As a first-time home buyer, moving to a new place can be scary because of many factors you should consider, which you may or may not know about. Want to know if you can move to a new state, start a new job, and still qualify for a home loan? Our guests did it, and you might be able to as well! Listen to this interview with Tatiana and Donovan and hear all the tips, tricks, and hacks that helped them move to a new state, start a new life, and don’t have to RENT in their new home! Tune in to this episode now to hear how they do that!
Interview With Real 1st Time Buyers – How They Relocated States, Transferred Jobs, And NEVER Rented In The New City
Real Interview With First-Time Home Buyers Moving To Another State
Moving to a new city can be an adventure and it can be scary. For many people, the idea of buying in a city before you even get there can be downright petrifying. How do you buy a home in a new city or a new state if you don’t even know if you qualify for a loan because maybe you’re getting a new job? Not to mention you have to decide where you want to leave in a new town that you are not familiar with. You’re about to hear a real-life story from Tatiana and Donovan. They navigated those hurdles along with all of the other so-called obstacles that so many first-time buyers seem to face. Let’s hear their story.
This is very exciting because I’ve got Tatiana and Donovan who I had been talking to for quite some time. Luca was there too, their beautiful little puppy. They’re in Atlanta in their new house. How are you folks doing?
We’re doing great. Very excited to chat with you and share our little tips and journey.
We’re doing great. Very blessed.
That’s so wonderful to hear. People get so excited to hear actual stories of what happened. Tell us from the beginning. This is a big cross-country move for you. When did you start thinking about this and making this whole decision?
My wife wanted to move back to Georgia for her career, which was a good thing. It ended up working out well so I started applying for jobs and finally got one around Thanksgiving of 2021, I believe. At that point, we found an agent and started looking for houses. It was pretty depressing because there was very little available. What was available wasn’t very good. It was very frequent that we would drive to Atlanta to look at 1 or 2 houses from Louisiana because that’s all that was available that we liked.
There were 5 or 6 weeks that on the weekend, after work, we would drive up and look at two houses, typically put an offer in and then go back home. As time got closer to our move date, we got more aggressive on the offers because we knew we were running out of time. Luckily, we found the house that we’re in and made a very aggressive offer. Luckily, it was accepted. At the same time, we made an aggressive offer on a townhome and we were extremely blown away. We didn’t get that during that same weekend.
Needless to say, we moved from Louisiana to Georgia. That was a very big step. Driving to Atlanta and Georgia is already very tiring and exhausting but moving your life from one state to another was crazy, especially wild trying to buy a house.
There are so many interesting things there that people want to understand and figure out to do for themselves. Donovan, did you get a job in the same industry? That’s a question a lot of people ask me about. “If I move out of state and get a new job, can I still get a mortgage?” Did you have problems getting a mortgage or did it work out because it was the same type of work?
Since it was the same type of work and pretty much the same title, they both had an engineer in it, which is what the financial institution wanted to see. They were able to use my previous income. Even though I did take a small pay cut, it was still enough for us to be financially approved. On top of the money that my wife and I had saved up for the down payment was enough.
Following your show was one of the biggest points for us. I was like, “We need to make sure we have at least two years of experience in the same industry because that’s what banks like to see.” They like to see stability and you’re in there for a longer run than just a month, buy a house and quit the job kind of thing. We were blessed with stability. He got the same opportunity here.
I don’t want to get too personal but people are curious about this stuff. You moved, Tatiana, for your career. A lot of people will ask me this when they’re buying with a partner. Did you use both incomes to qualify or one?
It was just mine because she works for herself.
I’m in the acting industry. What I had is savings. I had pretty much everything to cover up the down payment and all that stuff. I have a degree in Interior Design. I used to work in that industry for almost two years. When we moved from Atlanta to Louisiana, I quit my job because his career took over. I decided I did not want to pursue that career move in Louisiana.
