Shopping for a home can be a long and frustrating process. When you factor in looking for a home when you are hundreds or even thousands of miles away can complicate things even more.
According to Estelia Mesimer, a St. Petersburg’s realtor for over twenty years, first make the Internet your friend when searching for a real estate agent. Choosing the right agent can make or break the long distance house hunting experience. You need someone who lives in the area, is familiar with neighborhoods and prices, is a skilled negotiator and who is readily available to answer all your questions.
Three Long Distance House Hunting Tips
Know Your Needs and Preferences: As part of your long distance house buying strategy, you should always have a running list of features you want. Figure out exactly what you want out of a house and location. This will allow your agent to help you narrow down neighborhoods and homes more easily, and assist you in making an offer quickly, especially important in today’s fast-moving market.
Budget Money for Travel: If possible, plan a visit or two before moving to your new location. This will give you the chance to meet your realtor face to face and have her show you around various neighborhoods. This strategy will allow you to familiarize yourself with the area and make a more informed home buying decision. Additionally, the visit will give you the opportunity to explore local restaurants, shopping centers and transportation options. A travel budget is also important for any last minute travel related to the sale and purchase of your new home.
Hire the right moving company: Before hiring a moving company, you need to start researching the moving companies at least two or three weeks in advance. You will have plenty of time to compare the moving quotes with time until your move. Ask friends, coworkers, family and local real estate agents for recommendations. You could also look on the internet to find the moving companies near your home. Getting quotes from multiple companies helps you to get detailed quotes on your inventory and the service offered. Comparing your options of the moving service side-by-side is the best option.
In-Home Estimate: When you have found three or four moving companies, call them for in-home estimates. Make sure to ask them whether the company offers written binding estimates or binding not-to-exceed estimates. Estimates for moving your belongings are based on the weight of the items and distance of the move. When moving your items within the state, the rules and estimation could vary based on hourly rates.
Customer Service and Cost: While nothing beats customer service and credibility when it comes to hiring a moving company, the second most important factor is price. Look for companies that offer good deals but be cautious of this as well. If the price sounds too good to be true, in most cases, these companies end up being scams or offer extremely low-quality.
Never Pay a Large Deposit: Reputable movers won’t demand cash or a large deposit before moving. You should only pay upon delivery. If you pay in advance, you have no control over when you will see your belongings again. When you do pay, use a credit card to help protect you from possible fraudulent activity.
Check Credentials and Be Sure the Company is Bonded: A moving company should have an active authority status in regards to their FMCSA licensing and insurance. Do not chose a company that is still in an application-pending state. Movers are required to have bodily-insurance, property damage and cargo insurance filed to cover the entire amount of your move. Find out if there are any other names the company “does business as,” as well as their state and federal license numbers. Search online to see if there are complaints about the company.
Making the Best Decision with No Regrets
Buying a home long-distance can be an attractive, time-saving option – after all, we buy things “long-distance” every time we shop Amazon. However, what is critical to this buying process is finding the right real estate agent. Having an agent you can trust, who can communicate for you and seek out the best home for you can make or break the transaction. Happy house hunting!
4 Tips for Long-Distance House Hunting
Out of State: A Practical Guide to Long-Distance Real Estate Investing, by R.M. Andrews
The Millennial Way Home – An Invested Millennial Guide on buying Your First Real Estate Property, by Jeremy Kho