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Buying a House 1K Miles Away
Old 04-09-2021, 02:09 PM   #1
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Buying a House 1K Miles Away

We are hoping to sell our house in NJ and move to Florida.
We are wondering how to handle buying a home when we are 1000 miles away. We can't travel down there many times.
Would renting make sense while we look for a Florida house?
Has anyone faced this situation?
Thanks
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Old 04-09-2021, 02:15 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rathgar View Post
We are hoping to sell our house in NJ and move to Florida.

We are wondering how to handle buying a home when we are 1000 miles away. We can't travel down there many times.

Would renting make sense while we look for a Florida house?

Has anyone faced this situation?

Thanks

If you donít know the area you want to live very well, renting is your best bet. We live in PA and bought three properties and sold two in Florida. The transactions were handled electronically, but our selection was done in person.
The market is hot right now, so itís not unusual to have to act fast.
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Old 04-09-2021, 02:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rathgar View Post
We are hoping to sell our house in NJ and move to Florida.
We are wondering how to handle buying a home when we are 1000 miles away. We can't travel down there many times.
Would renting make sense while we look for a Florida house?
Has anyone faced this situation?
Thanks
Yes, I think renting makes sense rather than rushing a big decision.

We rented for 3 months and looked around and ultimately bought and are happy with our decision.
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Old 04-09-2021, 02:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rathgar View Post
We are hoping to sell our house in NJ and move to Florida.
We are wondering how to handle buying a home when we are 1000 miles away. We can't travel down there many times.
Would renting make sense while we look for a Florida house?
Has anyone faced this situation?
Thanks
Well, for a big move like that, I would indeed recommend renting for an extended period first to make sure you are happy with the chosen area. Perhaps you know Florida well enough to already have achieved that certainty.

I lived in Dallas and made the decision to relocate to Chicago. I contacted a Chicago real estate agent and started working with him remotely using online listings and research. I targeted a 4-day weekend to fly up to Chicago to look at about 20 listings that I liked. I already knew the area well enough to know where in the Chicagoland area I wanted to live in before I started the process.

On Sunday, I did a second look at 4 properties that floated to the top of my list. On Monday morning, we wrote up an offer. I flew back to Dallas on Monday evening.

The rest was done remotely using electronic signature and my agent doing some footwork tracking down an inspector and such. I never went back to Chicago until it was time to close. I drove my vehicle and cats from Dallas to arrive the day before closing. I put the cats in housing and I spent the night in a hotel. Closed the next day. Cats and I moved in right away with my possessions arriving a couple days later by moving company.

So it can be done. If you want.
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Old 04-09-2021, 02:22 PM   #5
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There are several good groups to check out on Facebook.



Taking the Florida Plunge
https://www.facebook.com/groups/300437340109801


This is a big one. There are others focused on particular areas of Florida. If you're looking in the central Florida/Orlando/Disney area I can recommend a couple of others.
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Old 04-09-2021, 07:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rathgar View Post
We are hoping to sell our house in NJ and move to Florida.
We are wondering how to handle buying a home when we are 1000 miles away. We can't travel down there many times.
Would renting make sense while we look for a Florida house?
Has anyone faced this situation?
Thanks
Florida is a big state. What is your motivation for moving there? Do you have family or friends you want to be close to? Is there an area you have visited that you liked? Are you looking for a retirement community? You havenít given us much information to respond to.

In general if you know the exact neighborhood that you want to live in, it may be fine to buy right away. But if you are just wanting to move someplace warmer but otherwise donít have any particular neighborhood in mind, I would definitely go with renting first. Or maybe staying in a bunch of AirBNB type places for a few weeks at a time to explore different parts of the state.
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Old 04-09-2021, 08:11 PM   #7
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I absolutely agree with renting before buying. There is MUCH to learn about an area before buying.

We got lucky, we did it ALL wrong and it turned out so right. We fell in love with Hawaii and went to a realtor on our second vacation. We told her exactly what we wanted (including the fact that we wouldn't move there - we estimated for 30 years but turned out to be less - so we would have to rent it out.) She said "I have just the place." It came with two widows already renting it and was easily 95% of what we had asked for. So, since we weren't going to have kids (heh, heh, God had other plans - long story but we now have 5 grandkids) we figured we could swing the payments. Things fell together, we dealt with the owner by FAX (on an aircraft carrier) all went great.

Now, full disclosure: We DID stay, fairly long term (in hotel suites) to "learn" to live in Hawaii before moving. We had the back-up that we could always sell a desirable location and get another in Hawaii (we did that 2 years after moving in) OR we could have sold the place at a nice profit and stayed on the mainland. So, we did have our contingencies, but I don't recommend the way we did it though YMMV.
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Old 04-09-2021, 08:42 PM   #8
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In most times, I would certainly suggest renting for a year before buying. But 2020 and 2021 are not normal years with Florida home prices heading up substantially. In this market, time is of the essence.

I was talking to my close friend last week who's a realtor in Ft. Myers. He sold $10 million in homes last year, and he wasn't even working that hard. A 2 bedroom (small) condo in a 4 story beachfront building is running $550K. He cannot get over the increase in prices.

I would suggest you identify where you want to live, and start looking online. If you don't know where to move, look to City-Data.com for great suggestions if you give them what you're looking for.

Florida is 832 miles from Pensacola to Key West, and there is big differences region to region within the state. If winter temperatures are your biggest concern, look south of Orlando and Tampa. The Panhandle is a completely different place with lower home prices--but it's a little cooler in winter.