I started to be acting when COVID happened. That was interesting. Unfortunately, banks don’t recognize that as a stable income. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. Unless you were up there and you can buy it in cash, that’s okay but when you’re on your journey, they will want to see 9:00 to 5:00 job and that’s where Don came in, which was very good.
That’s a great tip and that’s the reason why I asked. Thank you for being transparent in sharing that. That’s important. A lot of people will think, “We can’t do it.” It’s a change in careers for one of the partners, whether someone’s taking a maternity break or a paternity break. I always tell them, “Make sure that you could support many different ways. You can bring your savings and other things.” Don’t be afraid.
I got a lower credit score because my credit score surprisingly was higher but he was pretty high too. I was like, “Here we go. I can do this.”
It’s great because if one partner’s in the position to say, “We can make this move with one of ours,” then you can make the move and purchase the home. As life goes on and you get more comfortable, then you have so many more options later on. That’s one of the things I see people do. They say, “We’re going to get married and settle down. We’re both going to get our career going for 3 or 4 years then we’re going to buy a house.”
In the meantime, you’ve burned all that rent for all that time. Do you have any other tips for going someplace like what you did out of state? A lot of people ask me about that. You gave us some of the difficult parts of doing the driving. Was there anything you found that was helpful trying to buy from not in the same city that you’re in?
I spent a lot of time on the crime map, being that we had to choose what we wanted to look at before going and speaking with our agent saying, “We want to look at this.” If I lived in a local area, I’d want to go drive by it and see what the area looks like. Google Maps is a blatant one. We’re looking at the house itself on Google Maps, as well as the neighborhood or the surrounding area to get a general idea and then the crime map.
In Atlanta, I found this one online but I couldn’t even tell you the name of it. It had color code on top of the map. We had pretty much agreed together if it had to meet at least this criteria or crime rate for us to even consider that area. Those were the two big ones for us before we would decide on which house we wanted to go look at and the house listing itself.
It was challenging not to get into your car and drive by as soon as you see a beautiful house or something pops up. The very first time we came here, that was because of the listing that we both liked. We were blown away. It was like the Cayman market. We were like, “This is it. This is a beautiful house. This can be our house with beautiful neighborhood and everything.” We drove that weekend to see that house. We saw a couple of other options because we’re in town. When we put in our first offer, we were super careful. We were like, “I’m going to be very easy. Let’s see how it goes.”
We were amongst 30 other people who put in an offer. We lost. We’re so heartbroken. We were like, “How could they? We had such a good staple offer.” When the time would go on, we would find other listings like that but then we would also have the walls put up where we like the house but we have to drive there. Most likely, we’ll lose the offer and be heartbroken again. That was difficult but I’m thankful that our agents were very flexible with us. Sometimes they would even offer to go and look at the house without us being there and FaceTime us or whatever we needed to make a decision.
That’s probably the biggest piece that I try to explain to people. The market’s changing a little bit. It’s not going to be that bad but it’s still not going to be just you looking at a house when it’s been on the market for three weeks.
It was so crazy seeing other people, stepping into the house that we like. “Stop looking here. This is ours.” Sometimes when I would walk around the house, I’m like, “I don’t like this color. Bad color. Not good.” I was trying to like alert everybody around me like, “You should leave.”
My clients and I will have little facial recognition like a little eyebrow raise. As soon as they give me the heads up like, “We like this one,” I start pointing out stuff that isn’t bad but I’ll be like, “That’s terrible right there. Do you see that huge water stain? That’s probably mold. We should probably put our mask on and leave.”
I love the crime tip, Donovan. That’s a great tip and smart. The funny thing is as realtors, we’re not allowed to tell you what is and what isn’t for a liability state. I always have to say, “Hypothetically, I would go to this Sheriff’s website if I were you.” Where I am in Southern California, they have that color coding too. A lot of my folks talk to each other about it. I have people that will go old-school and buy an old gas station map. You have to go online to find them.
