How to Sell a House from Out of State: Long-Distance Guide

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Selling a house is rarely easy — but it helps if you’re physically nearby to coordinate repairs, approve paint colors, or pop by during your lunch break to check on things. People selling a home from out of state don’t have that luxury. However, they can get the job done in one of two ways.

A skilled real estate agent can provide an elevated level of service by guiding you through selling a house from out of state.

An agent serves as “the eyes and the boots on the ground for anything that might come up through the marketing and selling process,” says Geoffrey Adams, a top-selling agent in Phoenix, Arizona, specializing in relocations.

Another option is to work with a company that buys houses for cash in the area. While you will likely receive a lower offer than if you listed, you also eliminate the need for home preparations and repeated showings that can be difficult to arrange from afar.

Let’s examine the process of selling a house from out of state and your options.

What's Your Out-of-State Home Worth?

Sellers who live out of state are often less familiar with price trends where the property is located. As a starting point, get a near-instant real estate house price estimate from HomeLight for free. We’ll consider the records of recently sold homes in the area, your home’s last sale price, and other market trends to provide a preliminary range of value in under two minutes.

Why sell from out-of-state?

According to HireAHelper’s 2023–2024 Moving Migration Report, there were fewer moves in 2023 than at any point since the U.S. government started collecting this data in the 1940s. However, out-of-state moves surged to their highest level since the early 2000s, representing 18% of all moves. Americans’ reasons for crossing state lines vary, but some common threads exist. 

Work relocation

Top Florida real estate agent Dave Gaudreau says corporate relocation is one of the more common reasons for an out-of-state sale. According to the U.S. Census, 23% of movers relocated for a new job or job transfer in 2023 — half a million more than in the previous year.

For those employees who still need to be tied to one location, your employer may ask you to relocate, often without much notice. That’s especially common among members of the military, Gaudreau says. 


A foreclosed property is one that the lender has taken back due to the owner’s failure to make mortgage payments. If no other solution is reached, the property is sent to foreclosure auction. Real estate-owned properties (REOs) are bank-owned properties that have already gone through the foreclosure process and failed to sell at auction.

ATTOM, a leading property and real estate data provider, reported 95,349 homes with foreclosure filings in the first quarter of 2024, less than a 1% drop over the same period last year. REO properties in Q1 saw a significant year-over-year drop of 20%, with lenders repossessing just over 10,000 properties.


Sometimes, a property has to go through probate to be sold. Probate refers to the legal process through which the loved one’s will is reviewed, and a representative or executor is appointed to administer the will and distribute any assets — or, in some instances, to make arrangements and disbursements and distributions from the estate in the absence of a will.

Probate recognizes whether a will is valid and appoints an executor or personal representative to administer the estate and distribute assets, including real estate. You don’t have to live near the deceased to be named an executor or estate representative.

Investment property

Individual investors own roughly 70% of the rental housing market. An investor may want to divest their property completely or roll the profit into another investment. In this case, an owner may never have been to the home, or it’s been a while since they’ve seen it, Adams says.

“There’s less familiarity with the property and more of an opportunity for the real estate agent to step in and bring extra value to that relationship,” says Adams.

Not sure you want to list? Get a cash offer.

During what can be a months-long process, some sellers may find the process of listing and managing a property from a distance to be overwhelming. While you’re trying to crush it in a new job or make family dinners, you’re also responding to texts and phone calls from the stager or approving the details for a home that might as well be on another planet.

To reduce the typical headaches of selling a home long distance, consider requesting an offer from a house-buying company that purchases homes in the area.

Here’s how selling your house for cash typically works:

Step 1 — Decision: A homeowner, perhaps selling from out of state, decides not to list their home and seeks a way to sell it off-market.

Step 2 — Contact: A seller contacts a company that buys homes in their area and provides some basic information about their home (though some companies will contact sellers about buying their home).

Step 3  — Preliminary offer: At this stage, some house-buying companies will provide a preliminary offer subject to change after a house assessment.

Step 4  — Assessment: The company schedules a walkthrough of the property (sometimes virtually) to evaluate its condition, usually within 24 to 48 hours.

Step 5 — Firm offer: The company makes a firm offer (usually within 24 hours, sometimes on-site after the walkthrough) that you can accept or decline. Most of these companies will not negotiate on price, so the offer is a take-it-or-leave-it scenario.

Step 6 — Closing: If you accept the offer, you and the company will each sign the contract, and closing will begin. Some companies offer a large deposit, and a few may even pay for the home upfront.

Step 7 — Payment: The seller receives payment quickly, typically within seven days to a few weeks. This can vary by company, and sellers who work with a house-buying company often enjoy flexibility in selecting a move-out date that works for them.

Even with a cash offer, you’ll need to arrange for the house to be cleared out. That said, some companies will even help by letting sellers take what they want from the house and walk away from the rest.

Stressed About Selling Long Distance?

It’s a pain to sell a house. Being far away doesn’t make things any easier. In this situation, consider the fast, low-hassle way to sell a home. HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform provides all-cash offers for homes nationwide in almost any condition. Receive an all-cash offer within 24 hours, and close in as little as 10 days.