I've traveled the state extensively, and I like the Atlantic side from St. Augustine down to Cocoa very much. An alternative is LA--Lower Alabama where home prices are cheap and property taxes are ridiculously cheap. No AL income taxes on defined pensions or social security either.
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Old 04-09-2021, 08:57 PM   #9
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I am running airbnb targetting a person for relocations. so you can find one like mine. there is increase those people, it used to be participants for program like internship etc. but now mostly relocation ppl. so that is most ppl are doing for relocations. airbnb ususllay have 28 days long term discount which is based on host's discounts, not all of airbnb rooms.
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Old 04-09-2021, 09:23 PM   #10
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In most times, I would certainly suggest renting for a year before buying. But 2020 and 2021 are not normal years with Florida home prices heading up substantially. In this market, time is of the essence.

I was talking to my close friend last week who's a realtor in Ft. Myers. He sold $10 million in homes last year, and he wasn't even working that hard. A 2 bedroom (small) condo in a 4 story beachfront building is running $550K. He cannot get over the increase in prices.

I would suggest you identify where you want to live, and start looking online. If you don't know where to move, look to City-Data.com for great suggestions if you give them what you're looking for.

Florida is 832 miles from Pensacola to Key West, and there is big differences region to region within the state. If winter temperatures are your biggest concern, look south of Orlando and Tampa. The Panhandle is a completely different place with lower home prices--but it's a little cooler in winter.

I've traveled the state extensively, and I like the Atlantic side from St. Augustine down to Cocoa very much. An alternative is LA--Lower Alabama where home prices are cheap and property taxes are ridiculously cheap. No AL income taxes on defined pensions or social security either.
Yes, DW and I traveled the entire state gulf-side to Key West and atlantic side on the return. We preferred the atlantic side though I have no idea which is better (or is it better to say worse) as far as storms. We didn't stay long enough to say yea or nay on a location, except definitely nay on the Keys and yea on St. Augustine. I could live there. YMMV
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Old 04-09-2021, 10:07 PM   #11
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When DW and I were thinking about spending time in SWFL, we planned to rent. It's common sense. But we had 4 (small) dogs, and nobody would rent to us. Can't really say as I blame them, but it was a bummer.

So she started looking at houses for sale, at my suggestion. Now, this was in 2012, and the market in FL was just starting to think about recovering from 2008, so there was a lot of stock and very few buyers. We could take our time.

But we ended up buying practically sight unseen. The realtor for the house we ended up buying did an excellent video walkthrough, and then was willing to go to the house and show us (via pictures and video) specific things that we had questions about. It's a small, uncomplicated house, and we felt pretty good about it. So we told him we were pretty sure we were going to buy it, and then made a trip down there to make sure everything was on the up and up. It worked out well, and we settled while we were there (cash purchase).

I don't know if that's an option these days, with the frothy market. But with modern technology you really can get a pretty good picture of a house before you actually see it in person.

Having said that, I'd still recommend renting first.
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Old 04-10-2021, 01:41 AM   #12
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When we moved to England in 2016 we rented first while we looked for a house. The place we rented was in an area we thought we might buy but it was an extra 1/2 mile away from the town centre so while a very nice and popular area we decided we wanted to be much closer so it was a great decision to rent and really get to know preferences since we wanted this house to be our ďforever houseĒ.
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Old 04-10-2021, 02:05 AM   #13
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We did much the same thing 2 years ago, though from Chicagoland to NC, 750 miles apart. If you’re not familiar with the area, renting for 6-12 months is probably your best bet. Buying a home is a huge expenditure and exactly where you buy can have a huge impact on your quality of life every day.

If you don’t want to rent, as moving twice is a hassle in itself, your alternative is:
  • Research the cities and neighborhoods using https://www.city-data.com/, https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/, https://www.bestplaces.net/ and other websites. You can find helpful locals, some realtors, some not on their forums. Be prepared to be online daily learning and looking.
  • Make at least two lengthy trips to the area (a week each?), preferably in two different seasons, scouting out neighborhoods and the amenities that appeal to you. You may want to consult a couple realtors as well, not to buy yet, but for insights and to choose your realtor. If necessary keep making trips until you’re comfortable with your choices...
  • ...Then make a house hunting trip with your realtor. If you’re in a hot area, understand the most desirable homes may go under contract within 24-48 hours of listing. So you need to be prepared to act very quickly.
  • We were prepared to get to our new area immediately when homes hit the market, and made four house hunting trips over four months to find our new home - it was tough. One home hit the market on a Sunday and we committed to drive down Monday to look and buy, our realtor called us at 6am on Monday, too late, already under contract. The house we bought, our realtor alerted us on a Thursday before it listed about a home listing on Saturday with an open house in a neighborhood we knew we liked. I researched the home in great detail on Thursday. We drove down Friday, looked at the house from outside, and talked with neighbors that evening (highly recommended). We went to the open house at noon on Saturday and made an offer at 4pm.[/INDENT]
  • DW and I have relocated states a half dozen times, and we have a lot of experience with moving, making new friends, and the mechanics of researching, selecting and buying homes. We also know what we like, what amenities, and how to research cities and neighborhoods.
  • Again, walk neighborhoods and talk to residents, most people are glad to talk if you approach them politely and tell them you’re looking to buy in their neighborhood. Neighbors will be more candid than ANY realtor these days, and answer questions a realtor won’t for legal reasons.
  • I don’t recommend the above approach otherwise...
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Old 04-10-2021, 05:04 AM   #14
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We rented first for a year in Tampa, FLA and then bought a house.
As others have stated, there are many differences in the varied area of FLA with climate, diversity, medical choices and political leanings amongst some of the larger ones which were important to us.
The market is quite heated now, with many sales around us going for over list price with multiple offers on it within days of hitting the market.
When we rented the house, we did it based on online pictures, then flew down at a later date to check it out.
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