They’ll take their red, yellow and green pencils and then say, “That was yellow but we’re from the hood. We can hang with that. That’s okay.” They will color it green. They use their map next to the online map. That way, you can keep it going but that’s important. I talked about this on another show and somebody sent me a link. There’s a funny version of that called hood maps. They tell you where the hipsters live and these are all college kids and frat parties. It’s an interesting thing but getting to know the Google street view, the Google Maps, finding out on the satellite view which neighbors tend to sunbathe naked and all that stuff. It’s important to know.
Sometimes, we would drive through the neighborhood. If we would like the house and I don’t know if it’s legal or not but we would try to talk to neighbors and people who are working outside. We met a very lovely elderly couple in the neighborhood in the very first house. They were so sweet. They’ve been living there for many years.
They were such a sweetheart and it felt like that would be a good neighborhood after talking to them. We always try to talk to neighbors and see what’s going on around our house because you always want to feel welcomed. Not only because your house is beautiful but you don’t want your house to be the most beautiful or the best on the block and everything else is scary. You want to have a community here too.
This is great for people who are thinking about moving, especially with prices going up and people having to get someplace maybe a little cheaper and someplace don’t know. Was there anything else about the process, any tips or tricks? Anything that surprised you or anything that you felt like, “I’m glad we did this because this made it easier?”
We’re pretty good financially. We know what we spend. We know how much we’re comfortable spending. We already had that amount in mind. It’s like, “We’re okay with this much monthly payment.” We took that to the lender. We worked with more than that but two of them were the ones that we got pre-approved by and we’re working with on an every-week basis.
We knew what we were pre-approved for and it was more than we knew we were going to spend. That was good. We knew whenever we wanted to put an offer in, we could put in as much as we wanted. We were going to reach our comfortable limit of monthly spending before we would worry about not being approved. I’m not saying you have to be in that position but it was a good position to be in. We used it when we were putting offers in.
That’s pretty important to have before you start looking because every time you start looking at houses, you’re going to see something you like. It’s going to be expensive and you’re going to know in the back of your mind that you probably shouldn’t spend this much on a house. We never looked at those because we knew this is our limit and where we were going to stop. We never put ourselves in that position.
We relied on our agents because they have a bunch of experience like Noel. In the house that we live in, we relied on Brad a lot. When we were doing our walkthrough, we said, “Is it okay to put no contingency on this house with our offer?” We knew that’s what it was going to take to win. We looked at a lot of things that you might not typically look at. We went up to the attic and looked around. We looked at how old the AC units are.
We took pictures of all of those and make sure that we were not going to end up spending so much money replacing all of them.
Like the water heater. The roof was new. This house was a very safe house to put a no contingency offer on. Whereas some of the other houses we looked at, the roof is fifteen years old. The AC units are twenty years old. Based on our budget, I knew that if we spent the most we could and then got hit with a $25,000 maintenance item, two months after we moved in, we were going to be in a bad situation. Taking those two accounts allows you to put a more aggressive offer and make your offer a lot more appealing.
Plus, what’s great about our agents is they are a married couple. They’re like a power team. While Brad was showing us inside the house, he was pointing out some things. Noel would be at home and research the neighborhood or what’s the most expensive house on the block, financial stuff and things that you don’t see when you get in the house.
That was very nice to get back in the car and see emails from Noel, see the school districts and what’s the highest offer or what else is out there in this neighborhood. That would also be very helpful for us to decide if we want to put an offer on it or what offer we want to put in. There’s another thing we used, which helped us a lot. Don’s company paid for relocation and all of the costs, which was amazing.
We covered our agent’s commission of 3%, which added to the home value but since my company was paying for it, it didn’t cost us any money. That allowed us to jack up our offer by roughly 20%.
We played that ace card in the end because this is like, “Hopefully, that’s what’s going to win the offer.” That’s probably what did it, I hope.
