Buy a house from 3,000 miles away as a first-time buyer?
February 22, 2013 2:19 PM Subscribe
How (Should?) we buy a house on the other side of the country? We know we want to move there, but we can't go yet.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My spouse and I currently live on east coast, rent, and are in well-paid but hours-intensive jobs. Our plan is to relocate to the Bay Area, close to my spouse's family, and downshift in our careers so we can have a kid and actually spend time with him/her. This will involve a very large drop in income, so we are trying to max out our years of high earnings before doing so. The upshot is we have to stay put for about the next 2 years, but after that we will move.
We have been idly looking at real estate for the past year or so but have only seen a few homes that we like, and they seem to not remain on the market long. We are tempted to go ahead and buy a house before relocating, rent it out to friends-of-spouse who live in the area, and have a wonderful home to look forward to. We have enough saved that we could put down 30-40% now, but would still need a sizable mortgage, given housing prices.
Is this a crazy idea? What do we need to do to make it happen? My not-behemoth bank, which I would normally approach for a mortgage, has no presence in that region. One of us has an error dragging down an otherwise spotless credit report; should we wait until that finally gets corrected before seeking pre-approval? Do we need a local agent to have a serious chance of getting the house we want?