When you're moving to a new city, it's challenging to hunt for a new home and find real estate. You're not familiar with the area, and you can't be there daily to watch for new homes to come on the market. Following online real estate sites and working with a real estate agent in the area is a good way to start, so when you visit, you'll be ready to view homes without wasting time. Here are some tips for buying real estate in a city where you don't currently live.
Plan a Visit to Scope Out the Area
Unless you have to move on the spur of the moment, plan a vacation to your destination city so you can see what it has to offer. While you can research the area online, there's nothing like seeing the different neighborhoods in person. This helps you narrow down the areas of town you might enjoy living in. For instance, you might want the solitude of a suburb or the convenience of living in the city where you can walk everywhere and use public transportation.
Visiting the city also gives you the chance to talk to the locals about good neighborhoods and to meet with a real estate agent to discuss your options. If you won't be moving for many months, it will be too early to look at houses, but a real estate agent can teach you a lot about the local communities, schools, and lifestyle of the new city. Then, you'll have someone you're familiar with when the time comes to start house-hunting.
Connect With a Real Estate Agent Before House Shopping
You may want to plan several short trips to your new city in the months leading up to your move. When you're finally ready to look for real estate to buy, be sure to notify your agent far enough in advance that he or she can develop a plan for showing you homes. You'll want to prioritize the things on your list so the agent knows what homes you're interested in.
For example, price, neighborhood safety, and number of bedrooms will probably be high on your list. Things like having a swimming pool, perfectly landscaped yard, and finished basement may be negotiable. When your agent has a good idea of what you like, then you won't waste your valuable time looking at homes that don't interest you.
Watch Real Estate Listings Online
There are several websites you can follow that list real estate all over the country. Even if you're not moving for many months, it's a good idea to watch homes in your target city. This helps you identify how quickly homes sell and their average price. Over time, you can even tell if prices are decreasing or increasing. You'll also be able to follow homes that are on the market for months or that go on and off the market, as these could have potential problems that eliminate them from your choices. Following real estate listings will also familiarize you with the various neighborhoods in the city, as you can find rankings for crime and distance to shops in the information provided.
Shopping for a new home in a strange city has its challenges, and if it is beyond your comfort level, you could always consider renting for a few months or a year before you invest money in a home you're not sure if you'll like.