My realtor’s ears perked up so much because the relocation thing is amazing. I want all the readers to know if your company says, “We’re going to pay for it.” Know this, this amazing team that they got with Brad and Noel was a unicorn team. A lot of times the relocation people were going to tell you, “You have to use these relocation agents.” They’re often not the best. You can ask and say, “Can I use my agents?” A lot of times the companies are like, “Fine.” What’s so amazing about what they did was by paying the agent, you weren’t paying it out of your pocket. The seller was. Your company gave the seller an extra 3% on the purchase price, which nets them 3% more than everybody else. That’s huge.
I love what you said about that unicorn team. They are one of my favorites there. I’ve been sending a whole bunch of readers out there to Atlanta, to Brad and Noel because that’s the difference that you get when you have an experienced team. It’s the opposite. If you go and get one rookie agent by themselves, they’re giving you their information. Their information is only 10% of a 1 experienced stage and you folks got to working together giving you that service like you were selling a million-dollar home in Atlanta but you’re getting it as a first-time home buyer.
That’s the whole purpose of me connecting and finding people like you so you can find people like them. I’m so glad that they did such an amazing job because it was stressful at the time. If I replayed this years ago to people who bought houses in the 2000s and the 2010s, they would be like, it sounds insane. Thirty offers, getting in your car and having a drive there sounds crazy but what you folks did is so incredible. I’m so happy for you.
Thank you so much for recommending Noel and Brad to us. After reading about your show, I was scared in a way because we are first-time home buyers. We were entering this market not at the best time. The mortgage rate was still low but it was a seller’s market. At the same time, we didn’t know much about it. We had our ducks in a row surprisingly already but we did not know how to approach it and where to start. We were like, “We’ll google an agent and go with somebody.” Don was like, “I’m going to text Devin and see if maybe he will recommend something.” Your show taught me so much.
It was great. We read to so many of them.
Every time we would drive, we would read. I would write down things in my notepad like, “This is what to look for.” It was helpful.
I appreciate that. I’ve become the official Millennial road trip show. I get more readers around Thanksgiving when people are driving to go see their parents. It’s very funny.
That’s what we were doing. It was a seven-hour drive from Atlanta back to Louisiana. I was on episode after episode. That was it.
Tatiana and I have become social media buddies. That’s how we hook up. We’re always talking and checking each other out. It’s very exciting. I’m so happy for you. These are amazing tips. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of other people that are going to go back and read to this. We’ve covered employment, understanding how to work with your unicorn team and lender as well as the big one. Many people are like, “What do I do when I’m searching out of town?” This is helpful. Thank you so much and enjoy your lovely home. Where’s Luca? Luca was quiet the whole show.
He fell asleep.
You folks reading the show, you’re going to have to check this episode out on YouTube. Luca is super cute.
He’s wanting to make sure he is involved somehow.
We all know whose house it is.
Funny thing you mentioned that. We were looking for a house with a yard for him. He doesn’t care much about it. He’s such a house dog.
He won’t poop in our backyard. He goes to the neighbors.
He’s more interested in that yard?
He doesn’t want to poop in his yard.
He’s a very clean dog. He wants to make sure his area stays clean. He would sneak out to our neighbor’s yard and they have big dogs. They love to have him around but he will put there a little bit, play with the dogs and come back. I’m like, “Not again.”
It’s hard to make sure that you figure it out. We did the same thing too. We were so excited to have the place for the dogs and the dogs are like, “What are you doing? The couch is my domain. This is where I hang.”
He’s would jump on the outdoor furniture and lay there a little bit.
Thank you so much. I appreciate it. I’m sure that the readers appreciate it too. Congratulations. I’ll be checking in so you can give us tips on what to do in your 1st and 2nd year living in a home.
Thank you so much.
We appreciate you. Keep it up.
Keep up the good work for all the new home buyers.
Stories like this keep me going. I love it. Thank you.
