long distance house hunting


Regular house-hunting isn’t always easy, but adding distance into the mix can present challenges you don’t have when looking a few neighborhoods over for a new home. While it may not be a walk in the park to buy a home from far away, it is possible. If you find a great agent and follow these steps, you can take away some of the stress that comes with long-distance house hunting.

Start Your Research

Knowing what is in your neighborhood is something we tend to take for granted. You know where the best sushi place is and exactly what grocery store is closest to your home for those last minute runs. When moving to a new neighborhood, especially in a new state, it is key to decide what is important to you when it comes to proximity. Does your new house need to be near a park for your kids? Do you need to be 5 minutes from the closest Starbucks? You’ll also want to look into crime rates and school ratings if you have children. Researching your potential neighborhoods will help you feel better about choosing a new home that may be far away.

Use Technology To Your Advantage

Google Maps may not be constantly updated, but checking out an aerial view can give you an idea of what your neighborhood looks like if you don’t have the opportunity to travel right away. Getting the lay of the land is just another way to feel comfortable about your new neighborhood.

Have a Travel Budget

Even if you have a great agent showing you as many homes as possible, you need to plan for the possibility of making more than one trip to your future home state if you want to see it in person. While you may have adjusted your budget already to purchase a home, consider factoring in travel costs so you aren’t stressed about eating out or gas money during your trips – that way you can focus on finding your dream home.

Decide Your Non-Negotiables

Choosing a home from out of town already comes with challenges. If you’re heading in to check out houses and have a weekend filled to the brink with potential home tours, it will make your life easier if all of those homes meet your requirements. Instead of seeing all homes that ‘might’ fit, have your agent remove any houses that have a non-negotiable feature – whether that is no backyard or not enough bathrooms. It will make the most of your time and remove some of the stress of seeing homes that aren’t for you.

Landscape Your Way to Better Curb Appeal

You have just one chance to make a great first impression to your potential buyer, and a neat and tidy front-yard landscape makes sure they’ll be impressed. The National Association of Realtors says that 63% of buyers will do a drive-by to see a home after they’ve looked at it online. When they do, you’ll get that one chance. Your front landscaping needs to reflect on the potential buyer what they can expect inside, too. A well-maintained front yard means a well-maintained home.

Here are just a few ways to transform your front landscape into something that makes your potential buyers want to inspect your home further:

1. Flowers of Course


The sight and scent of healthy flowers make your yard – and therefore your home – seem welcoming and well cared for. You don’t need a lot of space, and you can even utilize planters instead of digging into your current landscaping to add flowers. Choose bright, happy colors, and keep the look of your planters similar for a more cohesive look. If you want to plant flowers in the ground, make sure you look into municipality rules and homeowners association rules before you do.

2. Walkways With Personality


A plain front walkway is just boring. Add a bit of style by edging the walkway with easy to care for hostas, and choose something other than basic cement for the walkway itself. Flagstone and pavers give your front walk personality and are easy to install and upkeep. Consider adding some solar walkway lights, too, for added appeal.

3. Patio Appeal


The addition of a small front porch or patio will give you a place to sit and read the paper while saying hello to the neighbors. Surround the patio with flowers, or a low hedge to add a feeling of intimacy without seeming unfriendly. While this isn’t a fast or inexpensive project, it will be seen as a benefit for those buyers who love spending time outdoors.

4. Groundcover for Slopes


A grassy slope can be a lawnmower’s nightmare, so keep it easy by planting a pretty groundcover and letting it grow and expand, or choose the slope as a place to plant your flower garden. Mix and match groundcovers, grasses, and annuals with beautiful stones for an unforgettable garden with unbelievable curb appeal.

5. Let Nature Lend a Hand


Utilize flowers, plants, and landscaping materials that are naturally occurring in your region. Plant a butterfly or dragonfly garden with your region’s species in mind. Add a bird bath to enhance the look and the enjoyment of watching the wildlife.

6. Don’t Forget The Green


Tall native grasses can add as much to your landscape as flowers, so don’t forget to mix in the greenery, too, for a variety of textures and colors.

7. Indoor Appeal


Make sure your landscaping looks as good from the inside as it does on the outside. People normally spend more time indoors than outdoors, so make sure that your front yard is nice to enjoy from through the windows, too.

8. Hedge Your Privacy


For some privacy, create a buffer of plants around your property. Utilize different sizes, shapes, and varieties to add visual interest and appeal.

9. Pretty Up Your Pathways


Utilize containers for plants and flowers along walkways, stairs, and anywhere else that looks like it needs a pick me up. Install some glass bulb waterers for easy maintenance.

10. Use Creative Borders


A curved border adds elegance to your front yard with very little effort. If your yard seems like a large expanse of green, break it up by planting some rows of flowers right through it. Just make sure you allow a few inches on either side of the row for the lawnmower to do its job without ruining the plantings.

11. Don’t Over Do It


If you’re working with a very small yard, be careful not to overdo it. The use of too many types of plants and flowers could overwhelm a small space, so utilize just a few types over and over again.

12. Ranch Home Landscaping


Your landscaping is especially important if you are selling a small ranch home, which is generally very ordinary looking. Your great landscaping will set your home apart from the sea of similar homes. Don’t be afraid to call attention to your home by the use of a white or ornamental arbor to mark the entrance.

13. Use Bold Elements


Bold elements can really make a statement in your landscaping. When building in these bold elements, be sure they fit with the type of home you already have. For instance, the walkway of a small ranch home would look out of place flanked by dramatic spiral-pruned junipers.

14. Balance is Everything


If you have an intricate walkway created with a distinct brick pattern, go for a similar level of intricacy in your landscaping. Use color to your advantage by blending your gardens with the color of your home, and using a few contrasting colors for interest.

15. Perimeter Planters


If you have a grand front porch, call attention to it by placing railing planters filled with gorgeous flowers all around the perimeter – and don’t forget the stairs, too!


87% Of Buyers Purchased Real Estate Through An Agent Or Broker In 2018

Between the historic inventory shortage, intense competition, and rapidly rising prices, navigating the real estate market in 2018 was a real challenge for buyers—and that’s why the vast majority of them partnered with real estate professionals for their home search.

According to the 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors, 87% percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker. The main reason? Buyers wanted an agent to help them find the right home for them and their families (52%). An overwhelming percentage of those buyers were satisfied with their experience (90% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others).

The Takeaway: If you’re thinking about purchasing a home in the upcoming year, make sure you work with a qualified real estate professional. There’s a reason nine out of 10 buyers partner with an agent or broker to find and purchase their dream home!