a couple looking for houses on a laptopWhen you're considering a big move to a new state or city, there's a lot to think about – and one of the biggest decisions is whether to buy a house before you relocate to Austin, or wait and look for one on the spot. 

Austin, Texas stands out as the #2 fastest-growing city in the US based on the 2022 Report by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. The city boasts a tech-focused environment, a desirable climate, and a thriving cultural scene - all contributing factors to its popularity. If you considering moving to this vibrant city, be sure to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision to buy before relocating or looking for a home on the spot.

Pros and Cons of Buying a House Before Relocating vs Looking on the Spot

When deciding if you should buy a house before relocating or look for one on the spot, there are benefits and drawbacks to consider.

Pros of Buying Before Relocating

Pro: You'll have time to research the right neighborhood that fits your needs

Researching your ideal Austin neighborhood before you relocate is a big plus. 97% of homebuyers used the internet in their home search according to the National Association of Realtors in 2020. Taking some time ahead of time to really narrow down areas that fit your needs can save you significant headaches once you arrive at your new location.

Finding out what the community has to offer, how far away you are from public transportation and other local amenities, or development plans in the area are all great things to have figured out before you invest any time and energy into looking for a place to live. Taking the extra time to research can make all the difference in house hunting for a home that suits your lifestyle best.

Pro: Avoid the stress and pressure of finding a place to live once you arrive

Purchasing a home prior to relocating can spare you from the overwhelming pressure of finding a house once you arrive in your new location. You will be able to make time for yourself to settle into your job and discover what your new community has to offer. You will feel safe and self-assured as soon as possible in your new home during this major life transition.

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Cons of Buying Before Relocating

Con: It's harder to find a good deal when you're not on the ground in person

Trying to buy a house while not present in person can be a daunting obstacle. You may end up accepting a deal that looks good on paper but isn't quite what you had hoped for without being able to survey the area or get an understanding of the quality of building materials in each home,

Seeing the house and the neighborhood in person can give you a better sense of the property's condition and the surrounding area, which can help you make a more informed decision about whether it is the right fit for you.

Con: inability to assess the value of the property in person

It can be a tricky endeavor when looking for a house in an unfamiliar market. It can be difficult for a potential buyer to assess the real value of the property without being present.

On top of that, there are obligations to follow local regulations which you may not be aware of until you're already locked into a purchase. However, conversing with locals or a local real estate agent who understands the area can help reduce the risk.

Pros of Looking On-The-Spot

Pro: You can visit potential homes multiple times before making a decision

When it comes to a major purchase like buying a house, visiting potential homes in person beforehand can make all the difference. Instead of committing to a home sight unseen, you can take your time and really examine what's out there, seeing if it matches both your needs and your wants.

By visiting the same property multiple times, you build familiarity and get a better sense of what kind of life you'd be leading should you go through with the purchase.

Pros: You will have a better understanding of the local housing market

You can see first-hand what types of properties are available, what different neighborhoods are like, and how much you can expect to pay for housing in the area. By seeing properties in person, you can get a sense of the quality of construction, the condition of the neighborhood, and the overall feel of your new area.

This can help you make a more informed decision about whether a particular property or neighborhood is the right fit for you. In addition, having a better understanding of the local housing market can also help you negotiate with real estate agents and landlords, potentially leading to a better deal on a property.

Cons of Looking On-The-Spot

Cons: You may end up paying more for a property because you are in a rush to find a place to live.

When you are in a rush to find a place to live, you may end up paying more for a property or opting for a rental property. This is because you may not have the time to thoroughly research the local housing market and compare prices across different neighborhoods and properties.

When you are under pressure to find a place to live quickly, you may be more likely to make compromises on your housing preferences. This includes settling for a property that is more expensive or not in the location you wanted.

Cons: You may feel pressure to make a quick decision about where to live

You may not have the opportunity to thoroughly research the area and get a sense of what it is like to live there, which can lead to unexpected surprises and disappointment after you have already made a commitment to a property.

This can ultimately result in feelings of regret or dissatisfaction with your decision. It can be especially difficult when you are trying to settle into a new city and establish a new home. Taking your time to research the neighborhood and cost of living. Considering your options can help you make a more informed decision about where to live, which can lead to a more satisfying and long-lasting experience in your new home.

Key Takeaways

Pros of Buying a House Before Relocating
    • Financial Stability: Purchasing a home before relocating can provide you with long-term financial stability and help build equity.
    • Familiarity: Owning a home allows you to become familiar with the neighborhood and community before moving, making the transition smoother.
    • Rental Opportunities: If you buy a house before relocating, you have the option to rent it out until you're ready to move, providing additional income.
    • Less Stress: Buying a house before relocating can be less stressful than trying to find a home after you've already moved.
Cons of Buying a House Before Relocating
    • Limited Knowledge: You may not have enough knowledge about the local market, neighborhoods, and property values, leading to a poor investment decision.
    • Increased Expenses: Buying a house before relocating can lead to extra expenses, such as mortgage payments, taxes, and maintenance costs while still paying for your current residence.
    • Risk of Overpaying: Without proper knowledge of the local market, you may end up overpaying for a property.
    • Difficulty in Selling: If you decide not to relocate or need to sell the property for any reason, it may be challenging to sell the house, especially if the market is not favorable.
How to Make the Right Decision
    • Research: Conduct thorough research on the local market, neighborhoods, schools, and amenities to make an informed decision.
    • Hire a Local Real Estate Agent: A local real estate agent can provide valuable insights, advice, and assistance in finding the right property.
    • Visit the Area: Spend some time visiting the area and getting a feel for the community before making a decision.
    • Weigh the Pros and Cons: Consider the pros and cons of buying a house before relocating and make a decision based on your individual circumstances and priorities.

Buying a Home Before Relocating vs Looking On-The-Spot

Home buying and moving can be an exciting and stressful experience but it doesn’t have to be. Taking the time to intelligently evaluate your options and decide what’s best for you and your family will take away a lot of uncertainty.

For first-time home buyers, consider downpayment, lender options, and current mortgage rates. Working with a knowledgeable Realtor can make the process smooth. Learn about the area you're moving to for a successful purchase. A home waiting for you post-move brings peace of mind.

A few more tips is to research the real estate market in your desired region and find the right home for you. Starting your home search early gives you time to fully understand the market and secure the right home before your move. Becoming a homeowner before you move in can make your transition smoother and more stress-free.

Are you relocating to Austin for a new job or looking for a fresh new start? Consider researching local neighborhoods and the housing market before buying a home in a different state. Whether you’re moving from out-of-state or within, if you need more help with figuring out whether buying a house beforehand is the right choice for you, speak to a real estate consultant!

Visit our Relocation Services page to learn more about relocating to Austin, Texas.

Posted by Ryan Rodenbeck on
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