Home Buyers March 1, 2024

Buying a House Out of State – FAQs

Buying a house out of state can seem overwhelming, but there are important steps to take and things to do that will help set you up for success. You might be relocating for a new job, the military, or to be closer to family. Or, perhaps you want to purchase a summer home or a rental property. Whatever the reason, the information below will answer some frequently asked questions (FAQs) associated with buying a home from afar.

What are the costs associated with buying a house in Washington state?

First and foremost, buying a house in Washington state means factoring in the cost of living and housing prices in different areas. For example, Washington homebuyers can live in the city of Seattle, in nearby suburbs, or in more rural areas. The cost of living in different parts of our state varies. Check out Bankrate’s cost of living calculator to get a sense of housing costs compared to where you live right now. The property tax rates also vary by state. Additionally, real estate laws, closing costs, and even the climate can impact your home-buying decision. Learn more about purchasing a home in Washington state, and check out our informative video below to learn about the new WA state real estate law changes.

What should I consider when looking at homes on the market?

Before spending hours looking at homes online, ask yourself these important questions to narrow your search and identify your wants and needs:

1. Will this home be your primary residence, a rental home, a vacation home, or a vacation rental?

If the new home will be rented out, consider the pros and cons of managing the property personally or finding a property management company to handle marketing, screening tenants, home repairs, and more.

2. When thinking of the price, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage, the kitchen’s layout, the neighborhood, and more, what do you need to have and what would you like to have?

3. Do you want a turnkey home or a fixer-upper?

4. What do you look for in a community? Think about if you want any amenities to be within walking distance or a short drive. Consider local schools, commute time, and opportunities for community involvement.

These are all important considerations to list out before you get wrapped up in pictures online. There are many beautiful places to live, but finding the place that will suit you best is key. Doing this from a distance (across states or overseas) can be tricky. That’s why creating a crystal clear picture of what you need and want before you start searching is so crucial. You’ll know what to look for, what to avoid, and what questions to ask when you’re ready to contact a real estate agent.

What should I consider when looking for a good real estate agent?

Using a local buyer’s agent has numerous benefits when buying a house out of state. They know the local real estate market and will utilize the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) to identify homes that fit your budget and meet your criteria. Unable to tour homes in person? That’s okay. They can show it to you through video chat while pointing out specific features or flaws. Also, they will be able to answer all of your questions about different neighborhoods and communities. They can provide you will all kinds of local resources, recommended vendors, and much more. When it’s time to negotiate, they will serve as your trusted advocate. Additionally, many of our agents are relocation specialists. They possess years of experience helping manage and prepare for their clients’ long-distance moves.

If you or your spouse are in the military, consider an agent with that background. Here at Windermere Silverdale, we can provide military resources, and we love working with military families. In fact, many of our agents are veterans, have family members who have served, and/or have helped many military homebuyers and sellers for years.

The bottom line is, you want to find a highly-rated, well-connected local agent. They should have relocation expertise, extensive knowledge about the area they want to live in and be a well-organized project manager and a strong negotiator.

How does it work when there are contingencies?

It’s important to understand what might be involved in a contingent offer when buying a home out of state. As a homebuyer, you may need to include a home sale contingent offer if you are trying to sell your current home before moving.  There are different types of home sale contingencies, and they have pros and cons. So if any of them apply to your situation, be sure to fully discuss them with your real estate agent so that you’re able to make well-informed decisions.

How can I streamline the home-buying process?

Buying a home out of state can create challenges when it comes to your desired timeline. Read through our Guide to Buying a Home (PDF) for a complete picture of the home-buying process. This guide will explain the pre-approval process and how to make a competitive offer. It explains escrow, home inspections, and more. It is the perfect place to start when beginning your out-of-state home-buying journey.

Another way to streamline the home-buying process is to get connected with a local real estate agent and a local lender. Additionally, these homebuying tips from a few of our local experts are helpful to know.


We wish you the best of luck with your big move and finding your ideal home here in Washington state!