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Steps for Successful Long Distance House Hunting

Steps for Successful Long Distance House Hunting
May 11, 2018 wayjamesmarketing

I started this website for very selfish reasons, not knowing then that it would become a beacon for long distance house hunters.

Here’s the short version of my story: I moved to Charlotte 7 years ago and didn’t know anyone but my husband. I didn’t know much about the city of Charlotte either. So I began visiting neighborhoods, on foot.  I went to independent coffee shops and asked people who lived in these neighborhoods where to go to eat, shop, have fun, etc.  I began a friendship with the City of Charlotte.  I pulled all of these fun things together and wrote about them. I linked the fun with the practical like schools and services, and before I knew it had become a great little one stop shop for people wanting to move to Charlotte.  

I am always so happy when the site really helps buyers find the areas where they want to live within a budget they can live with too. Internet research is often the first step for people considering or preparing to move to another city.

It is especially important for long distance house hunters to know what they want as their time to actually look at houses in person will likely be limited. When I am contacted by someone wanting to move to Charlotte we have a very in-depth conversation on what is important to them.  Their lifestyle, family needs for schools and work.  We talk about what kind of houses, neighborhoods, and surroundings they are interested in.  I get to know them as a buyer… is this their forever home, are they looking for a fixer-upper, first time buyer. And of course their time table. We combine all that they want with their budget. 

I am currently working with a couple from the North East.  They will be moving to Charlotte with an elderly parent and no children.  Their #1 priority is to live in a walkable neighborhood.  The house needs to be able to accommodate a couple, an active Octogenarian, and 2 dogs.  They want separate living areas with separate entrances for privacy, a nice back yard and a great front porch.  Their budget top line is 600k.  Together through phone conversations, e-mail correspondence and one visit in person looking at homes and neighborhoods they have honed in on the Chantilly and Commonwealth neighborhoods. 

Travel is something else to factor into the equation. When you are house hunting long distance, consider what your travel budget will be. Your agent should work with you to make your visits efficient and productive yet allow you to enjoy and explore at the same time. Try to give yourself more than just a 2 day weekend so you don’t have to cram too much in at once.

That brings me to my next point. Buyer and agent have to be sympatico. What do I mean?  Buyer has to completely trust the agent in a long distant hunt.  Buyer will have to trust that their agent completely understands their vibe.  Odds are the agent in a long distant hunt will be choosing the house and see it before the buyer does. 

Back to the couple I mentioned I am working with from the North East. They love homes with character just like I do! Totally sympatico! The trust thing is making the process go smoothly. We are both hawkishly watching listings that come on the market. Then, I will go see the house, take pictures and video, and many times even talk to them while I’m walking through the home so I can answer any questions they may have.  Ultimately in this fast moving market, my long distant buyers will make a decision to place an offer on a house they probably won’t see until they are under contract.  

I have done this many times over the years and so far it has worked out great!  It’s all about the relationship, communication and trust between agent and buyer.  I know what it’s like to have to find a house while you are living far away. I can help you walk through the process and make it actually fun! Give me a shout by email at or by phone at 704.330.8326.