Real estate investment in other areas takes some planning. A home inspector gives you some items to consider.
I received the call from California. An investor was looking for real estate in Houston, and she needed a home inspector in Houston. Most real estate investors pick a comfort area, where they know the homes and their values, but I have performed home inspections for a few investors this year, who came from other parts of the country. Houston is not a bad place to invest when you consider that our home values are still rising, we have foreclosures or other distressed properties, and we do have renters looking for homes. However, I think that there is an issue with individuals looking for properties far from home.
Consider the difficulties when looking at investment properties in another state. Finding the home, and making the initial look around to see if it has potential. Arranging for the house to be inspected, appraised, surveyed, or whatever else needs to be done. Negotiating with the seller or the seller’s agent. After the purchase, you face finding renters or buyers. Do you know a contractor to make any repairs? You need to check that everything is being handled well.
Some of those issues are easily taken care of with a good real estate agent (especially one with investor experience). Blogs are a great way to examine a realtor, when you cannot meet them, but this is not always possible. You may need to spend some time talking to different agents to get a feel for them. In Houston, I would recommend Erion Shehaj (his is the Investor Nation Blog in the blog roll), so maybe asking a few home inspectors in the area you are looking at may be helpful. Once you have the Realtor, you may find the tasks mentioned above can be dealt with by them. See if they will help with the selling or renting of the house; they may then be willing to look over the contractor.
That is the biggest problem which you will face. Earlier this year, I found a general contractor was reporting back to his investor in another state that he had done certain work. My clients (the buyers) kept asking that I go check. I ended up going to that house ten times over the course of a month, and the work was never completed. Finding a good contractor may not be hard, but they may not be reliable if they feel that they can get away with it. If the Realtor sees the possibility of more income from the transaction, they may be willing to check up on the contractor. Otherwise you may find that you can retain a home inspector to look over a contractor’s work.
When looking at houses in your own neighborhood, you can check and handle much on your own. Just remember that you will need a confidant to make long distance real estate investments work.