Top Tips for Searching for a Home Online in Your Relocation
When you are relocating and searching for a home no doubt you are looking online for that perfect property. After all probably 90% or more of buyers find their home that way. And when you are moving a distance online IS the way to go,along with working with a great Realtor!
You can learn so much as a buyer before you ever set foot in a property or in a community. Online searching can save you time, money (e.g., fewer house hunting trips) and frustration. You can learn about the local market conditions (what’s selling or not), get a sense of housing styles and prices, compare homes, and much more.
With applications like Google Earth you can find street views and look at the local topography (watch for busy road, railroad tracks, retail areas, high tension wire and towers), map links will show you distances to help figure out commutes, and traffic sites can tell you about the local and commuter traffic on the major roads at different times of the day. The list goes on and on.
American Towns and local city websites offer information on communities. Or just do a Google search for the town you are interested in.
Here are my top tips for searching for your home online when you are moving. But, it’s not a perfect world. Finding the right homes and neighborhood, for the majority of people, still requires a personal touch, see and feel.
1. Have a clear sense of what you want, but in particular what you NEED, and most importantly what you are able to afford (get pre-approved and check that personal budget).
2. Know what is important to you in the community or neighborhood you want to live it – amenities, commuting distances, affordability, schools, crime, access to recreation, things to do, and so on. What is the LIFESTYLE you are looking for and things that really matter to you.
3. The Internet is not 100% accurate and you will find some discrepancies in the information. You can’t believe everything you see so ask
4. MLS listings usually offer a wealth of information but some are much better than others. There may be few photos, and details can be missing, either because they do not exist in the MLS to begin with or the particular site you are using does not pull all the data.
5. Mapping functions can be off, depending on the MLS and the application they use. Google Maps may be more reliable for looking up the address, then explore street views. Satellite views can offer an interesting look at the house and the nearby area. The date of the view may not be current but you might gain a perspective you don’t from the MLS photos (e.g., the house borders a huge mall or nursery).
6. Sign up for daily emailed listings from your REALTOR® (you DO have one don’t you?) so you have up to the minute listings every day to consider. This will also give you an idea of inventory, how long homes stay on the market, and values by community.
7. Keep notes on the towns/neighborhoods you like and general information you learn. Set up a file online to store listings, use Evernote on your phone or ipad, or use folders for hard copy files for each town and listings that interest you.
8. Do online research on communities that appear to be near your new job(s). Generally most towns have a community website - it may be the Chamber of Commerce site or some other. You can readily find this by doing a Google search. Ask your REALTOR® for a list of sites.
9. Ask your REALTOR® to screen in/out homes that you have seen online that appeal to you and request feedback based on your needs, wants and budget.
Keep in mind that not everything you need ot want to know will be found online, plus you might find some inaccuracies and contradictions. You still want to have a Realtor in the new location on your side to help and guide you from start to finish.
Need more relocation tips?
Please reach out to me at (760) 840-1360 so we can discuss you personal relocation needs, questions and concerns. I am happy to help from start to finish with your relocation here to SoCal, or with a move out of this area. I have relocated 4 major times plus have helped a bunch of clients so I have a pretty good idea what relocation is all about.
If you are moving someplace other than SoCal, I can still assist you. I know a great network of highly qualified agents around the country and can help refer you to the right person to help find your new home and/or sell your current one.
Check out my YouTube playlist of Relocation Tips and Advice if you are just interested in watching short (2 minutes or less) videos.
Here are the prior articles (with videos) in this series in case you missed them: