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Questions about remote closing

Hi, I'm in the process of purchasing a short sale property in Gilbert, AZ. I'm from the NE. What is the process of closing the property remotely?
I'm having a management company manage the property for me and get it leased out. The title company is a national company which lets me close in PA. Do I need to take several trips to AZ for the final walk-thru, closing and 'til getting the key to the house, or can I entrust my agent and management company to take care of this process from beginning to end? The house needs some cosmetic fixups, like painting, and getting the carpet powerwashed/replaced, what is the most important event that I need to be present in person, the final walk-thru? meeting w/ the management company on how I want the house completed? or for the closing? or just entrust my agent and management company from start to finish? Thanks!
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January 20 2011 - Gilbert
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Answers (10)

It's no problem to close remotely. My investors do it all the time.

If you can't be here for the inspection or final walkthrough, and know your agents skills well enough to trust him/her then you can entrust them to do the final walkthrough for you. However, you will need to sign a form holding the agent harmless for going that extra mile for you.
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September 10 2011
I have had several clients close remotely, and not a problem.  You actually want to pick up the phone and speak with the Title Company.  They can do either a remote courtsey close or simply FED EX you the docs, have had several clients do this over the years.  You may want to hold off just yet as it can take up to 6 months to hear back on a short sale.  Best of luck, sure you are looking forward to spending some time here in Arizona Vs the cold.

Spirit Messingham
Tierra Antigua Realty
Tucson, AZ
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February 02 2011
Hi, SnowDesert,

Closing is certainly a process you can do from a remote location. As a buyers agent, I've represented remote investor buyers who bought properties sight unseen in the past. However, I knew their style well from representing them in the past so I knew what their tastes were, and he knew me well enough from past experience to know I am honest and working in their best interest. I've also handled extensive renovations for an investor client (through my company's PM division) but again, the client knew my taste and knowledge through past experience.

That said, I see you've posted a lot of questions here that you should be asking your buyers agent. If you don't know or trust them enough to be knowledgeable or honest enough to answer these questions, you probably should not be having them represent you on a property you are buying sight unseen. I would strongly recommend that you be there personally for the final walk through before closing. Your agent should not be held accountable for anything that is missed in the walk through. Make sure you get a home inspection with photos during the inspection period if you can not be there in person, and make sure your buyers agent is there for the home inspector's report so they can further explain things to you. Better yet to be there for the inspection yourself. It is also beneficial to have your (experienced) agent with you or to at least go over the papers you are signing to make sure they are accurate and in your best interests. Title companies are not immune from mistakes.

Same goes for property management company. If they say they are going to fix up the property for you, you'd better be at least familiar with their past work. Most PM companies will do minor repairs such as carpet and paint, but will not do extensive rehab. Ask the PM company for referrals if you have not worked with them in the past. You can do a lot of this research remotely.

Hope this helps, and good luck!
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February 02 2011
Dear Snow:

If you have not seen the property you must trust your Realtor's recommendation. You can have a home inspector for a second set of eyes. The Management Company can help you too. More risk for you if you don't view for yourself.

If this is your first purchase, I would get their opinions but fly out and view for yourself. If you are in "sync" with their opinions may make you feel more comfortable for a signt unseen purchase in the future. using their recomendations.

If you don't "Know"

You must "Go"

Jeff Masich
Arizona Homes and Land
HomeSmart
Scottsdale

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January 20 2011
All your questions need to be answered by the Title company and your buyer agent.  If you are really fuzzy about how you want things, you can either fly to inspect the new home prior to closing, or ask for a video of the things that need to be fixed , so you can view it prior to closing.  The other thing you can do is to have $$$ put in escrow until you are able to see the property.  By the way.....any of these options should be written in the offer, since the sale should be subject to the completion of the estipulated work, but then.....you are buying a short sale, and I am sure your buyer agent already explained to you, that short sales are quite different.  Good luck!
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January 20 2011
Good question, you need to speak with the Title company, and they should be able to Fed Ex, fax, and email you everything you need.  I have successfully helped several buyers from out of state close on properties.   Makes it a lot easier when they are here, but dont have to be.  Since you are trying to purchase a short sale, you honestly have about 6 months cause it can take that long to just hear back from the bank.

Your Realtor should be answer these questions for you, if you dont have one, get one.  Yes, you should be here for final walk thru, but if you are not here, you can sign off on it or have a friend or family member do it for you.  Work with a good Realtor and they can help you through the entire process, in short, you don't HAVE to be present for a successful transaction.
Best of luck.
Spirit Messingham
Tierra Antigua Realty
Tucson, AZ
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January 20 2011

I am unclear as if you plan to eventually move in to this house or not. 

It sounds like you have done the right thing in hiring professionals to help you with this sale.  Most of the sale will move through just fine with you not being there personally.  Make sure your management company is sending you pictures and details on the condition of the house and what needs to be repaired. Make sure that you hire a licensed inspector to inspect the property and make sure that you pay attention to the things they tell you.  But, you really should be there for the final walk-through.  As a Realtor, I will not take on the responsibility of a final walk through for my clients.  It is an important stage in the transaction where this may be your final say.  Good luck to you.  Let me know if you need further assistance.

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January 20 2011
Your agent will generally not take the responsibilty of doing your final walk through, inspections or overseeing repairs to the home. If something is not to you liking they don't want the burden of that responsibility. I feel the inspection is probably one of the most important aspect of the process to be present for. We have many excellent inspectors here in AZ that perform very thorough inspections and provide the buyer with very comprehensive and detailed reports and I have many clients that aren't present for the inspection, but nothing matches being there in person to understand what you are buying. At the same time, you can meet with your management company to inquire what their duties will be and interview contractors who can do your work in your absence after close of escrow. Many inspectors will go back and re-check needed repairs you ask the seller to do per the inspection report but they are not generally going to oversee the painting and cosmetic aspect of your home repairs. Any cosmetic repairs, carpet laying, painting etc won't be able to be performed prior to close of escrow anyway. You will have to close before you can do those things. As for closing, many clients I have are not present. The title companies are very good about either sending you documents to sign or having a courtesy closing wherever you are. They will send a closer to your home or set up a closing at another office location near you. There are usually extra fees involved if you do that, but it's sometimes worth the added convenience.
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January 20 2011
I believe you asking some great questions in this post. Do you need to be here personally for your transaction? I guess that depends how much you trust the people involved in this transactions. How many transactions have they performed with remote buyers as yourself? Who is the contractor performing the work? Will you be obtaining additional quotes to ensure you are getting the best price for the work? I deal with remote buyers on a continuous basis. Some of them come in for the final walk around and some do not bother because they are seasoned investors. Who is the property management company? How much are they charging you and what are their services?

WHAT IS YOUR GUT TELLING YOU? FOLLOW THAT VOICE

Best of luck to you-
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January 20 2011
It all depands how well uou know your agent, have you done any transections in the past. For the first time I would make a trip and see the hosue personally specially if it need some work and meet the agent personally. You don't have to stay till closing. But don't forget to get the inspection done by a lic. and insured home inspector.
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January 20 2011
 
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