7 Tips For Long-Distance House Hunting
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Moving to a new home is one of the most stressful experiences you will ever have, and it usually begins by searching for a suitable house. Searching for a home long distance only adds fuel to the fire, and it can make things a lot more complicated. In this article, we have put together a list of 7 tips for long-distance house hunting. Follow them to painlessly navigate the process and end up with your new dream home.
1) Do your research
All of the following steps will be a lot easier if you start by rolling up your sleeves and doing a lot of research. Learn everything you can about the area you plan to move to. You can start small by exploring the surroundings with Google maps to get a feel for the area. Get familiar with the types ofhouses they offer and what the usual listings go for. Knowing this information in advance will help you determine your budget and set your expectations accordingly from the get-go.
2) Hire a local realtor
When you are buying a house, having a professional in your corner is necessary. A good realtor will keep your interests in mind and negotiate on your behalf to the best of their ability. One of the essential tips for long-distance house hunting is to get a local to represent you. Local realtors will have experience in the area you plan to move to. They can be your partner on the ground, and you can send them scouting if you see something you like. Experienced agents can help you narrow down your choices and provide insightful tips you'd otherwise have no way of knowing.
3) Determine your needs
Begin with brainstorming which features you would like your dream home to have. Then, accurately communicate to your agent exactly what your needs are. Talk to them about your must-haves and deal-breakers to give them a good sense of what kind of home you have in mind. Remember to factor in requests that don't necessarily pertain to the house but have more to do with the neighborhood. Let your agent know if you need to be close to schools or public transport.
Keep in mind that overly specific requests might be hard to find. Sometimes it will be easier to remodel a house than it is to find a particular feature. Additionally, there are home improvements that don't have a good return on investment. Don’t overpay for something you can easily add to the home yourself.
4) Organize a virtual tour
Pictures can rarely do a home justice. Frankly, nothing can replace the experience you get from stepping foot in a house for the first time. However, since you are doing long-distance house hunting, you'll need to settle for a middle ground. Ask if it is possible to organize a virtual tour of the property that piqued your interest. Due to the changes the global corona pandemic has brought, virtual tours have become a lot more common. You may be in luck, and the property could already have a tour scheduled. However, if that isn't the case, you can talk to your agent and see if they can set something up. You don't need anything flashy. It can be as simple as a video call with your agent where they show you the property room-to-room.
5) Factor in the hidden expenses
Every large project is going to have unplanned expenses. You can bet that buying a house is no different. However, it still helps if you try to prepare for those additional costs. Try to leave a bit of wiggle room in your planned house budget. Some excess money is going to let you navigate contingencies and closing costs with ease.
In order to prepare yourself better, you should look up the local laws since they can differ from state to state. See what the tax policy is like, as it could be more or less favorable to what you are used to. What’s the cost of living in the area, and how will it impact your everyday expenses? Once you know the answers to all of these, it will be easier to estimate all the hidden costs of purchasing a home.
6) Visit the area in person
Most people you ask about long-distance house hunting tips will point out the obvious – that you should see the house before purchasing it. That's definitely sound advice. However, we recommend you go a step further and check out your future neighborhood as well. Make a weekend trip and explore the entire surrounding area. Visit schools, restaurants and find out what public transport is like.
When the time to seal the deal and close on the house comes, you won't have a chance to do all the sleuthing you would like. It's best if you take care of that while you are still in the negotiation phase. Be aware that you might need to make multiple trips, so make room for that in your budget as well.
7) Organize the move
Try to find a moving company with experience in long-distance moves well before the actual day of the relocation. There are numerous reputable movers out there, so it's easy to make a good decision and contact an agency in advance. Don't leave organizing the move for the last possible minute. You will have a hard time finding a company with available dates if you contact them late. Also, not every moving company offers long-distance moving services, so you should do a bit of research on the movers. Finally, look up testimonials and reviews of their previous clients to ensure you are doing business with professionals.
As you can see from our list of 7 tips for long-distance house hunting, if you do a lot of preparation and approach things calmly – buying a house in a different area should pose no problem. Just take things one step at a time and do your due diligence, and you will be in your dream home in no time.
Assistant Editor Marketing | Moving Offices San Diego
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