How to Find a New Home in a New Town

How to Find a New HomeWe all know that moving is a ton of work. It takes several weeks of proper planning and organization in order to experience a smooth and stress free process. But I’m not naïve to the fact that sometimes life gets in the way of our planning skills and time seems to slip through our fingers. My first move was one of haphazard planning and poor judgment. Since then, I have learned a lot and I’d like to help you go from panic mode to resting easy if you accidentally let time get away from you.

What’s the most important part of your move? Finding a place to live, of course. So let’s talk home finding. Specifically, let’s talk remote home finding, because if you’re short on time, chances are you may not get a chance to visit your destination.

I recently wrote a post here about RentNet and a guest post over at XONEX Relocation on Zillow. Both of these sites are great for house hunting! You can customize your search by budget, size, location, home type, local attractions and more. After a list is automatically generated with each of your preferences, you will have access to either the Realtor™ or homeowner’s contact information, photographs of the property, a website (if applicable), and details on the square footage, lot size, exact cost, etc.

Another option is one that you’ve probably heard of before: CraigsList. While you don’t have the ability to enter quite as many preferences here, you can use key words in your search and are still able to set a budget and general size requirement. Legitimate posts will offer both external and internal pictures, details on the property, and direct contact information. Some people are really against the idea of using this site to find a home because in some ways it has developed a bad reputation. But I don’t think you should disregard it right away. In all honesty, I found my current apartment on CraigsList and aside from my own unpacking blunders, have loved it.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be careful using solely the Internet to find your new home. There are people out there trying to scam you so you should always ask a lot of questions, research the seller, landlord, or Realtor™, and view recent photographs. If you have friends or family in your destination, ask them to check out the properties you are interested in. This way, you won’t be surprised by something that wasn’t included in the pictures for a reason.

Ideally, you will have a chance to go on a home finding trip. Physically visiting your potential new home is really the only way to ensure you know what you are getting. You will of course have to make the trip at some point to sign the lease or contract, but it’s better to do so before the last minute.

If you start planning enough in advance, you are unlikely to run into this problem, especially because your new home is the most critical piece of the moving formula. But I of all people understand that sometimes plans go out the window, or were never made to begin with in the case of a first move. I’ve given you three options for finding a house without actually being in your new city, but there are many more.

Have you ever found a home online? Share your story with me in the comments below.

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy