9 Essential Steps to Selling Your Home and Moving to Another State

Learn how to sell a home in one state and move to another if you’re relocating.

Young couple moving in a new home with their children helping them
Updated May 28, 2024
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There are countless reasons why you might want to move out of state — such as being closer to family, relocating for work, or wanting to live somewhere more affordable. But before you can get into the why of moving, you need to know the how. As in, how are you going to manage selling your home in one state while buying another in a different state?

The physical distance between locations can cause some unique issues. Fortunately, much of the process will likely be similar to when you were buying your first home. Here are nine important steps to keep in mind.

Do the research

nenetus/Adobe Woman working consulting documents in the kitchen at home

You may not currently live near where you want to move, making it difficult to scope out the area. And this is an important part of the moving process since you want to be happy with your neighborhood when buying your second home.

Thank goodness for the internet and tools like Google Maps. It might not be quite the same as seeing a place in person, but you can research different cities, towns, and regions online. This can also give you an idea of what the neighborhood is like, including schools and stores.

Contact a relocation specialist

Antonioguillem/Adobe Businesswoman calling on phone and taking notes

If you’re worried about the logistics of moving between states, consider the services of a relocation specialist. Of course, each individual specialist has their own strengths, but you can expect most relocation specialists to offer a wide range of services.

This includes helping you through the process of selling your current home while buying a new home, or helping you find a trustworthy real estate agent. They can also help with packing, shipping items, scouting school districts, and finding service providers (doctors, accountants, etc.) in your new area.

Find a buyer’s agent

Stephen Coburn/Adobe Woman Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are typically one of the most helpful resources for buying or selling a home. They often have expert knowledge about the ins and outs of the buying or selling process and they can often connect you with other licensed professionals.

If you plan to buy a home in a different state, find a buyer’s agent who works in the area where you’re planning to buy. They will likely know the local rules and regulations and have connections with title companies, homeowners insurance providers, home inspectors, and more.

Get preapproved for a mortgage

Krakenimages.com/Adobe Couple sign mortgage loan contract

Getting preapproved for a mortgage doesn’t mean a lender is fully committed to offering you the amount of money you’ve been preapproved for. But it’s pretty close.

If you’ve already sold your home, having a mortgage preapproval in place can show sellers that you’re serious about buying a house. This can potentially speed up the buying process because you’ll be a step ahead of other buyers who haven’t gone through the preapproval process.

Check out our list of the best mortgage lenders.

Apply for financing

fizkes/Adobe Couple sign mortgage loan contract

In cases where you haven’t yet sold your existing home yet but need to buy a home out of state, consider different types of financing strategies to get the money you need for moving forward with your purchase. One such strategy is using a bridge loan. With this type of loan, a lender will offer you money that you pay back with interest, using your house as collateral.

Another option is a HELOC, or home equity line of credit. This line of credit is based on the existing equity in your current home. You get a certain amount of credit that you can typically use for whatever you want, such as purchasing a new home. As you pay off your balance, the credit is replenished, similar to a credit card.

Sell as-is or price to sell

MonkeyBusiness/Adobe senior couple selling home

If you need to move quickly, consider selling your home as-is or pricing the house competitively. Selling as-is means selling your home in its current condition, even if a home inspection reveals certain repairs are needed. If you don’t have time to make repairs or go through renovations, the as-is route could be much quicker.

In addition, pricing your home competitively, or pricing to sell, can make your property stand out from the crowd. Research the selling trends for homes in your area and adjust your price accordingly. Also, be quick to make changes, which could include price cuts, as the market fluctuates. An experienced real estate professional may be helpful for pricing your home competitively.

Ask for a flexible closing date

MonkeyBusiness/Adobe Woman Sealing Boxes Ready For House Move

The more flexibility you have when buying, selling, and moving between homes, the better. Timing is important in any transaction involving a house, but you can’t always account for when things happen, such as financing coming through.

And if you need more time for packing and moving from your existing home, it makes sense to ask for a flexible closing date on your new home. Don’t forget to consider the best days to buy or sell your home to help you make a more informed choice during this process.

Handle the closing process online

insta_photos/Adobe business man working on laptop at home office

Technology has helped make things easier and more convenient, including real estate transactions. If you can’t be there in person to close on your new home, no worries — you can do much of it online. In some cases, you could still need a physical signature or an appointment with a notary, but it’s helpful to complete the majority of paperwork done.

This can also save you time for getting yourself and your things ready for moving, especially if you’re still in the process of packing.

Find the right moving company

Gorodenkoff/Adobe Mover with Hand Truck full of Cardboard Boxes

If you’re moving across state borders, your local moving company probably won’t be able to move your things between houses. In this case, you need to research long-distance moving companies that specialize in large moves.

But before jumping on the first company you find, do your due diligence and research multiple long-distance moving companies. Read online reviews about each company and see what services they offer — including moving an automobile if that’s something you need. Be sure to get quotes from every company you vet to see which one would be the most cost-effective.

Bottom line

didesign/Adobe Young couple moving intp a new home with their children helping

Any type of move can be rough, but a long-distance move between states comes with its own set of issues. Fortunately, the above steps can help you focus on what you need to do if you plan to sell a home in one state and buy a different home in another state.

If you aren’t currently looking to sell your home, but are looking to earn some extra passive income with an out-of-state property, it can still be helpful to learn more about investing in real estate.

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Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.