Closing on a Home Remotely
Purchasing a home or other real estate property can be a long, and arduous task– and that doesn’t even include all the paperwork. Especially if you’re not local, this task may seem impossible as you struggle to manage your work and family life.
But don’t worry. It’s not impossible. In fact, buying a home remotely can be an appealing, and time-saving way to successfully close on a home. Whether it’s a second home, a vacation home, or a home for your child, closing remotely is a convenient way to purchase without all the added stresses of traveling. Follow these simple tips to ensure your process goes smoothly:
Secure the Right Agent
Finding a real estate agent that’s willing to work with you and help you buy a home without you physically present is crucial to this process. Your real estate agent will be your eyes, ears, and trusted source for finding what best suits your needs. You may want to consider skyping or facetiming them as you interview them, and using those same technological skills for showing you potential homes.
Not all agents are the same. Find one that you personally connect well with– someone who understands exactly what you’re looking for, and communicates things clearly with you. Consider interviewing a realtor, reviewing their references, and communicating with them your expectations.
The right agent will understand the market, the growing trends, the locations you want to avoid, the features you’re looking for, etc. He or she should also be able to advise you of potential risks with your property. They are trained with an eye to notice some things many home buyers might overlook.
Experience is Key
An agent who has experience in remote transactions can help the closing process go smoothly and help you have some peace of mind. Experienced agents understand the remote closing process, can negotiate fairly, and find the right properties for their buyers. They will also be able to give good recommendations for local lenders, home inspectors, appraisers, and title companies.
Some realtors have been in the business a long time and are really good at what they do. They are personable, experienced, and have a good record for selling homes. However, many of these realtors also have a big caseload that they are more focused on. If your realtor is overloaded with work already, you may want to consider finding a different realtor. If your realtor doesn’t have the time and availability to work with you how you envision, it’s time to find someone new that can fit your needs. Varying time zones may also prevent your realtor from being more available, so make sure you communicate that clearly with them, too.
Communicate your Needs
Every home buyer has a wish list. Share that list and the reasons behind it to communicate clearly why you want/ need those features. Prioritize your list so your realtor understands what’s most important, and those that are negotiable. Be concise so neither of you waste time looking at properties that you know won’t make the cut in the end.
Using “Due Diligence” to Your Advantage
In many states, once a home is under contract, there’s a “due diligence” period that lasts between two and four weeks where a buyer can decide if they want to go through with the purchase.
During this time, buyers have to pay a nonrefundable due diligence fee (between $500-$2,000) and submit an earnest money deposit (roughly 2%-3% of the purchase price). If the buyer decides to withdraw from closing (for any reason) during this due diligence period, they will lose the due diligence money. If the buyer backs out after the due diligence period has ended, they will lose both the earnest money and due diligence money.
This due diligence period is a great time for home buyers to find time to visit the property in person and decide if it’s something they want to move forward with, or forfeit.
The Closing Process
Closing remotely is actually a pretty painless and simple process, especially if you’ve secured the right agent. Your agent will send you the contract pages and addendums that you can then sign electronically. Because physical signatures are required for closing, however, your agent will work with the closing attorney and mail you the necessary documents prior to the final closing. This allows your agent to have all the physical documentation present at closing without you there. The buyer then wires the money to the appropriate place to complete the process.
If you’re considering purchasing a home remotely, use these tips to help ensure you have a pleasant and smooth process. Let Northern Title Company assist you in this process. We perform title examinations, issue title insurance policies, and perform closing escrow work to ensure our buyers are protected from any unknown property complications. Contact one of our offices in today in Utah, Idaho, or Wyoming!