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How to have a successful long distance house hunt

Blog by Kim Twohey | June 7th, 2017

Moving to a new city or town can be a challenging time but your house hunt can still be fun, even if you are doing the majority of it from a distance.  Here are a few tips for a successful long distance house hunt.

Work with a qualified Realtor

Do your research and interview a few different qualified Realtors to find the best fit for you and your situation.  Look for a Realtor who is an Accredited Buyer’s Representative and who has additional relocation-specific credentials.  When interviewing potential Realtors, ask questions such as

  • Have they previously worked with long-distance buyers?
  • What services do they offer to help facilitate a long-distance house hunt and the actual move?
  • Are they willing to use methods of communication such as FaceTime or Skype?
  • If there is a time difference, can the Realtor be available at times that are convenient for you?
  • If you travel to look at homes, can the Realtor commit to spending a significant amount of time together when you are there?

Talk to your Realtor

Once you have selected a Realtor, set aside some time to really talk with them to share your needs, wants, deal breakers, and must-haves.  The more information your Realtor has early on in the process, the more they can narrow the search to homes that are the best fit for you and your budget.

When you are talking with your Realtor, let them know more about your lifestyle, hobbies, family members, workplace, and other personal preferences.  With this information, your Realtor can identify neighbourhoods that you might like or areas of the city that would be a good fit for you. 

Look online

When house hunting from another city, the internet will be an invaluable resource.  Most house hunters look up listings of houses for sale to get a peek inside so they can assess the layout and general condition of the home.  Google maps can give you an idea of what the area looks like surrounding the home as well as businesses, amenities, and major roadways that are nearby.  While this is a great place to start, do not stop there!  Get to know your new city, town, or preferred neighbourhood by checking out local websites and Facebook groups.  In local Facebook groups, ask current residents what they like about the area.  This can help you to quickly identify features and benefits alongside any issues that are concerning existing community members.     

Connect with local utility companies

This may seem a bit premature, but just trust me that this step will be worth your while.  Before you purchase a house, contact the local utility companies to find out about rates, promotions, how to set up a new account, and expected wait times for transferring the account and related services to a new homeowner.  You can also find out about connection fees, payment options, and estimated annual costs so that you can adjust your budget accordingly.  When you buy a house and need to set up utility accounts, you will be better prepared and this will help the process run much more smoothly and efficiently. 

Plan a visit

Work with your Realtor to plan your visit.  Make sure your Realtor can set aside time for you during your stay.  Decide how many houses you would like to tour and work together to narrow down a list of the homes that check off the most boxes on your wish list.  A great Realtor will help you plan out your visit in advance by recommending accommodations in or near your desired neighbourhood.  During your visit, ask your Realtor to take you to your future workplace, school, or other areas where you will be spending a significant amount of time.  When you are in town, focus on your house hunt and avoid tourist attractions and other points of interest.  There will be plenty of time for sightseeing once you are settled into your new home!

Moving to a new city or town requires planning, research, and a little bit of patience.  Together with a qualified Realtor, the experience can be successful and fun!  If you are getting ready to move to Calgary, I would love to help you find your pathway home.  Contact me to learn more about Calgary, the local real estate market, and how I can help you.