There it is. I hope you were paying attention to that one. There are some serious super wisdom nuggets in that interview. I love these interviews because you get to hear the real deal on how to get this done. It’s not a sales pitch here. This is education for you, real tips and real advice. There were some great ones in that one so let’s go over some of the highlights so you can remember this when you get ready to start your planning.
First and foremost, if you have a plan you can find a home in another state with the right unicorn team helping you out. You don’t have to do this all on your own. Sometimes you might have to do fun stuff like a road trip but you’ve got a podcast to listen to while you’re driving. Sometimes people want a fresh start and move to a new place so there were some great tips in there on how to qualify for a home loan when you want to pick up and move someplace new. Be sure to check out your options for what you qualify for.
You never know what you can do until you figure it out and start your planning. They gave great advice there. If one of you looks like a normal 9:00 to 5:00 or on paper, then the banks are going to be much more willing to give you a home loan and you don’t have to waste that rent in the new city even if one of you is starting a whole new gig. Remember, ignorance is not a dirty word. It means you don’t know everything. Don’t let that ignorance and fear hold you back from making a big leap in your life. Go for it.
They also get some great tips on researching. I loved when they were talking about using crime maps and websites to help you get familiar with the area. You could do that by using the color coding of the map overlays on those websites or maybe even making a colored map of your own. I love that they also said not to judge a home by its pictures. It’s the real estate version of don’t judge a book by its cover.
Very important for you to know, do your research, understand and know the neighborhoods and everything about where that home is with all the pretty pictures that blow you away. Make sure it’s not smack dab in the middle of the hood. In a competitive market, the more research you do on your own, the less likely you’re going to get fooled by those photos. They gave some great tips on how to get your offer accepted where there’s a ton of competition.
Tatiana was pretty funny there. She was partial to trashing the home in front of other would-be buyers to scare them off. A little reminder, be careful. You never know who’s listening. Those nanny cams and ring cams are everywhere. If you do that, know the seller might’ve heard you too. They also liked the idea of having some room by not always shopping at the very top of your price range or your comfort level. It’s great advice.
It seems simple but as you start shopping, you’re going to find yourself going up and up but if you keep yourself calm, in control and a little bit under, that means you’re going to be able to move up if you need to beat the competition and land your dream home. They were talking about it and dancing around it but Donovan was getting into something great. Discipline in your price point to leave the room is the best way to be impulsive.
That’s crazy. Discipline means you can be impulsive but that’s the way it works. It gives you the opportunity to then jump on something if you’re into it. This is such a better strategy than shopping at your max all the time and hoping that the seller gets desperate and comes down to you. It is all about control. Find ways to have more control. What that’ll do is it’ll create options for you as a buyer. Talk to your unicorn team and find out what you can do for more control, both financially as well as what terms can you offer on that contract.
The more options you have then the more you can become the most attractive person to the seller. After all, the seller’s going to sell to the buyer that’s the most attractive to them. Remember, it’s not always what you think is the most attractive. It’s what the seller thinks. If you’re fortunate enough to be in a position where your company is going to be giving you a relocation package, make sure you understand all the ins and outs of that relocation package. Far too often, I’ve seen people end up getting so overwhelmed with the idea of relocating that they take that relocation package as a security blanket.
I understand that it’s a big damn deal to move someplace new but what they’ll do is they’ll go, “I’ve got that relocation package for a year. I’m going to back burner the idea of buying because I’ve got way too much on my plate.” That’s where a quality unicorn team in your area is so important. They emphasize that by working with their unicorns. Will and Brad, it was always was a full team they had working for them.
They got referred to a lender who gave them super rad options then the unicorns did all the work for them. Not only showing them homes but also helping them with the area research with school information, neighbor details and the consistent market analysis watching what was happening. Not week to week but seriously, day to day.
The great thing about a quality unicorn team backing you up is even from another state, you’ve got people doing the work for you. Not just somebody sending you a picture and saying, “What do you think? Do you like it?” No one says this is going to be super easy. Did this put a little extra pressure on them with the move? It did. They’re trying to figure out how to buy a house while moving from one state to another.
