Facing a Long-Distance Move? Follow These 5 Tips for a Successful Home Search
For many individuals and families, moving to a new home invites excitement, stress, and sometimes a sense of loss. A long-distance move can amplify these emotions when having to house hunt remotely. While facing the reality of leaving behind your job, your friends, your family and all that is familiar, a long-distance move can amplify these emotions. Therefore, when moving to a city or state far from where you currently live, proper planning is key to reducing stress and finding the home of your dreams.
Are you anticipating a long-distance move? Follow these five tips for house hunting across the miles:
1- Determine what is important to you.
Use the internet to create a comparison chart of factors that are important to you. One of the first steps in any home search is making a list of all the attributes that you consider essential in a property. When moving to an area with which you are unfamiliar, you may have to spend some time researching specific characteristics, such as a home’s distance from your new office, neighborhood crime rates, reputations of the schools, and proximity to places you visit most often. Consider organizing these factors into a spreadsheet that you share with your realtor, so you can both see at a glance how the homes compare to each other.
2- Check out the neighborhoods.
Dig deeper online to get a better feel for different neighborhoods. Forums, Facebook groups, review websites like Yelp, and other online niche communities tend to generate banter about the real character of a city’s neighborhoods. Delving into these sources can help you identify which parts of town are right for you before you even visit your new city. Besides, Google Earth and online maps with a “street view” option will help you gain a realistic understanding of the area surrounding homes that have piqued your interest. Another way to learn more about your new city via the internet is to leverage your own social media networks with posts seeking advice about where you are moving—you never know who will be able to provide valuable input.
3 - Make a list of what's important about your next home
Have a clear idea of the top five factors that are most important to you in a house, and which elements are non-negotiable. Prioritizing these items will help you narrow down neighborhoods and specific properties, which will make in-person searching more efficient and expedite the process of making an offer when you find your ideal property.
4. Set a budget and get organized
When scheduling trips to your new city, set a budget and plan strategically. While you can find a wealth of information online, house-hunting trips—as well as trips to attend the closing or deal with any problems that arise—are usually inevitable. Therefore, try to have some money set aside for at least two trips to your new city. When house hunting, arrive armed with a list of properties and neighborhoods that you like to maximize efficiency. However, avoid cramming so many showings into one day that the homes blur together in your mind and you don’t remember important details about each.
5. Rent before you buy - don't make a rash decision
If you are unable to find the perfect home or feel anxious about making such a significant purchase without fully knowing the area, consider renting an apartment with a short-term lease. Don't make a rash decision, take more time and familiarize yourself with the area, and continue your home search at your leisure.
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