images-2What’s even scarier than moving to a different city, is purchasing a home before you’ve even lived in that city yet. The first thing you should do is decide what you want to do. Do you currently own a home, and no longer want to deal with lawn maintenance? If so, perhaps you should consider a townhouse where you pay a monthly fee and the HOA takes care of it for you. Or, maybe you decided that you want a huge yard. Whatever the case may be, you must figure out what is important to you in a house before you begin the hunt.

Equally as important, you should figure out what is important to you in terms of a neighborhood. Do you want to live in a busy area? A quiet area? Perhaps you haven’t ever cared whether you have a garage, but you are moving to a place where it snows or has a big rainy season. Your values might change when it comes to amenities, depending on the climate that you are moving to. images-1

You should hire a real estate agent as soon as possible, as you are going to be completely unfamiliar with the area, aside from the fact that you won’t be purchasing locally. You’ll want someone who knows what they are doing, and who can educate you about the area and the market. You want someone who knows the comps like the back of their hand, as well. You do not want to end up in a scary neighborhood.

When do you plan to move? Do you have a little leeway in terms of the amount of time you have to look for a home, or do you need to move right away? Find a time that you can visit, and schedule a day or two for a real estate agent to show you many properties while you are there.

You should absolutely schedule a visit to the city. You’ll want to talk to locals while they are there, and ask their opinions. You’ll also want to do your own research online. Check out what restaurants and entertainment there are in the area you plan to live in, and look them up on review websites or apps like Yelp. Is there a gym? A coffee shop? If you have children, you’ll need to figure out what schools are in the area and if they are good. You’ll also want to know whether or not you can afford them. You don’t want to move to an area where the only two schools are frightfully expensive, and end up having to commute every day to bring your child to and from school. You’ll also want to find out if they have any openings. images

You’ll want to have a checklist when searching for homes, and see if they live up to your standards. Some examples when you are searching are:

Is the neighborhood affordable?
Is there a lot of crime?
Is it close to your job, and/or schools?
Are the taxes doable in relation to your income?

Please be sure to visit after you’ve done a fair amount of research and found a good group of housing properties to view. Once you do those things, then it is alright to place an offer. You do not want to end up stuck with a very expensive house that either doesn’t meet your needs, or is in an unsafe location! While you should put faith in your realtor, he or she will not be the one living in the neighborhood or home, and their specifications for where they want to live likely differ from yours.


  1. Erin

    Is it really necessary to visit before I purchase a house? I realize that sounds like a dumb question, but I’ve been to the city I plan on moving to about ten times. I feel I know the area pretty well. Is it really that important?

    • Gary White

      Hi Erin,

      Yes it is necessary. Those times you visited, you likely weren’t looking at homes to purchase. Visiting for work or fun is one thing, but purchasing a house is a big deal. You should visit, and you’ll likely be surprised that you’ll end up wanting to purchase in an area you thought you might not want to live. Good luck!


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