Welcome home (soon)! Durenda is right on track, With today's technology there's no reason you can't "virtually" search for homes, and with the help of your family back here on this side of the pond, you should have no problems. Start looking for a qualified agent in the areas you want to research. Because you're in a different country and different time zone, I would personally start by sending e-mails to potential agents and see what the response times are. The ones who respond fastest are most likely (1) good at customer service and (2) very comfortable with e-mail. You will want someone who is also very comfortable with newer technologies like video tours, instant messaging, etc...check out the individual agent websites (not the company websites). The right agent for you is ideally from the areas you want to consider and very technology-savvy. There's no reason your agent can tour the homes with your family and e-mail you a video of the tour later that day. The first key is finding the right agent over here. I'd suggest starting with a google search...."Northampton Real Estate Agent"...something like that. Good luck!
If you still need assistance, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, by "western Mass", do you mean Springfield and Chicoppee, or the REAL western Mass of Berkshire County? :D
E-mail and the Internet will be your best friends in your endeavor. Having a buyer agent workig for you will be invaluable, logistically. You will need to arrange to get a preapproval here. There are some issues with demonstrating a credit history if you are coming in from outside the US after several years, so give yourself plenty of time on this. I recommend using a local lender, who is able to be a bit more flexible in working with the information you have and can work more closely with the underwriter to get your financing settled. Also, establish a relationship with a Berkshire attorney. There will be wire transfers and Homeland Security issues, and their guidance will be very useful.
Regardless, welcome home! Go Sox!
First you need to decide where in Mass. you'd like to look for a home.
South Berkshires is the area that I specialize in and should you like to search for a home is Berkshire County, I would be happy to assist you.
E-mail me directly with your criteria and according to it, I'll select variety of homes and you'll be on your way learning what is available.
Dagmar Kubes, Broker Associate, Buyer Broker ABR
Century 21 Franklin Street
If you are thinking of moving to the south coast of Massachusetts, please feel free to contact me.
Jack Conway & Co., Inc.
6 County Rd.
Mattapoisett, Ma. 02739
Also, you should have your own attorney in this whole matter. There would be many legal documents involved if you were not going to be in the area, and you need someone to prepare them, or review them for your benefit. An attorney also would not cost anything extra if he did your closing. Let me know if you need more info on that...email@example.com
1 - move back to some temporary place here (short term rental, relatives, etc) for approx. 2 months or more, find yourself an agent, let him/her know your needs and wants and let him/her help you succeed in your search
2 - work with RE agent remotely to find yourself a property for rent with option to buy. that way if you don't love the house you'd be free to buy another
3- you can let your family do the work for you and assign them a power of atterney to sign all the papers, but before you do think: are you/your relatives really up to it with all the possible emotional and financial ramifications?
Have your relatives contact a real estate agent in the area you want to live to explain your situation.
The agent will probably call you, to get an idea of what you would like (your parameters).
Once the agent has an idea of what you want he/she can email you and your relatives the available homes that meet your parameters. And then show your relatives your choices. The agent may even suggest some additional choices.
In the meantime, if you need a loan to purchase your house, the agent will probably have you speak with a loan officer or mortgage broker to start your loan process.
Once you have decided on the home you want, your offer can be faxed or scanned and emailed to you for signature. Any counter back and forth may be handled by phone or email.
Once you have a contract. A "mail away" closing can be arranged. All documents to close your transaction can be expressed to you for signature and notary.