Long-distance home buying: how to make it work

Cinnamon on

United States Map Interstate MovingWhether you’re moving for love, you’ve landed a sweet new gig, or you’re just looking for a change of pace, buying a new home is never not stressful. Doing it from a distance can be daunting, to say the least, but never fear: the pros at Moveline have some tips to help you make sure you’ve got the home of your dreams waiting for you at the finish line.

Know before you go

Get as clear and specific about what you want (and don’t want) before you head out for a weekend of home tours. If you’re working with a professional, don’t be shy about sending emails and hopping on the phone with them often. This way, when you take a trip to look at potential homes, you’re only looking at places that could conceivably be winners. A good agent will expertly narrow the field so they’re not wasting your time with things you don’t want.

Friends of friends

Just because you’re not in your destination city yet doesn’t mean you can’t still gather a ton of information. One of the best ways to do that is, of course, through your social network. Even if you don’t have an immediate friend or family member in the area, you almost certainly know someone who does. When you have conversations about your move, let people know you’re looking to buy a home. You might be surprised how many of your friends know someone who sells real estate in San Diego or who installs flooring in Chicago and is in the know about all the new homes on the market.

The interwebs

If you prefer more firsthand research, the internet is unsurprisingly loaded with resources to aid in your research. Here, a few top selections:

  • Zillow has sale listings, for sale by owner (FSBO) homes, foreclosures, new construction, and rentals. They also offer “zestimates” of not only your potential homes value, but those around it as well. Trulia and Redfin offer similar services.
  • Does walkability rank high on your list of must-haves? Then you’ll definitely want to check out each neighborhood’s walk score to get a gauge for how pedestrian-friendly it is.
  • If you’ve got kids, schools are probably a make-or-break proposition with each property you consider. Check out GreatSchools.org for all kinds of insights.
  • Scope out any real estate companies you’re considering through The Better Business Bureau to help you avoid shady agents and outright scams.
  • Use City-Data to peruse a variety of stats on various places. The community forum is a great place to get community-based answers to your questions.
  • While Google’s street view option may show images that are outdated by a couple of years, it should give you a general idea of what an area looks like; this is especially helpful in places that haven’t undergone any major facelifts in the last year or two. Go to Google Maps, search for the address of your choice, and then drop that little yellow person icon into the street in front of it. Now, you can virtually walk around the neighborhood to get a sense of whether or not it could feel like home.

When you finally find that perfect place in your new city, give Moveline a shout. We’ll get you moved into your new digs with your sanity and your bank account intact. We’ll even give you tips on leaving that place you’ve lived in forever and balancing a move with the process of closing on your new home. We’re here to help, so don’t go it alone.