I’m out of state. Is it worth selling to a cash buyer?

While selling to a We Buy Houses company offers several conveniences, house-buying businesses typically pay less than market value for the homes they purchase, and sometimes significantly so.

These companies can also provide a quick and flexible closing, reduce or eliminate the need for repairs, and, in many cases, cover all of a seller’s closing costs. It’s all about weighing the trade-offs and determining what’s best for your situation.

If you’d like to explore this option further, consider HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform, which provides all-cash offers for homes in almost any condition nationwide. Sellers input details about their home and selling timeline on our website. There is no staging, repeated showings, or open houses.

Within 24 hours, you could have a no-obligation cash offer in your email inbox with the ability to close in as few as 10 days. By contrast, it takes approximately 75 days to sell a house the traditional way (33 days to go under contract and 42 days to close on a purchase loan) as of March 2024.

But my out-of-state property is in great condition!

Then a traditional listing may be a better fit — or you could consider working with an iBuyer. iBuyer companies offer many of the same conveniences as other house-buying operations, but they also leverage algorithmic technology, otherwise known as automated valuation models (or AVMs), to make a near-instant offer on your home. They provide a user-friendly, mostly online home sale experience and tend to look for better-quality homes in areas with homogenous housing stock. iBuyers offer much closer to market value, typically in the 90% range — and sometimes more, particularly in a hot real estate market.

What real estate agents do when a seller is out of state

Maybe you’re hesitant to accept a cash offer or are still on the fence. Perhaps your top priority is to maximize the value of the offer.

Let’s review another approach you could take when selling a house from out of state: hiring a top-rated real estate agent to coordinate the transaction and lighten your load.

If you have a real estate agent who knows how to sell a house with an out-of-state owner, you won’t need to worry about whether you should visit the property every step of the way.

Adams, a top Phoenix real estate agent, says he never discourages a seller who lives out of state from visiting a property to better understand its value and what it needs to sell. But such travel isn’t always feasible or necessary. A trusted local real estate agent can field these responsibilities:

1. Secure the property

The agent can hire a locksmith to rekey the property to ensure no one else has access.

“Sometimes the neighbor has a key from whoever lived there, or there are friends or relatives who have keys,” Adams says. The agent can also install two lockboxes, one for showings to track who enters and leaves and a coded one for contractors (or the homeowner, should they want to visit and not ask the agent for access).

2. Document the property’s condition

Even if the home isn’t ready to list yet, your agent can capture a detailed set of photos showing the home’s condition: street scenes, shots of the roof and landscaping, photos of major appliances such as the air conditioner, and multiple views of each room.

This way, you’ll know about anything that impacts the value or needs to be repaired immediately. If your home sale relates to a probate situation, the photos are also essential for a probate attorney’s report for the court.

3. Assist with hiring contractors

An agent has the local knowledge to take care of simple tasks such as turning on utilities in a vacant home and knowing professionals who can perform repairs and keep it in show-ready shape, such as a cleaning service and a pool cleaner.

You can defer to the agent’s advice when hiring someone or ask the agent to provide bids from multiple vendors so you can choose the one with whom you’re most comfortable.

4. Keep tabs on the property

A local agent can keep an eye on the home, providing peace of mind. Jennifer Murtland, a top-selling real estate agent in Cincinnati, Ohio, and her colleagues regularly check properties for sellers who live out of town. On one such occasion, she found that a water heater had burst earlier in the day. “I was able to clean it up and turn it off, but if I hadn’t gone, mold would have been everywhere,” she says.

5. Price the property, respecting your budget and time frame

Adams says he’ll give out-of-state owners two different valuation ranges, one for an as-is sale and another with any renovations to make the home competitive with the local market. He’ll also offer an estimated cost of the upgrades.

“If they’re in no hurry, I always like to price high and then reduce it over time,” he adds. “I never want to be in a situation where we have an offer the first day, and everyone’s wondering, ‘Oh, gosh, did we not price high enough?’” Plus, each reduction keeps the property at the top of the multiple listing service (MLS). “It stays top of the list, top of mind, and we immediately see traffic at those listings … because of the way the MLS works.”

Selling Long Distance Is Hard

Although selling a house long-distance might be unusual for you, a seasoned real estate agent likely has done this before and can prove to be an invaluable resource.

Connect with a top agent through HomeLight whenever you’re ready to sell. We analyze over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you. Our service is 100% free.

6. Manage marketing

In addition to the MLS, your local agent will coordinate showings and marketing efforts. These might involve social media, online advertising, and open houses. If you’d like to answer questions during an open house but cannot travel, your agent might arrange a “virtual open house” or a live-streamed guided tour. These can be conducted on almost any social media platform and later posted on YouTube.

7. Set up a 3D or virtual tour

According to the National Association of Realtors®, 52% of buyers found the home they purchased online. And to make your home stick out today you need more than just a good listing and great photos. Your agent should be able to set up a 3D or virtual tour that opens up your property to a larger market.

