There are so many reasons people decide to move to an entirely different part of the country each year, such as:
- A new job or new position within their existing company
- Better weather
- More affordable homes
- Lower taxes
- To be closer to family and friends
- For a better quality of life or lifestyle they enjoy
- Safety and security
That’s just a short list of potential reasons why 26% of homebuyers this year plan to move to an entirely different part of the country than they currently live, according to recent data.
Unfortunately, finding a home you love (and successfully buying it!) can be difficult in your own area, given the current real estate market in many parts of the country. So, as you can imagine, buying one in another area altogether can be even more difficult.
Luckily, the internet has made it much easier to pull this off than it would’ve been years ago. You can not only see the interior and exterior of most houses on the market anywhere you could dream of moving, but you can also get aerial and street-level views of entire cities and towns. It can almost seem like you’ve literally been to an area already, once you finally get there in person and drive around.
While it’s not unheard of for people to buy a house sight unseen, house hunting is best done in person whenever possible. There’s no substitute for actually being in the town, neighborhood and house before you make such a large purchase.
So, if you’re planning on moving to a different part of the country, let’s take a look at some things you should plan on, and budget for, to help you avoid any regrets on your big move.
Most people can’t afford to fly back and forth (or even drive) any time there’s a house they want to see. Unless you have unlimited time and money — and perhaps a private plane — exploring potential places to live needs to be done thoughtfully. You should plan on at least one solid visit to any area you’re considering moving and taking an area tour, and seeing some houses in your price range. But it’s hard to bank on being able to find a house you want in that one trip, and successfully buying it, so you’ll also need to plan and budget for several quick trips to house hunt.
Here are a few pointers to help you make the most of the time and money you have to devote to your out-of-area home search:
- See if you can get a “relocation package” from your employer. This obviously only applies if your move entails taking a job with a new company, or a new position with your current employer. If they’re asking you to move, they’ll probably offer you one without asking. But if you just want to move to a new area, you might be able to negotiate a “relo package” with a new employer in the area, or with your current one if they have offices there. These packages often cover many costs involved with moving, and they also tend to give you some time and money toward taking trips to the area to search for a home.
- Try to focus on one area before you get too serious. Having lots of options and possibilities can be fun, but it can also become costly. Unless you have unlimited time and budget, it can be difficult looking in several different areas hoping to find the right house and overall area. So do as much research as possible, and make a comparison list of pros and cons for the areas you’re considering, so you can narrow down to one area you’d like to move to.
- Find an agent to work with in that area. Having a dedicated buyer’s agent is important when you purchase a home locally, but it’s even more critical when you’re buying somewhere else. A buyer’s agent will be a huge resource beyond just showing you homes you want to see and writing up offers. And considering you may not be in the area full-time during your house hunt, you’ll need someone you trust and who knows what you want and need so that they can let you know when the perfect house hits the market. That way you can take a quick trip, or have them give you a video tour before the house gets scooped up by another buyer. You can always ask for recommendations from people you know in the area, or just browse the internet. But one of the best ways to find a great agent in any area you could think of moving to is to actually ask an agent you know locally!
According to recent data, one out of every four home buyers plan to move to an entirely different part of the country this year. While the internet has made doing so easier than it would’ve been in years past, it’s still important to see the area and houses you’re considering in person.
If you’re one of the 26% of people planning to make an out-of-area move in the coming year, make sure to narrow down where you want to live, see if you can defray some costs by having your employer contribute (if applicable), and find a great buyer’s agent in the area you want to move to, by asking me for a referral to an agent in my network.