The best part of moving to a new town or city is the newness of the whole thing. There’s something about a “fresh start.” Getting to know the area, amenities, finding a new favorite restaurant, new parks, new people, and a new lifestyle is exciting!
For many, the most challenging part of relocating to a new area is finding a place to live, a new home for your family. Especially if your new town is a significant distance from where you currently live. It is a challenge that is, thankfully, but there is help!
Obtaining the Services of a Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents talk real estate 7 days a week. From not just talking about or viewing online like most of us do, but actually seeing listings of homes i person, knowing neighborhoods, schools, etc…your number one source of neighborhood information should be your real estate agent. Have you chosen one yet? If not, let’s take a look at some suggestions for finding an agent in a new area.
Check out real estate agent websites
Please be aware that when you do an online search for “real estate agents in” whatever city you’ll be moving to, the first search page results will be filled with the big real estate aggregator sites, which are useless for your purposes. Same thing can be true if you search, “homes for sale in” your city. These are paid for ads or large national companies that due to being so large maintain high page rank on the search engine.
Keep scrolling down the page until the actual agents’ sites start appearing in the search results. You may have to view several pages of search engine results to find a handful of agents to consider.
Take a deep dive into the websites, looking for someone who offers lots of local as well as neighborhood information. Since you’re new in town, this information is vital in helping you find your ideal neighborhood.
Call the agents
Calling the agent for the first time is an important step in the process as it presents the first “test” of whether or not to work with the agent. You’ll find that much of the time you’ll get an agent’s voicemail.
If you find an agent that does or one that responds almost immediately to a text (or email), give him or her extra points. Leave a concise voicemail telling the agent that you will be relocating to his or her area and need help finding a house. Don’t forget to leave your phone number and the best time to reach you.
*Quick Tip* I know from personal experience, if I am out showing houses or in a closing, for example, that I can respond almost immediately to texts and emails. If in a meeting, I might not be able to pull that voicemail and listen to it in detail, but I can return a text in seconds! This might also be a follow up you make. Leave a voicemail and then text the agent too!
Deduct points for any agent that takes over three hours to return your call and disregard any agent that doesn’t get back to you within 24 hours of your initial call.
What do their past clients say about them? I’m not talking about just looking at the sterling reviews they list on their agent website, but online what are their clients saying? Zillow for example has review moderation process they go through to make sure that once a review is posted on an agent profile that it is genuine, as to provide the highest level of benefit to home buyers and sellers looking for agents on Zillow. Google reviews are another source.
Get to Know the new Area
The problem with being an “outsider” is that it’s difficult to know which neighborhoods suit your lifestyle.
Sure, you can go online, do a Google or Apple Maps search and check out the surrounding areas, but that really doesn’t tell you about what it’s like to actually live in the different areas of a given town or city. That type of knowledge is best obtained by asking people who actually live in the area.
Visits to the destination of your future move before actually moving into the area present the best opportunity to get a feel for what it will be like to live there. Even if you can’t visit, however, you should consider using the Internet and your agent to research the following items, if you think they are important to you:
- Cost of living
- Home prices
- Commute times
- Crime rates
Two of the biggest things home buyers tell me they want to focus on related to a purchase are schools and commute. Make sure not forget to determine commute times from the neighborhoods you’re interested in and the cost of parking if you’ll work downtown. These outlays can add significantly to the cost of living in a new market.
While most people will tell you that finding a house when relocating to a new area is stressful, don’t believe it. With the right real estate agent to guide you, it should be an adventure!
Call me if you’d like a referral to an agent in your new hometown of if might help you in Northeast Georgia! I’m happy to help.