The Right Way to Buy a House When Out of State

 Today I’m joined by Robert Johnson, president of The Duncan Duo Team and co-host of our 970 WFLA radio show, to talk to about what it’s like to buy a house out of state.



If you’re looking to buy a home in a different state and you visit an area you’re interested in during a holiday, you might get a different impression of what that area is like than what it is normally. For example, there may be more or less traffic, so you need to rely on an area expert’s advice beyond just your initial impressions.

Further still, people who buy homes out of state tend to operate on their preconceived notions about how real estate works in their area, but real estate is very local; what might work in Michigan or New York isn’t necessarily going to work in Tampa Bay. Rules, laws, and procedures can vary by state, and you’ll need a local expert to help you navigate the differences between your home state and the state you’re buying in. For example, Florida is a title state, not an attorney state, meaning that title companies oversee the closing process instead of an attorney.

It’s also important to keep in mind the importance of flood insurance. You might be operating on your current understanding of insurance costs when thinking of purchasing in Florida, but some locations like Tampa Bay require you to be aware of factors like flooding and flood insurance.


Rules, laws, and procedures can vary by state, and you’ll need a local expert to help you navigate the differences between your home state and the state you’re buying in.


If you plan to do anything with the home other than occupy it yourself, make sure you look into local laws regarding renting it out. Airbnb and VRBO are great resources for you to rent out a property or do short-term leasing, but some municipalities and homeowners associations are against them.

Florida’s homestead exemption laws are something to keep an eye on, too. The tax applications that come from renting out the property full-time and occupying the home are different, so be sure to speak with an expert about those options, depending on your plans.

Finally, it’s important for out-of-state buyers to understand that other areas may have different expectations regarding property condition. You might be from an area that doesn’t need gutters, that doesn’t have a lot of water retention, that doesn’t have the same pest issues as your new area, or that doesn’t have the same issues with mold growth due to climate. Understand how certain items on an inspection report may not be as big of a deal here (or may be even bigger) as they are where you’re from.

If you have any questions about buying property out of state, especially if you’re considering buying in Florida, reach out to us. We’d love to help you.