The best part of moving to a new town or city is the newness of the whole thing. Getting to know the amenities, finding a new favorite eatery, new parks, new people and a new lifestyle is exciting stuff.
The most challenging aspect of relocating to a new area is finding a place to live, especially if your new town is a significant distance from where you now live. It is a challenge that is, thankfully, not insurmountable.
Secure the Services of a Real Estate Agent
Your number one source of neighborhood information should be your real estate agent. Have you chosen one yet? Let’s take a look at some quick tips for finding an agent in a new area.
Check real estate agents’ websites
Be aware that when you do an online search for “real estate agents in” whatever city you’ll be moving to, the first page of results may be filled with the big real estate aggregator sites, which are useless for your purposes.
Scroll down until the actual agents’ sites start appearing in the search results. You may have to view several pages of search engine results to find a handful of agents to consider.
Take a deep dive into the websites, looking for someone who offers lots of local and neighborhood information. Since you’re new in town, this information is vital in helping you find your ideal neighborhood.
Call the agents
Calling the agent for the first time is an important step in the process as it presents the first “test” of whether or not to work with the agent. You’ll find that most of the time you’ll get an agent’s voicemail.
Very few of them answer their phones and if you find one that does, give him or her extra points. Leave a concise voicemail telling the agent that you will be relocating to his or her area and need help finding a house. Don’t forget to leave your phone number and the best time to reach you.
Deduct points for any agent that takes over three hours to return your call and disregard any agent that doesn’t get back to you within 24 hours of your initial call. Effective communication is a vitally important skill for an agent to practice.
For 10 tips on selecting the best person for the job, check out my YouTube video here!
Get to Know the Area
The problem with being an “outsider” is that it’s difficult to know which neighborhoods suit your lifestyle.
Sure, you can go online, do a Google Earth search and check out the surrounding areas, but that really tells you little about what it’s like to actually live in the different areas of any town or city. That type of information is best obtained by asking folks who actually live in the area.
Visits to the area before moving present the best opportunity to get a feel for what it will be like to live there. Even if you can’t visit, however, you should use the Internet and your real estate agent to research the following items, if they are important to you:
- Cost of living
- Home prices
- Crime rates
Don’t forget to determine commute times from the neighborhoods you’re interested in and the cost of parking if you’ll work in a downtown building. These outlays can add significantly to the cost of living in a new area.
Another valuable resource in getting to know the area is social media. Ask for information from friends or family in the area, or join local Facebook groups.
Virtual Reality House Hunting
A great way to blend the usefulness of technology with the house hunting far from home is virtual reality home tours. Did you know it’s possible to have an agent take a 3-D video of a property you’re interested in, just like if you were looking at the house together? I can, and am currently the only agent in my market offering this service! When I send you a virtual reality video you have the ability to “move around” in the space and look at what you wish, just like being there in person, with the added benefit of my commentary about the home as I walk through it with your needs and wants in mind. See it in action here in my brief YouTube video! Just think of the possibilities in terms of saving you time, helping you get a handle on the market, and giving you a chance at the most desirable properties even when you’re not able to see them in person!