There are a number of reasons that a person may have to move to an unfamiliar area - a job offer, family obligations, or just wanderlust. But finding a place to live without being on the ground in the new city or town can be a daunting task. Because these shoppers can’t spend as much time touring homes in person, it’s more important than ever to get as much information as you can about the community and about a home before making a final decision. SetSchedule CEO Roy Dekel advises those who are looking for a home remotely to be extremely selective when hiring a real estate agent. This is the time to ask questions, interview multiple agents, and check references. Tools like SetSchedule will help shoppers connect with agents in the area, as will other websites that list profiles for real estate agents. Be prepared to interview multiple agents in the same way that you would if you were hiring an employee. Your real estate agent will be your eyes and ears, and remote home shoppers need to be especially careful to find someone they can trust. “Some agents may try to push properties that aren’t a good fit, because you’re remote,” said. Mr. Dekel. “So it’s important that you pick the right professional.” To begin your search, it’s best to start by utilizing the technology at hand. Personal references are best, but without knowing anyone personally who lives in the area, many home shoppers will be at a loss for where to find a quality agent. But similarly, Mr. Dekel cautions against over-relying on reviews, which can be biased or staged to make an agent look better. The better option is to speak with references from the agents, asking specifically about the information that is most important to you. By talking to more than one agent, you will not only be able to pick the one that is the best fit and most knowledgeable about the area you will soon be calling home, but you will also get a complete picture about the community. “You should plan to talk to three realtors, and balance the advice from all three of them,” Mr. Dekel said. “Once you cross-reference the advice, you’ll get a better profile of the neighborhood.” Some examples: As the real estate agents about the street a home is on. Are there a lot of basketball hoops? Does the agent see a lot of children out on the street? How busy is the road where the home is located - is it a main thoroughfare, or a quiet residential street? These sorts of questions will help you feel out the neighborhood, and get a sense for whether it would be a good fit for your family. Besides the real estate agent, Mr. Dekel said that the next most important professional to select is a trustworthy inspector. A home inspector will give you all the information you need about the “under the hood” issues that otherwise may not be apparent - information that is even more vital if you can’t personally tour the home, or can only make a quick visit. Rather than relying solely on the inspector’s report, Mr. Dekel recommends choosing an inspector who will walk you through their findings and explain what they mean. “There may be some mold issues, or other small issues that will affect your ability to live comfortably in the home,” Mr. Dekel explained. “”If you just get an inspection report, and it’s not explained to you right, and you didn’t get a chance to thoroughly tour the property, you may miss some things that will make you unhappy.” Although many people rely on the home inspector suggested by their real estate agent, the inspector’s job may sometimes be in opposition to the agent’s interests, particularly if the inspector finds issues with the home that would dissuade a buyer. For that reason, it’s recommended that a potential buyer hire their own home inspector to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. Once the home has been inspected and the neighborhood and community are confirmed to be a good fit, all that’s left is to enjoy your new home.
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