11 Ways to Maximize Your House Hunting Trips When Relocating

By
Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

How to Maximize Your House Hunting Trips When Relocating

 

If you are relocating chances are pretty good you will make at least 1 trip to the area to look at homes, and communities, in the flesh, rather than relying on what you are told and finding online. While more people are buying homes sight-unseen, this can be a pretty risky proposition. It’s one thing for a rental property, but quite another for a primary or even vacation home, in my opinion.

 

Relocation is not for dummiesIf you are coming from a distance your home search in the new area will probably be limited, so make the most of this time by preparing appropriately.

 

1. As with any home search be as thorough as you can when looking at homes and researching communities (including schools, crime and other matters that are important to your lifestyle). It’s particularly challenging in our current market since you might identify homes you love, only to have them disappear right away.

 

TIP: Be sure you have a very good sense of what you need in your new home, including the issues that are important for your lifestyle. Ask me about my Buyer Lifestyle Questionnaire.

 

2. Develop a list of the properties that interest you, and ask your REALTOR® to arrange for you to see these homes, and others that may be suitable given your criteria and budget. You can add new properties that come on the market at the last moment. Your agent will likely have properties to suggest, especially as he or she gets to understand what you want and need.

 

3. Plan to spend significant time looking at houses and tour as many as you can that make sense for your needs and budget. If you find you are in an area you don't like, let your agent know so you don't waste time going to homes in that area and can cancel those showings.

 

 

TIP: Keep an open mind about communities that offer you the lifestyle you seek, even if the home is not perfect. But don’t be afraid to take neighborhoods off the list, either!

 

Map of the USA4. Take lots of notes in whatever way works best for you. If someone else is involved but not available, you can use Facetime, What’s App, or Skype to share the tour!

 

Be sure you have a copy of the MLS printout for each house you are seeing so you have all the information.

 

5. It may be helpful to have your REALTOR® drive so you can explore the area more readily plus have a good Q and A about the homes, market and community.

 

6. Be prepared to take photos and videos (check with your agent that this is OK) to supplement notes you might be taking. Photos will tell you a lot and help you remember what you saw. Seeing lots of homes in a short period gets confusing, and your own photos will be useful, especially if photos in the MLS listing are lacking.

 

7. You may find it helpful to rank order homes as you go, and eliminate those that are low on the list right from the beginning, and why that’s the case. Keep track of your favorites and what stands out and why! It’s easy to get confused – sometimes buyers even name the homes as they go in order to remember them.

 

moving van8. Be sure you take enough time to explore each home, inside and out, unless you know right away it’s not right. There is nothing wrong with deciding a home is definitely off the list if you are sure so you don’t waste time.

 

You might have a schedule of appointments so check with your Realtor. Be sure you explore a property thoroughly before moving on. And revisit homes that really interest you. Sometimes a second look can confirm what you originally thought, OR you see something you missed the first time.

 

9. Don’t forget to check out the neighborhood, too, and the larger community – commuting routes, amenities, etc. I advise taking time on your own to do this after your home tour. You’ll have fun playing tourist and will learn a lot.

 

10. Depending on your personal situation (budget, timing, sale of current home, market conditions), prepare yourself mentally to make a buying decision when you find the right house. This can be hard to do for some buyers, and of course it depends on your circumstances. If you have done your homework, and are working with a great REALTOR®, chances are you’ll find the home you want during your trip, so be prepared to move ahead quickly. This is particularly important when house hunting in a seller’s market where many homes disappear within days, as is happening here in the Carlsbad area.

 

11. Check to make sure you have a current pre-approval letter for any offer you want to make on your trip, or upon returning home. Put your loan officer on alert in case you need to call/email to get a revised pre-approval letter quickly while traveling if you find the right house.

 

TIP: Consider having your loan officer call the listing agent of the property you want to buy to review your financial status (only what is not confidential, of course). Ask your agent if a proof of funds (POF) is required for your deposit/down payment; this will be necessary if you are paying cash.

 

Need more relocation tips? Check out my video series on my YouTube Channel – Relocation Tips and Advice.

 

Please give me a call at (760) 840-1360). I am happy to help you from start to finish with your relocation here to SoCal, or with a move out of this area. I have moved 4 major times myself, the last move from Boston to California in 2005, and have helped many who have relocated so I understand what you are going through well!

 

Ask me about my Relocation Checklist

or the Questions You Should Ask Your Movers!

 

And if you (or someone else you know) are relocating to an area other than SoCal, there are still ways I can assist you. I have a great network of highly qualified agents around the country and can help find you the right Realtor to assist in finding your new home and/or selling your current one, no matter where you are in the US.

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Rainmaker
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Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Uh oh...I feel a bookmark coming on...great tips for our relocating folks !

Aug 27, 2018 09:41 AM #7
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George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
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Jeff these are excellent tips.  It looks like you may have done this a time or two

Aug 27, 2018 10:35 AM #8
Rainmaker
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Missy Banks
Allen Tate Real Estate | AgentBecky.com | MissyBanks.com - Charlotte, NC
MissyBanks.com CHARLOTTE HOMES FOR SALE

Good information.  I do a lot of work with people relocating and here for a trip or two before they buy.

 

Aug 27, 2018 02:53 PM #9
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Jeff- these are excellent tips for anyone relocating to a new area!!  I've done this a few times and each tip is useful. 

Aug 27, 2018 04:56 PM #10
Rainmaker
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Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Southlake, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Jeff Dowler, CRS - All excellent tips! Taking a trip is at least one time is so important in the relocation process. Also, all adult should be present. The more eyes, noses, and perspectives, the better.

Your list is very important. Having an Agent who is so thoughtful and knows the market area will serve prospective buyers well. I highly recommend buyers and sellers to hire you. 

Aug 28, 2018 04:57 AM #11
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Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

All wonderful tips, Jeff! I find it funny that we handle relo buyers the same way - rating houses (giving them a 1-10) at the end of the house tour, then ranking all of them at the end of the tour for the day! It REALLY helps them from going over and over all of the homes we say - and helps them focus on the neighborhoods that they want.

Aug 30, 2018 06:04 PM #12
Rainmaker
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Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

These are all excellent tips, Jeff, especially #8. If a home doesn't work and you know it right away, tell your Realtor and make a quick exit. It will save time and get you to the next home on the list sooner. There is no time to waste when you are relocating and have a full day of house-hunting planned.

Sep 16, 2018 09:59 AM #13
Rainmaker
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Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Jeff Dowler, CRS, these are all great tips. Buying a home is not an easy task but with planning and working with a knowledgeable, local Realtor like yourself, it will be a great event to remember for years to come.

Sep 17, 2018 12:20 PM #14
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Planning early is good for so many things, isn't it Laura Cerrano . Relocating is a huge task with lots of moving parts to think about.

Jeff

Sep 17, 2018 04:22 PM #15
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Nina Hollander  There's a lot to talk about with relocating buyers, isn't there? And no doubt all your personal relocation experience comes in handy!

Jeff

Sep 17, 2018 04:24 PM #16
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Wayne Martin 

Thanks for the kind words. There IS a lot of work to be done, by the relocating buyers AND the Realtor. I'm glad I have the personal experience - it helps alot!

Jeff

Sep 17, 2018 04:33 PM #17
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks for the compliment Gabe Sanders . There's a lot to consider when relocating!

Hi Gita Bantwal Thanks for your kind words. I love working with people who are relocating!

Jeff

Sep 17, 2018 04:36 PM #18
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Will Hamm 

Thanks for your kind words! I woud be flattered if you want to share this!!

Jeff

Sep 17, 2018 04:40 PM #19
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Sally K. & David L. Hanson  Glad you found it helpful!

Hi George Souto  well, only 4 major times, but I've learned alot from those experiences plus helping plenty of relocating buyers.

Jeff

Sep 17, 2018 04:41 PM #20
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Missy Banks  And I bet you enjoy it like I do!

I have had relocations happen quickly, and others take many months or longer. House hunting can be a challenge from a distance and it's even harder with our sellers' market!

Jeff

Sep 17, 2018 04:43 PM #21
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks for stopping by Kathy Streib And I bet you know a few things about relocating, too, as a result of your moves!

Jeff

Sep 17, 2018 04:44 PM #22
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Patricia Feager 

Thanks for the kind words.  house hunting trip puts such a different persective on things. You can only learn so much on the Internet, and touching and feeling for more people is key!

Jeff

Sep 17, 2018 05:34 PM #23
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Debe Maxwell, CRS 

I know how confusing it can be to see multiple homes on a house tour, especially when you don't know the area and the different neighborhoods. Eliminating confusion is a good thing, whatever strategy you use! It's always helpful when someone says "that one is off the list!" LOL

Jeff

Sep 17, 2018 05:49 PM #24
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Well I totally agree Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty 

I always tell people it's OK to let me know so we don't waste time, or even not go in if they are sure because of the neighborhood or for some other reason. That's rather rare but I was out with a buyer yesterday and 2 of the homes we were in and out of in less than 5 minutes!

Jeff

Sep 17, 2018 05:52 PM #25
Rainmaker
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Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Great information, thanks for sharing.  Relocating can be a very stressful time.

Sep 18, 2018 04:51 AM #26
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