It is not uncommon to be searching for a home in Austin from afar. Whether you’re out of state, out of the country, we see it all and we want to make sure that you are prepared. We’re going to go through some of the most common mistakes we see from buyers looking to relocate to the Austin area.
Mistake #5: Not exploring areas in person before you make your search
Now we understand when you are interested in moving and looking at Austin from out of state, you’ve probably done a lot of searching on Google Maps, Zillow, etc. The mistake we see is that people truly don’t know where they want to live because they haven’t seen the areas. Many people will make the effort to fly to Austin and will want to see homes in every area. While that sounds like a good idea, it can sometimes work against you, because what you see on paper isn’t always what you see in reality. For that reason, we recommend taking an exploratory trip for 4-5 days if possible. First, take a couple of days to look at the areas in North Austin, South Austin suburbs for example, and then really hone in on your true home search. Consider things like commute time to work, shopping, or where you will spend your free time.
Mistake #4: Not understanding the loan requirements if you’re relocating
When you are relocating for work, the loan process is pretty straightforward. Others who want to work remotely, want to move to Austin because it’s an awesome city. You will want to double check with your employer and your lender to make sure that they line up and that you truly can work remotely. If you want to work remotely from Austin, you will need to know what your lender will require. If you’re buying your primary residence, you will need to get approval from your employer via letter. Make sure you do that first before you start looking at houses.
Another situation we see is when you’ve accepted a new job, the lender might be able to use your offer letter and then can get details about your job timeline.
The lender will then say what is needed to move forward with the qualification process such as providing a pay stub, etc. All of this will help when you’re gauging your timeline of when you should actually make the move. Do not hesitate to ask us your questions. What we can’t answer we will defer to your lender.
Mistake #3: Not understanding the value of a local lender
Often, buyers will reach out to us and say that they have a pre-approval from a lender out of state or big bank such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, ect. While this can be a good way to start your moving process, a local lender is usually the better way to proceed.
The benefits to using a local lender include: relationships which allow for quick response turnaround, and in multiple offer scenarios the confidence that the sale will close fast. Yes, there are times where Wells Fargo closes deals quickly, on time with no hiccups, but historically, we see things getting a little bumpier when some of the bigger banks and some of the outside of state lenders are involved. In addition to that, we want to put you into the best position to qualify for the loan and not have to bring a bunch of cash.
Additionally, local lenders have their own appraisal panels that they choose from. These are appraisers that have been vetted. While we cannot choose your specific appraiser because it would be a conflict of interest, the panel they have is full of appraisers that are experienced in the area and know the market. Some of the bigger box lenders will send appraisers from all over. There is no guarantee that they know the Austin market. This could backfire on you when it comes to the appraisal amount for the home you’re purchasing.
Mistake #2: Not getting educated on the current market and what it takes to win in this market
We’re seeing tons of multiple offers, even now with builders. Having a clear understanding of what is happening on both resale homes and new builds is so important. Understanding not just the day to day of what’s happening, but from a timeline standpoint getting educated on how much time you should give yourself to start the search. There are times when inventory here is nonexistent. This could mean it will likely take you a little bit longer to find a home than it would in another time in the market or in another market elsewhere. During our initial buyer consultations, we spend a lot of time educating you so that you can have a leg up over the competition.
Mistake #1: Not committing to one agent
We have conversations with clients all the time that are interviewing multiple agents, which is great. You should interview agents. You want to make sure that you’re comfortable with the agent who will represent you in your home search and purchase.
When you’re talking to three or four different agents, no one is giving you their full attention and looking out for your best interest because they have other clients that have made that commitment. Selecting one agent not only benefits you, but benefits us because we know that we have that commitment from you as well.
What we pride ourselves on is educating our clients. There is so much information out there that may or may not be accurate, so we try our best to give you as much time as you need for education and to also ask questions. As a previous elementary school teacher, the education side of it is something that I love doing. I love having that conversation with buyers. Knowing that our buyers understand how buyer representation works in Texas is very important to us.
You want to commit to an agent through a buyer representation agreement. We understand not wanting to commit after the first conversation, but that’s why we go through the steps and educate you so you can feel comfortable when it’s time to make that decision. And by doing that, you’re going to have someone looking out for your best interests on your side.
That concludes five of the big mistakes we see buyers making. Hopefully, you feel more prepared to take on the Austin market! If you’ve moved to Austin or if you have learned from your experiences and made a mistake, what worked, what didn’t work with your move to ATX, drop a comment below so you can help out those making the move.