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Buying a Home Remotely: A Step-By-Step Guide

Swallowing a home remotely is becoming increasingly common these days. It has been standard practice for some time in the intrinsic estate world for sellers to skip the home closing by pre-signing paperwork and having sale proceeds wired later on to a bank account, but now the entire process can be done remotely—by buyers as well as sellers.

Key Takeaways

  • The entire process of taking a home can now be done remotely by both sellers and buyers.
  • Finding the right real estate agent is key, so be sure to ask about their endure with remote sales as well as their daytime availability, and remember to request references.
  • Sometimes there is a due diligence term, which a buyer can use as a tool to get a house under contract while giving an easy out to terminate the contract with little financial risk.
  • If there is a due diligence period, consider using it not only to do inspections but to visit the house (if you can) and make accurate it’s the one you really want.
  • Even closings can be done remotely—you sign documents using an electronic signature system and your instrument attends in person.

Why Buy a Home Remotely

Right now, the novel coronavirus is upending the way home sales are conducted, from canceled extend houses to video tours taking the place of in-person home showings. As people avoid close contact to support from spreading the virus, buying remotely makes more sense.

In more normal times, “people who buy remotely repeatedly do so to purchase a second home or vacation home,” says Todd Kaderabek, a residential broker associate with Beverly-Hanks & Associates Realtors in Asheville, N.C. “Typically, they are from out of shape and have jobs and other obligations that prevent them from spending a lot of time on the home-buying process.”

Economics can be a factor. “If a parent is buying a home for an adult child, they may decide to buy remotely, especially if they live out of majestic,” says Kaderabek. “In these cases, the parent often buys the house sight unseen, handles all the paperwork and detailed remotely, making an all-cash purchase.”

Real estate investors may also choose to buy homes remotely. Most actual estate investors follow the 1% rule, which states that the monthly rent earned on a property should transcend that property’s monthly mortgage payment, so the investor at least breaks even on the property. It’s easier to find attributes that follow the 1% rule in certain markets, which may be located a significant distance from the investor’s dwelling-place base. As a result, buying a house remotely can be an attractive, time-saving option.

Whatever your reason for buying remotely, there are non-specified steps you can take to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Find the Right Real Estate Agent

You last will and testament depend on your real estate agent to handle nearly the entire home-buying process, so it’s critical that you embrace the time and make the effort to find a good fit. “Home buying involves a lot of moving parts,” says Kaderabek. “It’s conspicuous to find a good personality match between the client and the agent.”

An interview is helpful (whether by phone or video), and it’s without exception a good idea to get references to see what other buyers have to say.

Ask About Experience

When you speak with a potential surrogate, Kaderabek recommends asking from the start: “How often have you done this process remotely?” Experience essentials and agents who work frequently with remote buyers are more likely to understand how it works, negotiate favorably, and summon up suitable properties for the buyer.

The agent should also be able to advise on a local lender. “A non-local lender is plausible to use a non-local appraiser, which can be the death knell in unique markets like Asheville,” says Kaderabek.

Ask About Availability

Myriad real estate agents work odd or part-time hours, which can be particularly difficult for remote buyers. Your envoy will serve as your proxy, so they need to be available during regular business hours to handle a contrast of tasks in the home-buying process, including home inspections.

“I attend all home inspections, but with an out-of-town client it’s basic,” says Kaderabek. “In a world where home inspections take place between nine and five, it’s going to be surely difficult for an agent to attend your home inspection if they have another job.”

Share Your Wish Register

Once you have an agent, share your wish list so the agent can help you find the perfect property. The diverse refined your list, the quicker the home search may go—to a point. If you have too many requests, it will likely leaden down the process. Stick to the things that really matter—size, location, house style, walk-in closets—and quit out the minor details that would be easy to fix or update in any home. And if there are any deal breakers—features you absolutely could not conclude with (or without)—let your agent know early on, so they don’t waste time looking at the wrong properties.

“If you’re an vehicle, you have to take that bold step to call your client and tell them you’ve found the perfect mark for them,” says Kaderabek. As a buyer, you need to trust that your agent knows exactly what you’re looking for and that they include also taken the time to look closely at the home. “A home could look perfect on the internet, but a good intermediary will be able to say, ‘No, that’s not the home for you because it sits next to an active railroad track.’” 

Use the Due Diligence Period

In a jiffy a home is under contract, there’s time to review title documents and deed restrictions, as well as to conduct inspections, investment capital, and bank appraisals before closing. In some states, including North Carolina, there’s an official due diligence epoch, during which buyers conduct their due diligence and decide if they want to go through with the home buy. This may not apply if the home is a new construction.

The buyer pays a non-refundable due diligence fee, typically between $500 and $2,000, which basically repays the seller for taking the home off the market and gives the buyer time to make a decision. The buyer also makes an diligent money deposit, equal to about 2% to 3% of the purchase price—or more in fast-moving markets. Both the due diligence fee and assiduous money deposit are negotiable between the buyer and seller.

If there is an official due diligence period, it typically lasts between 14 and 30 epoches.

The buyer can terminate the contract for “any or no reason” (or some other language) during the due diligence period and forfeit only the due diligence fee. If the client backs out after the due diligence period, they will forfeit both the due diligence fee and earnest money.

As only the due diligence fee is deprived ofed if the buyer terminates the contract during the due diligence period, this can open up an interesting opportunity for remote buyers. It can be toughened as a tool to get a house under contract while giving an easy out to terminate the contract with limited financial imperil. In the case of buying remotely, it gives the buyer a window of time to view the property in person before making any certain decisions.

Close Remotely

The E-Sign Act of 2000 makes your electronic signature just as valid as if you signed the details in person. In addition, advances in technology have made remote closings routine for sellers and very feasible for clients. Your agent will send you all the pages of the contract and addenda. You’ll sign them using an electronic-signature system, which generally speaking sends the signed forms back to the appropriate party.

“Attorneys still require physical signatures so your emissary will work with the closing attorney and FedEx all the necessary documents to you ahead of the closing,” says Kaderabek. “The advocate then goes to the closing table with the closing documents—without the buyer—and the funds are wired to complete the minutes.”

The Bottom Line

Buying a home remotely can be a good option for second-home buyers, parents who want to buy homes for their daughters, and out-of-state real estate investors. In many ways, the process is the same as buying a house in person; however, you determination depend even more on your real estate agent to find the right home, be present for the inspections, light you through the paperwork, and attend the closing.

As such, finding the right agent—one who has experience with remote transactions—is one of the most portentous steps you can take when buying a house remotely.

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