Long Distance Home Buying
People move for a variety of reasons. However, long-distance moves often come during times of life change, like a new marriage, new job, or retirement. If your next move is taking you to a new city, you may be struggling with how to ensure you choose the right neighborhood and the right home for you and your family. COVID-19 restrictions have made this even more difficult by limiting the ability to travel easily and conduct in-person home tours.
However, you can still pull off a cross-country move, even with a limited ability to conduct your home search in person. The key is communication—and finding the right Realtor partner for the home buying process.
Finding the right real estate agent
One of the best ways to find a reliable Realtor in a faraway market is by asking your trusted local agent for a professional referral. One of my newest clients came after their agent called and interviewed two other agents and me. You can even ask your real estate agent to choose two or three real estate agents or brokers for you to interview. That way you can make sure that your personalities are a good fit and that you’ll find someone trustworthy for your long-distance home search. Be sure to let your local agent know whom you choose so that he or she can send introductory details to the new agent.
Choosing a home in a new market
Typically, you have some idea of the neighborhood you want to be in or which local school you want your children to attend. However, with a long-distance home purchase, especially if you’re moving to a totally new area, you may not know where to start searching for a home. That’s where I come in, by pointing you to up-and-coming areas, those that are popular with families, senior adults, or other groups, or those that cater to your particular interests.
There are a variety of factors to take into account when choosing your new neighborhood. Your search may be based on any of the following:
You may want to choose your new neighborhood based on your commute. If you are not going to be working from home, it may be important for you to find a residential neighborhood that’s conveniently close to your new office. Public transportation is readily available to some areas in Nashville, but only one suburb offers a commuter rail service.
Alternatively, amenities may be at the top of the list for your new home search. You may be focused on recreational options, parks, or other outdoor areas. You may want to live near the best shopping, dining, and nightlife in your new city. Nashville, for example, offers an amazing array of parks and public lands for nature and pet lovers and of course, nightlife opportunities are ample in Music City.
If you have young children, you may be primarily concerned with searching for your new home by evaluating the schools in the area. There are many online resources that rate schools according to performance and assessment standards. I’m happy to share resources as well. What makes a good school can vary from place to place and from family to family, of course. Decide what criteria are most important to you and your family—academics, clubs, arts, sports, or other factors—and you can make your decision accordingly.
Home Inspection from a distance
You may be concerned at the idea of having a home inspection without your participation. However, rest assured that I would be more than willing to attend the inspection on your behalf. You may want to send along some questions for me to ask the inspector or you may want to request a video chat to allow you to ask those questions yourself. If you see anything on the inspection report that raises a red flag, we can ask for a secondary, specialty inspection in order to ensure that everything in your future home has been thoroughly evaluated.
Do you dare to buy a home sight unseen?
Despite the many advances in virtual tour technology and the willingness of real estate agents to conduct virtual walkthroughs for clients, you may be uncomfortable at the idea of buying a home without visiting it in person. While this is totally understandable, it may be that circumstances simply will not allow you to conduct an in-person home tour.
Today’s smartphones and cameras often don’t convey a realistic feel for the spaces in a home, especially when a wide-angle lens is used. Video walkthroughs can help you to better understand proportions of different spaces as well as allow me to show you the less-than-perfect parts that may not be visible in other media. You’re also able to ask me question in real time.
If you are still uncomfortable going under contract without seeing the home in person, and it is logistically difficult for the whole family to travel for an in-person tour, consider whether one of you can get away in order to visit some of your favorites. This may offer additional peace of mind and a smoother transition for the whole family.
Whatever you needs or concerns, I’m here to listen and help.