You got the big promotion at work, but there's one catch: you have to move across the country. Austin homeowners may have mastered Austin house hunting, but doing it in a location that requires travel can be a logistical nightmare—especially when the distance in question is more than an afternoon’s drive.
Chin up! Many others find themselves in the same kind of house hunting bind all the time. No matter how unworkable it seems as first, you will find your new home—and there’s plenty of help out there to see that it happens with less difficulty than you’d suppose.
Here are some of the ways that make long distance house hunting easier:
If you know little about the area you are heading to, there are many painless way to get your bearings online. It’s easy to get a sense of what the area is known for, which places are safe, what the local cultural highlights are, and other characteristics that distinguish the area. Almost every town has its own site and a Chamber of Commerce site as well; and resources like the City-Data website can flesh out lots of other details.
Your long distance house hunting will require the services of an energetic real estate agent there on the scene. You can ask your future employer for a local recommendation, or use the web to search for stand-out candidates. In addition to a solid track record in the community, the agent you choose should be familiar with the unique challenges that go with out-of-state house hunting. The phrase you are looking for is ‘relocation experience.’
Cost of Living Differential
There may be significant cost of living differences between your current location and your new one. Consult cost of living charts (they’re online, too!). When you visit, pick up local store fliers to get a more visceral feel for the current cost of goods and other expenses in your new area. If the numbers shock (in either direction), be doubly sure factor in the percentage differential when you establish your housing budget.
Create a concise list of must-haves for your new home. This doesn’t just help your out-of-town real estate agent to find the listings that best fit your relocation needs, it also focuses your own priorities. An accurate list can cut down the number of trips you’ll need to take before you zero in on your house hunting target.
Make the Most of Visits
Every trip will take a lot of energy, but after the home tours are over, stick around to experience what the target neighborhoods feel like at all times of day. If it’s practical, consider renting a room or apartment through a service like AirBnB. It’s a real plus if you can arrange your stay right in a target neighborhood instead of in the kind of commercial area where hotels are usually located.
If you are an out-of-stater about to arrive for an Austin house hunting adventure, or an Austin resident with an impending long distance search of your own, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I’m here to offer all kinds of relocation help and advice!