Whether you’re planning to relocate or are simply shopping for a vacation home, long distance house hunting comes with a few obvious hurdles. You may not be able to visit as many properties as you’d like, or you may not even have the opportunity to meet in-person with your real estate agent before you begin your search. Sometimes you’ll also find that there is a significant difference in the cost of living between two states – another common challenge. While many of these inherent difficulties are unavoidable, there are some things you can do to make your long distance home search easier and more efficient.
Do your research online before speaking with a Realtor®.
This may seem like an obvious first step, but it’s something that should be discussed right off the bat. There are so many valuable tools available online today that will help you become acquainted with your future home. Use them to your advantage.
Your Realtor® should be able to discuss your options with you, but try to get a feel for the area and the neighborhoods you would prefer to live in. While you’re at it, determine the general price range for homes in your desired neighborhoods.
Exhaust all of your resources.
If you have friends and family in the area, ask them as many questions as possible. Ask them about local amenities and hotspots, which neighborhoods or specific locations to avoid, what to do, and what to see. If you’re relocating for work, ask your employer to connect you with a few of your future coworkers, and ask for their recommendations, as well.
Choose your Realtor® wisely.
Keep in mind that real estate licenses often cover an entire state, so choose an agent who lives and works in your destination city. The best way to choose a Realtor® is through referrals, but if that is not an option for you, search online for reviews or testimonials that really stand out. Social media is another very useful tool. You will almost always find a wealth of information about prospective Realtors® through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other similar platforms.
Know your priorities.
Whether your search is local or long-distance, you need to make a list of priorities for your future home. Be honest with yourself about which features are absolutely necessary and which are simply desired. You should also make an equally clear list of elements that you absolutely will not tolerate in a home so that nobody’s time is wasted.
Don’t forget the intangibles, such as an exact dollar amount of inspection issues that you are willing to overlook. How long are you willing to wait to close? How far are you willing to commute to work? Try to consider all of the aspects surrounding your relocation and future lifestyle.
When you visit, use your time wisely.
By the time you travel to your destination city to view properties, you should have a solid list of prospects. Your Realtor® should have property showings scheduled for you, and you should have extra leeway built into your agenda, in case you would like to return for a second showing of any given property.
Be sure that the logistics of your visit are sorted out, as well. The last thing you need when you are running on a tight travel schedule is to be scrambling for hotel or vehicle arrangements. Plan ahead so that you have the maximum amount of time available for house hunting and exploring your new neighborhood.
Long distance house hunting doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. As soon as you know that you will be relocating, get in touch with someone who will make the move easier on you.