Hunting for the right home is already challenging when it’s in your local area, but shopping from afar can make the process much more complex. And with many sellers avoiding open houses and in-person visits whenever possible, even local house hunting may benefit from some long distance strategies right now! Here are four tips for making the process of shopping for a home in another city or state as easy as possible.

1. Be clear on what you want. When wandering through open houses or browsing online, you may have the flexibility to take an “I’ll know it when I see it” stance on the perfect home. But when hunting from afar, it’s imperative that you know exactly what you’re looking for so you can shop with efficiency. Write a complete list that includes “needs,” “wants,” and “deal-breakers,” and use that to guide your search.

2. Do plenty of research. Doing all your research on the properties you’re considering is a smart idea no matter what kind of house hunt you’re conducting, but it becomes even more important when you’re shopping from afar. Learn as much as you can about the local real estate market in the area you’re hoping to move to. Look up travel times to local places like grocery stores or schools, look up crime rates for the area, look up local news — do whatever you can to get a picture of not just the house itself, but the surrounding area.

3. Take advantage of technology. In a world where we can have food or a car at our doorsteps in minutes thanks to the internet, technology can make a long distance house hunt much more manageable than it was even a decade ago. Make use of Face Time, Zoom, Google Maps, and digital house tours to shift as much of the process online as possible.

4. Make the most of what visits you can manage. No matter how far away you are while shopping, you’ll still want to visit your top contenders before putting in an offer. In order to avoid unnecessary travel and wasted time, be sure that you’re in a position to gain as much information as possible from a trip. Organize your schedule in order to enable you to visit not just the home, but tour the neighborhood as well.

And if you’re considering multiple properties, do your best to schedule your time such that you can visit both in one trip.

In an ideal world, you would be able to visit all your house hunting prospects in person and thoroughly explore them before making any decisions. But for the times when we don’t live in an ideal world, you can make the long distance home shopping process easier with these best practices.

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