Moving to a new city is exciting, but it also has challenges. If your new city is more than a couple of hours from your current home, then house hunting might be one of those challenges. How do you go about finding a home from a distance? We've helped plenty of out-of-town buyers find lovely Richmond homes for sale. Along the way, we've compiled a few tips.
- Make Sure You're Ready
When shopping for a home from a distance, you often need to make quick decisions. You may need to say "yes" or "no" to a home without waiting for that weekend's open house. You may need to decide, within a day or two, whether you're interested in a home outside of the first neighborhood you were looking in.
These decisions will be easier if you sit down and make sure you are completely ready to buy a home before you start looking. Apply for mortgage pre-approval, decide what month you want to move, clarify terms with your employer, and so forth.
- Find the Right Real Estate Agent
You'll be relying on your real estate agent to be your eyes and ears on the ground. So, you want to hire a real estate agent who is used to working with remote clients. When interviewing various agents, ask how comfortable they are with video conferencing technology. Make sure they are comfortable navigating remote document signing software, too.
You also want an agent who knows the area well. Since you're not there and may not be overly familiar with the area, you will be relying on your agent to know which neighborhoods suit your needs, what the market is like in certain towns, and so forth. Search through our real estate agents and see how they'll be able to help with your house hunt.
- Research the Area
Read up on the cost of living in the city you're moving to. Research various neighborhoods and what they have to offer. As you learn more about the area, you can start to create a short list of neighborhoods where you would prefer to buy a home. Provide this list to your agent, and ask them for more information on your desired areas.
- Use Cost of Living to Inform Your Budget
Setting a budget when house shopping in a new city can take some work. First, you want to see what various homes are selling for in certain neighborhoods. However, you also need to consider the cost of living in the new city. You can do this by creating a mock budget.
Based on the cost of living, write down how much you expect to spend on groceries, utilities, fuel, and other needs. Subtract these costs from your monthly income. How much of what is left can you afford to spend on housing? From this number, you can work backward and determine how much house you can afford.
- Be Flexible
It's always good to be flexible when buying a home, but even more so when you're shopping remotely. You may not find a home that checks every one of your boxes, but you may find one that checks 9 out of 10. You may not find a home in your top-choice neighborhood, but your agent may recommend one that you like even more. Make plans and lists, but be willing to change them as needed if your information and goals change.
Follow the tips above to successfully find a home in a different city. If you're looking for a home in the Richmond area, please contact us soon. Our real estate agents have experience working with out-of-town buyers and can simplify the process for you.