Are you Long-Distance House Hunting?
Here are some great steps to take the strain out of long distance house hunting. Keep reading:
Are you long distance house hunting? Do you live in one city and looking for a house in another city due to job relocation, or any other reason? This will walk you through everything you need to achieve the result you want in your long distance house hunting journey.
If you are looking for a new home it can be difficult to find the right property, and it is even harder if you are having to move to a different city or state. Although it can be a challenge it is not impossible and many people need to move from city to city or even to another state for many different reasons. You may be changing jobs, thinking about retirement or just want a change of scenery. To help make the process easier we have put together some ways that you can streamline long-distance house-hunting to track down that perfect property.
Choose a local Realtor
If you live out of town then a local real estate agent is going to make all the difference; we would go as far as to say they would be your number one resource. Discuss your budget and lifestyle with your agent and they will be able to recommend a neighborhood that would suit you well. They can also put a list of properties together for you, direct you to these online and arrange a viewing tour. All of this will take a lot of the tension out of your search; all you will need to do is look at the properties they provide and then make a trip to visit your favorites.
Use sites like Reacasa: Head over to the Reacasa.com website and search the properties available in your target area. Or you can also find an agent to help you with the search. Use our filters to narrow your search down according to your budget, the type of home you are looking for, how many bedrooms you need, etc. If you know a specific area that you would like to move to you can put in the zip code and look at all the offerings in that zone. You will also be able to see if the property value has increased or decreased over the last 10 years, its price history, tax history and all the information about the neighborhood such as transit information and school provision. If you see something you like you can save it and also share it on to family and friends to get their opinions on each listing.
Use other online tools: Several online tools can help a home buyer assess a property in another location including:
- Google Earth or Maps – great for looking at the street view of a property and assessing its general location
- Yelp – gives an overview of local businesses which can provide insight into the local area
- Blogs – take a look to see if there is a local blog as these often let you look at the views of local people and any particular problems there may be in an area, especially antisocial behavior, noise, local nightclubs or anything that might impact your enjoyment of your home.
- Talk to your realtor and ask any questions you may have. Ask about different neighborhoods, point of interests, etc.
Use Social Media: Tell people online that you are looking to move and where you want to go and they will often give you a good insight into different aspects of the area. For example, if you need to have a good school nearby then say so, you will find that parents on your list may be able to give you some valuable information. You will start to see a pattern around which neighborhoods seem to get the highest recommendations and which ones you are told to avoid. This will help you narrow your search to areas that are more relevant to your own particular needs. Some neighborhoods have their own Facebook page and there are often local groups that you can join. These are often a reliable source of information about what their live experience is like in a town, neighborhood, community or street.
Be well organized: When hunting for properties long-distance it pays to be as organized as possible. Make a spreadsheet and note all of the potential neighborhoods for consideration, property addresses, the price and the selling agent. If you need to look at specific criteria like schools then add a column for this. Include columns for anything important like parks, pools, cinemas, amenities and how long you could expect to commute to work.
Be prepared before you plan your trip: no matter how much great information you have managed to gather from online sources, family, friends and Realtors the real test for a neighborhood is how you feel about it when you visit in person. Make sure that you have a full discussion before you leave so that everyone is on the same page regarding budget, size and type of home you would like to live in. For other areas you can be more flexible for example, flooring and décor as these can be changed later. Make sure you allow for plenty of time to view properties – this will mean at least a long weekend but possibly longer depending on how may homes you would like to view. Involve your real estate agent in your plans so that he or she can create a tour schedule in advance to include all the properties you have selected as your potential new home.
Be prepared to ask for help: relocating is a huge task and if you are moving because of your work your employer may well have an in-house relocation specialist. Ask about this and how they can help you. These professionals can often provide details of local Realtors and information about where other company employees live and what the neighborhoods are like. Some companies also provide financial assistance for long-distance relocation so ask to see if this is something you could access.
Take the option of short-term housing: if you can’t find the perfect home or you are just not ready to buy, why not consider a sub-let or short term rental? This gives you time to get to know an area, meet some local people and look at the parts of the city in which you would be happy to commit to buying a new home. Some companies offer to cover the cost of temporary housing so find out if this is an option for you. The only thing we recommend is to find a local agent in the city or state you are moving to. When moving to a different city, or state, the local expertise can come in handy in many ways, such as:
- Call your agent to verify any listings you saw online.
- Schedule showing when you want to tour homes and have limited time
- Suggest neighborhoods, and provide information about your desirable area.
- Provide accurate information about commute time, traffic etc.
- Compare the homes you provide and suggest similar listings.
- Check for price accuracy and home value of the listings.
- Local agents are knowledgeable about neighborhoods, local and state laws.