Some moves are bigger than others. When you’re moving to a new city, you’ll have a different set of needs than if you’d simply been making a move across town. With that in mind, I decided to lay out a list of tips to help you handle the task of finding your next home while you’re relocating. Keep them in mind so that you can be sure to settle into the home that works best for you.
Find a reputable real estate agent
The first thing to do when you realize you need to make a big move is to enlist some help. In this case, that means hiring a reputable real estate agent, specifically one who is experienced in relocation and familiar with your new area. He or she will serve as your local guide during this process, so you’ll want to be sure to do your research and hire someone you can trust.
As far as how to find the right person, your best option is to ask an agent in your current city for a referral. In this case, the agent will do the legwork of connecting you with a top professional in your new area in exchange for a small fee. This fee is usually a portion of the commission that you’ll pay when you settle on your new home.
Regardless of whether or not you end up getting a referral, you should always verify that your new agent will be a good fit for you. You can start by checking out their online presence and reading reviews. However, the best way to get a sense of whether or not you’ll get along is to interview them, even if it’s only over the phone.
Consider renting first
There’s no getting around the fact that buying a home is a big decision. Conventional wisdom says that, whenever you buy, you should plan to stay in the home for at least five years in order for the financial investment to make sense. That’s an even bigger commitment to make when you are unfamiliar with the area in which you plan to buy. Deciding to rent before buying can help ease some of the pressure.
Renting before you buy essentially gives you a chance to get to know your new area before you make the firm commitment of purchasing real estate. Your agent can also help you through the process of looking for a rental that suits your needs while you’re getting settled
Do your own research
Even if you have an agent at your disposal, you’re going to want to do your own research into your new area. After all, you know your wants, needs, likes, and dislikes better than anyone else. The more information that you can gather, the easier your home search will ultimately be.
As far as what to research, your first stop should be potential neighborhoods. Websites like Niche can help you get a sense of the area by grading various neighborhoods on a variety of metrics including safety, quality of the school district, and nightlife.
Plan a visit
Ultimately, the best way to get a sense of your new area is to see it with your own eyes. If at all possible, you’ll want to schedule a trip to visit your new city before you make the big move. Not only will this give you a chance to truly get a sense of the various neighborhoods that are available to you, but it will also give you an opportunity to do some house hunting in-person.