Buying a House Out of State: Tips and Strategies

04 May, 2024

On Behalf of Mack & Mack Attorneys | estate planning

Buying a house is often cited as one of the most significant milestones an individual or couple can achieve in their lifetime. It can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment that often represents years of hard work to save up and make the purchase. However, buying a house outside of the state of South Carolina adds extra layers of complexity that must be considered.

Whether you are purchasing your first home, looking for a vacation home, or investing in a new piece of real estate, understanding the logistics of out-of-state real estate transactions can simplify the entire process.

Research the Local Market

Regardless of where outside of South Carolina you want to make your next real estate purchase, it’s advised to conduct your own research on the ins and outs of the local market. Each area in the United States has its own unique set of prices, market trends, and neighborhood dynamics that can influence your own circumstances significantly.

Leveraging real estate sites like Zillow and can give you a better sense of the conditions of local markets. Checking out review reports from online sources like the National Association of Realtors can also add useful information to your research profile. Having this information upfront can speed the purchasing process and help avoid any unexpected curveballs that could delay your real estate goal.

Hire a Local Real Estate Agent

It’s recommended to hire a real estate agent who is already familiar with the location you are seeking to purchase in. While you may already have a strong relationship with an agent in your current place of residence, you want to make sure you are hiring the most appropriate source of support. Also, your local agent in South Carolina might not be able to sell you a home in the new area you are looking for if they don’t have a license in that area.

Visit the Area

While conducting research online can give you a ton of information right away, nothing will beat actually visiting the area in person. Take the time to plan a trip to tour different neighborhoods and get a sense of what each community is like. This trip will also give you an opportunity to meet your new local real estate agent and attend some open houses to see what types of homes are available in the area that fit your preferences.

If the location you desire is too far away for a trip at the moment, check in with your agent and see if there are any virtual open houses available. Your new agent may also be able to conduct a video call and walk you through a home you like without requiring you to travel.

Understand State-Specific Laws and Regulations

Every state has its own set of real estate laws and regulations outside of federal rules they must all obey. To avoid any snags in the purchasing process, you want to make sure you understand what unique laws exist in the market you are hoping to buy into. For example, South Carolina has its own set of property disclosure and closing laws that those who are purchasing from another state might not be used to.

To avoid any unnecessary obstacles, connect with a local real estate attorney. These professionals are trained to understand local laws and regulations on behalf of their clients. This can speed up the learning process for you as a buyer and add an extra layer of support to ensure nothing prevents you from purchasing your new out-of-state home.


Q: What Is Not a Smart Way to Negotiate When Buying a Home?

A: One of the most common mistakes when buying a home is making an extremely low offer. While it’s a reasonable notion to want a good deal, making an offer that is too low for the market can either offend the seller or give the impression that you are not serious about the purchase. Rather, conduct legitimate market research to understand what the home is worth and use that information to discuss with your agent what offer makes the most sense.

Q: What Is the Most You Can Negotiate When Buying a House?

A: Local market conditions and the listing price of the property you are interested in are two significant factors that will influence how much negotiating power you have. In a “buyer’s market” where there are more houses for sale than buyers looking, the lack of competition will give buyers more power to negotiate. This is not typically true in a “seller’s market” unless the specific piece of property has some undesirable features, like being on a busy road.

Q: How Much Can You Talk Down a Home Price?

A: The level at which you can talk someone down on the price of their home will vary based on the current market conditions and how motivated they are to sell. Generally, buyers can negotiate between 5 and 10% of the home’s list price in a balanced market that doesn’t skew toward buyers or sellers. Any house that has been listed on the market for an extended period of time or has an unfavorable inspection report opens up more negotiation possibilities.

Q: What Credit Score Do You Need to Buy a House?

A: Each mortgage lender will have their own minimum credit score requirements that they feel comfortable with when lending money for the purchase. In general, conventional loans require at least a score of 620 to secure the funds. If you are looking to secure non-traditional loans, like an FHA loan targeted toward first-time home buyers, this threshold could be even lower. It’s recommended to check in with lenders early on these requirements to avoid purchasing delays.

Contact Mack & Mack Attorneys Today

If you are looking to purchase a house in or outside of South Carolina and have questions about the process, connect with our attorneys today. Our team is well-versed in what legal requirements must be satisfied to make real estate purchases and can advise on how to speed the process along to secure your new home as soon as possible. Contact us today to begin.

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