What the unicorn team helped them do was use that relocation money to make a better offer. That way, they could end up getting home and save an entire year’s rent instead of sitting in the city trying to figure out where they want to live. Not to mention saving the equity that they got because they bought now and the market’s going to keep going up for the next year. Was that a little bit of extra work? Sure, it was but let’s do the math on that.
Let’s take that year’s rent. It got to be at least $25,000. They get to keep that $25,000 and put it to work for them. They’re going to gain 3% to 5% appreciation in the home over the next 12 months. Considering they about a home at about $470,000. That’s another $20,000 they got by putting in a little extra work. Can it be scary to move someplace new? Yes. The best things in life are scary and risky but they also have the biggest rewards.
Would it have been easier to move there, rent and then buy a year later? Yes, but it would have cost them at least $45,000 right off the top. That doesn’t even take into account the price increases and the interest rate increases that are going to be happening over the next twelve months. I guarantee you that by finding that unicorn team to help them make this move to a new state by buying a home right at the beginning of the move instead of renting for a month and then buying.
Tatianna and Donovan are probably going to end up saving over $100,000 when all is said and done, with the rent they didn’t have to pay, the equity they gained in the property, plus, what would have happened to prices and interest rates if they waited to buy a year from when they moved. The bottom line is I’ve been spewing this information for you for several years. To help you out, I’ve even put a ton of these interviews on the show so you can hear real people telling their stories.
Tatiana and Donovan are great examples of what can be done. Get your education for yourself and your plan. You can find it all at HowToBuyAHome.com. It’s there for you. It’s to help you get empowered and get knowledgeable so you feel comfortable and strong. Start a plan now so you can tell everyone your story someday. Maybe you could even be on the show.
If you know other people who need to know this message, share it with them. Text this show to someone you know. It’s very simple. Click the little arrow thing and share it out there. It would mean the world to me because helping others to find out what’s possible for them, that’s the mission behind the show and we’re growing every day. Share it.
Matchmaking would-be first-time home buyers with super awesome unicorn teams is what I do. It’s my jam. I love hearing these success stories but so much stuff is happening behind the scenes to make these stories happen. You got to go to HowToBuyAHome.com if you want to find someone in your area and start your plan. The success story didn’t happen overnight. If you’ve got anyone else out there who also is looking for some plan to get started, share it with them because everybody needs the top-level service that you first-time buyers deserve.
You can check out the How to Buy a Home podcast on YouTube. Find it there. There are lots of great videos and information. Also, find me on TikTok @HowToBuyAHome and @DavidSidoni on Instagram because some idiot took How to Buy a Home and won’t give it to me. Let’s do it. Keep reading. There are hundreds of episodes out there. Kill your fears, crush your confusion and lean into the fact that you know that just like they did, you can get some bad-ass pros in the area that you want to move to, whatever town that is and give you the service that you deserve to make sure that this scary venture of buying a new home is another part of your adventure in your Bohemian life. The bottom line is it’s time to stop being fearful and start being confident. With the right plan and team, you can do this.
This podcast was started for YOU, to demystify things for first time home buyers, and help crush the confusion. After helping first timers for over 13 years, I knew there wasn’t t a lot of clear, tangible, useable information out there on the internet, so I started this podcast. Help me spread the word to other people just like you, dying for answers. Tell your friends, family, and perhaps that random neighbor you REALLY want to move out about How to Buy a Home! A really easy way is to hit the share button and text it to your friends. Go for it, help someone out. And if you’re not already a regular listener, subscribe and get constant updates on the market. If you are a regular and learned something, help me help others – give the show a quick review in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, or write a review on Spotify. Let’s change the way the real estate industry treats you first time buyers, one buyer at a time, starting with you – and make sure your favorite people don’t get screwed by going into this HUGE step blind and confused. Viva la Unicorn Revolution!