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Top tips for long distance home searches

04 Jan 2018

Moving down the road can be a daunting task, never mind across the country. Whether for family reasons or an employment opportunity, it is not uncommon for people to find themselves in a situation where they may have to relocate to another city or town in another region.

While challenging, technology has made the world a smaller place which makes moving across the country - or the world for that matter - far less difficult.

Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, provides a few tips for people looking to find the right property during a long distance search in an unfamiliar market:

Social media is an effective and efficient way to let your network know about the home search. The more people that know, the better, because there might just be someone who is aware of a good opportunity in the area you are moving to.

1. The internet is a great tool

Around 90% of people will begin their property search online whether buying in the same neighbourhood or on the other side of the country. The reason for this is simple - they can access a massive amount of information within a short time frame from the comfort of their own home.

“Online searches can provide information about the cost of living in certain neighbourhoods, the average price of the homes available and what kind of amenities and schools are in and around the area,” says Goslett.

2. Look beyond the photos

Virtual tours are a great way to browse through a home without actually having to go there in person. Also, sites such as Google Maps are highly useful to get an idea of the home’s street view and surrounding elements.

“In some instances, agents will use drones to video the home from an aerial perspective. This allows you to see the property from a bird’s eye view, getting perspective on the property grounds and the surrounding neighbourhood,” says Goslett.

3. Timing is key

The property market moves in cycles, with phases moving up and down over a period. Two areas can experience different market phases during the same timeframe, depending on external influences that may have an impact, such as the opening of a new shopping mall or university.

When searching for property, buyers should take these cycles into account and search strategically.

4. Use your network

Social media is an effective and efficient way to let your network know about the home search. The more people that know, the better, because there might just be someone who is aware of a good opportunity in the area you are moving to.

“If you have friends or family who are already living in the area, it is helpful to have them take a look properties you are interested in to get a feel of the home and to spot anything that the virtual tour may have missed,” advises Goslett.

5. Make a strategic visit

It is not always a possibility, but in an ideal situation, it is best to visit the area before moving there. Visiting an area will give you the opportunity to drive through and explore different parts of the area in person. An agent will also be able to create a schedule of showings and tours of the particular neighbourhoods you are interested in seeing.

“Whether local or on the other side of the country, it is vital to work with a reputable, experienced real estate professional who works in the area. An agent who specialises in your area of interest will ensure that the home search is a far smoother process,” says Goslet
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