Relocation can be a challenge, especially if you haven't made a major move before to a new area. Even if you have moved locally, relocating a significant distance presents some hurdles to overcome, from finding an agent, to the home search, and the actual real estate transaction.
This 5-part series on Carlsbad Relocation Tips will help you sort through what you should do in order to Find Your REALTOR to help you in your home search, Find Your Community where you want to live, and Find Your Home in Carlsbad California.
Let's begin the journey with some relocation tips and suggestions to help find your REALTOR.
If you have already found someone through a referral (through someone locally where you live or, better yet, in your new community), then you are well on your way, but often folks who are relocating must start fresh. Working with a REALTOR at a distance presents some challenges and you need to do your research so you can make an informed decision.
FINDING YOUR REALTOR:
1. Check the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS) database for someone in the area you are moving to. Only about 4% of ALL REALTORS in the US have this certification which required they take a series of advanced courses and meet fairly rigorous production requirements. So you have someone with significant education + experience. Individuals with the GRI designation are also strong professionals. I do not recommend making a decision solely based on the certification.
2. Do a Google search to find REALTORS in the desired area. Be careful - just because a search for "San Diego REALTORS" produces some names does not mean they are, necessarily, the best people to help you. Agents can show up on the top of the list for a variety of reasons, including paying for it. On the other hand agents who are very active with on-line marketing, and those with blogs, will likely show up on page 1 of Google and can be a good starting point
2. If using a particular brokerage (e.g., RE/MAX, Century 21) is important to you, explore the database on one of the brokerage sites for someone in the area you plan to move to. But I wouldn't decide on a particular agent based only on who they work for, but consider other factors covered below.
2. Do your due diligence on the REALTOR you are interested in to find out what you can about them - if they author a blog, READ IT, as there is a wealth of information you will come to know about them in addition to learning about the areas they service. You should also look at their website, find out what professional certifications they have, determine what services they can offer you (especially focused on relocation), and understand the areas they cover (if they don't know the areas you are interested in it may be more of a challenge, and they will be less effective in helping you).
4. Either email or phone interview (or both) the person you are interested in (NOTE: If you leave a voice mail or send an email and it takes a long time to respond, I'd be VERY concerned about their responsiveness and motivation - not a good sign for the future). Ask about relocation experience they have; if they haven't moved some distance themselves, at a minimum they should have experience with relocating buyers. If not, it may be difficult to understand your issues and effectively assist you.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR CARLSBAD RELOCATION AGENT:
1. As with any real estate transaction a level of comfort and personal chemistry is important for most people, but that's not all. Do you feel they are truly interested in helping you and how do they demonstrate that? What specific services do they provide relocating buyers and do these have value for you (e.g., I preview homes for out-of-area buyers and send lots of photos and videos, as well as information about the local community)?
2. How well do they know the area and the housing markets you are interested in (you can learn this through a conversation and email, but also by reading their blog, if they have one)?
- What can they tell you about the community and the market conditions, and can they answer specific questions?
- Do they offer a customized relocation package and services?
- Can they screen properties for you, based on YOUR criteria, not just set you up on a website (while you need access to on-line properties, you don't know the area and the REALTOR should help screen properties as s/he learns more about what you want and need)
- Can the agent provide you with resources for you to do your own due diligence (e.g., schools, crime)?
3. I would seek to understand their responsiveness, and ability or willingness to help you late at night and on weekends.
- Since you aren't local and perhaps in a different time zone, communication will be by telephone (voice mail, text messaging), email and fax. Questions will arise that need quick answers, and problems will occur, so you MUST be able to get in touch with your REALTOR quickly, and they need to respond promptly
- Do they get emails forwarded to their cell phone (and do they respond)
- Can they provide you with ways to reach them promptly if you need to (there are some agents who do not give out their cell phone numbers and expect you to leave voice mail in their office, but how often do they check?)
- Do they use email - just because they HAVE an address does NOT mean they use it. You need to agree on the most effective means to communicate.
4. You will probably make a house hunting trip, so find out how your REALTOR will handle that.
- Will they set up a tour of homes and neighborhoods for you to see with an itinerary before you arrive?
- Will they show you properties YOU want to see (as well as those they feel are important for you to see)?
- Do they make you aware of status changes (e.g., the home you fell in love with on-line and planned to see now has an accepted offer)?
- Are they comfortable and willing to make last minute changes based on your schedule, housing availability, and ruling out areas you don't like to not waste time?
5. I recommend using someone adept with technology, and who uses effectively in their business for home searching, due diligence, and transaction management, to facilitate communication with you before and during the transaction. But that does not mean someone who never steps out from behind the computer. The real world is still out there and nothing can take the place of face-to-face interaction. And if you are willing to purchase a property sight-unseen either because of location, timing, or preference, technology is a must throughout the transaction, and there are a number of us who can do that for you.
Stay tuned for Part 2 in the series on Carlsbad Relocation Tips - Finding Your Community in the Carlsbad California area.
If I can provide more information about Encinitas real estate and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.
All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler Carlsbad Homes and Real Estate Tidbits