to make an offer or not. Your experienced agent will surely help you negotiate the best possible price.

Good luck

We hope that our tips made buying a second home in another state that much simpler and easier for you. Once more, we congratulate you on making such a big step. If you need any help finding a property to call your second home, get in touch with a reputable Marin County realtor®. They will make sure your real estate dream quickly becomes a reality.

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