So you’re moving to Texas. Great choice!
Biz Journal reports that 60 percent of new Texas transplants come from other states in the U.S. – and for good reason. The attractive home prices, ample job opportunities, weather, and wide-open spaces call to folks from all corners of the country.
All that means a lot of people are having the same idea right now. They’re all hitching up their wagons and heading to the Lone Star State in droves.
According to Dallas Culture Map, “The 2021 Texas Relocation Report released by Texas Realtors, [indicated] more than 500,000 people moved to Texas in 2019…That puts the Lone Star State second in terms of where everyone is moving to within the U.S.”
Ready to relocate? Follow these tips on buying a house in another state to ensure it’s a smooth process.
How to Buy a House Out of State
Few life events are more exciting than an out-of-state move. But first you have to get through the planning phase. Done right, you can minimize stress, logistics, and costs.
It All Starts with Research
Regardless if you’re moving for a job or a sense of adventure, you’ll need to narrow down your options. Even a metropolitan area like Dallas-Fort Worth has an abundance of new home communities and cities.
Check for: cost of living expenses, average home sale prices, transportation costs and options, crime statistics, and property tax estimates. That last one is particularly important in Texas. Because there’s no state tax, property taxes can be higher than other areas of the country.
You can find some of this information in local business journals and news outlets as well as private Facebook groups. You may even want to look at Google Maps to see how close your new home or neighborhood would be to schools, grocery stores, hospitals, etc.
The real estate experts at Hillwood Communities carefully choose locations that are primed for growth, that provide good value for homeowners, and are convenient to major cities. They purposely place their communities within highly-rated school districts and work with districts to build schools within the borders of their new home communities.
Choose a Realtor
Working with a realtor can be very helpful when buying a home in Texas from out of state. An experienced real estate agent will know the area and be able to provide information on how far various neighborhoods are from your job or the nearest city center, what types of development are in the works for an area, where property taxes are lowest, etc.
Choosing a realtor who is familiar with the areas you are interested in will put you ahead of the game. Your agent can visit communities and homes that fit your criteria, ask questions, gather information, and communicate with a seller or builder on your behalf. This allows you to focus on getting things wrapped up where you are. Be sure to talk with several realtors before you choose one. Ask for referrals, check references, and look at online reviews to help you decide.
If you’re buying your first home out of state, you may also want to work with a relocation expert who can help you navigate all aspects of your move, from shipping your belongings to finding local services in your new city.
It’s important to secure financing options, too. Once you know what you can afford, you can ask your realtor to make recommendations or see if your selected builder has a preferred lender. Often, they can offer additional incentives and better pricing than big banks. Builder lenders can also be helpful if you need to close on your new home within a certain timeframe.
The prequalification is usually quick. You’ll need to provide some basic information about your income or employment status and let them run a credit report. Keep in mind that many lenders prefer to see a job offer in the area you’re moving to or proof your current position is eligible for remote work.
Schedule Virtual Tours and Explore Floor Plans
Once you settle on a few new home communities you’re interested in, research the builders to get a feel for their home design options and pricing. Your real estate agent (if you are working with one) can help you with this process.
Most builders have resources to help you virtually tour prospective homes. Many provide 3D renderings of soon-to-be-completed homes that allow you to “walk” the space with the click of a mouse.
Ask the builder to show you which floor plans are available and their estimated completion times. It will help you eliminate those that don’t work with your timeframe.
Plan an In-Person Visit
Once you're ready to start making offers on your new home, it’s time to plan a trip to your new destination.
Buying a house before relocating is an involved process with lots of unknowns. But planning to spend some time in your prospective new neighborhood can help you make your final decision. While there, consider these questions: How do you feel when you walk the neighborhood? Is there enough greenspace for you? Is the noise level acceptable? How does the traffic flow during peak commute hours? How far would your prospective home be from the community entrance, amenities, and important services?
Evaluating your new home in person will put your mind at ease before you take the next steps.
Make an Offer and Close
Check to see how the builder is taking offers. New homes are currently in such high demand in Texas that you may need to get on a waitlist to get notified when a home is about to become available. Others ask you to bid for the property or have a lottery system where interested buyers are contacted as construction is nearing completion.
Ask your realtor to help you make a fair, competitive offer that falls within your budget. Once accepted, most lenders require 30-45 days to complete your loan application, get inspections and appraisals, and fund the sale of your new home.
Create a Moving Checklist
There are a few more logistics to sort through with an out-of-state-move. For example, will you hire the same movers to transport your belongings? Or use two different sets of movers to load and unload your moving truck? The former may be more stress-free, while the latter could be more cost-effective.
Arrange your travel plans if you’re flying and find a way to transport your vehicles, if you have them.
Are you able to set your utilities up before you get there, or do you need to change your address first? Be sure to research the vehicle registration you’ll need in your new home state, too. You’ll also want to register to vote in your new district when you change your license. Don’t forget to forward your mail!
Buying a House Out of State FAQ
Can you be a first-time homebuyer in another state? So long as you have established credit, a high enough score, and documentable income, first-time homebuyers can purchase property in any state they choose.
Can I get preapproved for a mortgage in another state? Yes! The earlier you start the process the better. Most experts advise getting preapproved before you decide to put an offer on a particular home.
Can you buy a house in another state without a job there? According to MyFICO, “If you are moving to an area not within commuting distance of your current job, and they will not let you work remotely, then you will need to have employment that would allow you to work in the new area before you can purchase a home as your primary residence there.” You can usually work around this with an offer letter or contract stating what your new income will be, or by financing your new home as your “second” home (assuming you have 10% to put down).
Whether you’re looking to be closer to family or just need a fresh start, relocating out of state is the start of an exciting new chapter. Just remember that where you move matters, so spend the extra time to find the right area. After all, Texas is a BIG place!
If you’re buying a home in Texas from out of state, be sure to browse our communities to find one that is right for you. Once you know which community you prefer, you can shop for your new home, from home! For more information about Hillwood Communities, contact us, or get in touch with one of our community managers, realtors or builders.