October 2019

Advising your client on how to buy a home in a new state

As you'd expect, when your client is relocating from another state to yours, their home buying excitement is often accompanied by anxiety. They'll likely be asking themselves: “How do I shop for a home in a new state? Will I find a welcoming neighborhood? What about schools, crime, taxes, commuting, parks...?” Your client's concerns are real — preparing to move to a new state is challenging and stressful.

But here's the good news: You can make all the difference in your client's home buying experience and in helping them find the right home.

Be there for your client.

Given your proximity and your client's distance, your involvement will be more important than ever. Learning what your client is looking for from the start will cut down on wasted time — yours and theirs. Clear communication will also help your client understand unfamiliar laws and procedures, such as your state's earnest money requirements.

Keep your client abreast of changes in the marketplace. On a frequent basis, provide them with new listings, updates on price drops and bidding wars, and virtual tours. An unexpected courtesy you could extend would be to use Skype, FaceTime or Messenger to take your client on a guided tour, walking them through a home as you visit it on their behalf.

After you, the internet will be your client's go-to source for acquainting themselves with their soon-to-be hometown. While you'll provide your client with suitable listings, they're likely to spend hours comparing homes online. Also, send them links for virtually everything else, from the best neighborhoods and schools to info on safety, shopping, night life and so on. The more assistance you provide, the better.

The skills you acquire here could help you develop a niche for servicing others relocating to your area. If this experience is rewarding, you can pursue additional certification. Earning your CRP® — Certified Relocation Professional — would certainly position you as a relocation expert.

Welcome your client to their new town.

Nothing can replace a client visit. Even with your help, no one wants to buy a home sight unseen. You can help your client use their time wisely by offering guidance on when and for what reasons they should make the trip.

Ideally, your client would attend a number of open houses; tour the most promising listings; see a variety of neighborhoods; try out their commute; revisit the final homes on their list; and be there for the home inspection and closing. No doubt, this will be a balancing act based on your client's situation, but listening to your client will go a long way toward their future satisfaction.

Your client's home inspection and closing.

If your client has to choose between attending the home inspection and attending the closing in their new state, the option of a remote closing could make that choice easy. When helping to arrange a remote closing from your client's existing location, it's better to work with a national title company that operates in both states. Additionally, if your client is also selling a home, helping to coordinate that closing with yours is likely to be greatly appreciated.

The bottom line: By being there for your client, you can help turn their anxiety into trust and confidence in you.

As a Bank of America lending specialist, I'd be happy to speak with your client about their out-of-state homebuying plans.

More from this month's issue