It may also help your property sell faster, especially if a buyer can’t attend an in-person showing. According to the NAR, 9 out of 10 buyers aged 58 and under believe photos are the most useful website feature in the home search process. After all, just like you’re selling from out of state, some buyers may be buying from out of state.

8. Apprise you of property taxes

Real estate property taxes vary from state to state in amount and when you pay them. If the taxes where you live are $3,000, you might be shocked to learn the taxes on the house you’ve sold out of state are, say, $12,000, with payment due at the closing table. Your agent can break down in advance what the sales taxes will be and when you’ll have to pay them. (It’s also wise to consult with an accountant).

9. Keep your timeline intact

Several issues could derail or delay your timeline in any real estate sale. Your agent can be your best advocate, ensuring that whatever repairs you get done don’t fall behind and that your sale progresses on time. Being so far away from your property likely means you’ll have less flexibility than being there in person, but your agent can make up for that.

10. Close the deal

Depending on your preference and where you live, your agent can coordinate with you on how best to sign the closing documents. Some title companies can act as a notary and email documents for you to sign. You can have them notarized at your end and returned to them electronically or via overnight delivery. Companies such as Notarize can provide notarization online, working with a notary via webcam.

Your agent can also coordinate a remote closing if your state permits it. All signatures can be completed electronically, through DocuSign or a web portal, and you can attend the closing via phone or webcam if needed.

Other tips for selling your house from out-of-state

Let’s look at additional things to keep in mind as you complete your transaction.

Look into remote notarization

Historically, one of the biggest obstacles to selling a house from out of state has been that certain documents must be notarized in person as part of the sale.

Notarization prevents fraud and formally certifies a document’s authenticity. Sellers may be asked to sign the affidavit of title and other documentation in the presence of witnesses and a notary. A remote notarization may be possible, depending on where you live. Remote Online Notarization (RON) rose to prominence during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and has managed to stick around.

While the process will vary state by state and software by software, sellers can expect to see some or all of the following protocols come up during the remote notarization process:

  • You’ll meet via webcam.
  • You may need to use a specific remote notarization platform.
  • You’ll be asked to provide key identifying information about yourself.
  • You’ll need to send in physical documents or upload them digitally.

The National Notary Association (NNA) is tracking frequent changes to remote notarization legalization across state lines. You can see where your state currently stands by viewing NNA’s map. Sellers should also consult with their agents to see if remote online notarization is an option in their market.

Gather a strong team

Your real estate agent will be your best friend during your transaction. But to make sure your sale goes off without a hitch, it’s helpful to assemble a team of professionals, including:

  • A handyperson: You may not be doing any major renovations, but having someone to change out light fixtures, patch up holes in the wall, or fix a broken door handle can be a lifesaver and give buyers a strong first impression that the home is well-maintained.
  • Landscaper: Buyers will pay an average of 7% more for a house with great curb appeal than one with a neglected exterior. Hire someone to mow the lawn, pull weeds, and apply fertilizer to give buyers the green carpet upon entering.
  • Home inspector: This is optional, but a home inspector can complete a pre-sale inspection to identify any issues ahead of time, giving you time to address needed repairs without the pressure of already being under contract.
  • Real estate attorney: Some states require a real estate attorney to be involved in the transaction, and some sellers opt to hire one regardless to check paperwork and handle any legal issues.
  • Accountant: It’s helpful to keep your tax advisor informed of your plans to sell in case any tax events are triggered.

Ask your real estate agent for reputable contacts if you’re unsure who to hire for these roles.

Disclose what’s required for the location where the property is located

Every state has its rules about what sellers must disclose as part of the sale to buyers. Generally, a seller must share any known issues with the home that could impact its safety, livable condition, or resale value.

Examples include a past flooding event, storm damage, or a house fire. However, if you’ve never lived in the home and are unfamiliar with it, the expectation for disclosures will likely differ.

Consult with your real estate agent and, if necessary, a licensed attorney to ensure you’ve filled out the correct forms and made necessary disclosures to the best of your ability.

How to find a real estate agent who can help

When selling a house from out of state, working with a real estate agent who’s suitable for the job is vital. HomeLight makes it easy to connect with top real estate agents in your area with the right expertise. We analyze over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews and send around two to three matches to your email.

Once you receive your agent recommendations, you can interview your real estate agent matches to determine who you want to hire. When selling out of state, you might inquire:

  • Have you ever worked with out-of-state sellers?
  • What’s your experience with selling REO property? Probate property? Investment property?
  • What value or services can you bring to help me stay abreast of what’s happening at the property from afar?
  • What tools do you use to communicate with out-of-town sellers?
  • What steps do you take to attract an offer as quickly as possible?

Although selling a house long-distance might be unusual for you, a seasoned real estate agent likely has done this before and can be a valuable resource.

“There’s a bit more of a challenge when you’re calling from out of state and trying to identify someone who has these skills,” Adams says, but the confidence you’ll have after choosing the right agent is well worth the research.

Garrett Callahan contributed to this article.

Header Image Source: (Jesse Roberts / Unsplash)