Buying a home long distance....advice?

Asked by Elisabeth, Houston, TX Wed Dec 31, 2008

We're relocating to the Tampa area from Texas, and planning to purchase a home. What strategy can you recommend for home shopping long distance? I know it begins with finding a trustworthy realtor. However, I'm still trying to work out the logistics. When you've worked with long distance clients, how did you structure their visits? Maximize their time in town? Make sure that no opportunities were missed? Thanks.

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David Chambe…, , Saint Petersburg, FL
Wed Dec 31, 2008
I don't show homes in Tampa, I am across the bridge in St Petersburg and get a lot of out of town clients. here is what I do and think your agent should do for you:

1. Set you up on a daily mls update with your criteria.

2. Call you daily to see what you think about the properties.

3. Preview properties for you. Take more pictures of them, report to you the condition.

4. Email the results.

by the time you get here the agent should have a good idea of the homes you like. Don't worry if a house is sold in the meantime it will happen, there are a lot of homes to choose from.

don't take a referal agent if they are taking a fee from the agent.

Look on trulia for tampa agents, look at their answers to questions and decide if one of them has the character you are looking for then call them. Also check out their blog and make sure they are not one of those Buy,Buy,Buy agents. I don't sell houses I let them sell themselves this may cost me business but I always have happy clients, I think it would be wise to choose an agent with similar qualities.
2 votes
Stephen Fritz, Agent, Houston, TX
Wed Dec 31, 2008
I have a great realtor friend in Tampa who could help you. I normally begin my relocations with an in depth history of what you used to own and what you are now looking for. What features are most important and what you could live without if you had to. The realtor should also educate you as to what to expect in that area in that price range, the schools. parks, etc.... He or she could then start emailing you properties to view and you could start preparing a list for when you get there.
1 vote
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Wed Dec 31, 2008
RECOMMENDATION to assist you work with realtors:

I am a Dallas reatlor work with many relo's or investors across the county. We offer the following services on behalf of client:

a) Interviw client for specifications
b) MLS search forward homes based on item a
c) We work in concert with client narrow items down per item b
d) Tour home on their behalf take as many pic's/video with narrative of your findings, pic's include street shot of entire area, and etc.
e) Communicate your findings with buyer
f) Upon your arrival we schedule properties where we all agree if you dont like property close door and move on max. time spent on ones you like for a repeat visit later during your visit.
h) If any properties you dont like OR perfer to add more to tour we have laptop and etc. therefore we can search immediately while we are out.
i) We recommend for clients to start early 9 am go till sunsets.

Hope that assist you while you choose realtor in that area.
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0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Wed Dec 31, 2008

A lot can be accomplished through email communications and being sent sample properties. It is important that as the agent sends you samples you offer feedback. This is critical in helping the agent to zero in on your preferences.

If the preliminary work is done efficiently, you will be able to narrow your search down and identify priority homes that you definitely want to see. The key is to accomplish as much as you possibly can before making your visit to preview property.

It is imortant to bring a camera and take pictures of the homes you will be previewing since it is common, when seeing a number of homes, to become confused. Pictures, MLS information and personal notes will come in handy.

Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions.

Best regards & Happy New Year

Susan & Bill Eckler
Michael Saunders & Company
0 votes
Isaac Bensus…, , 92037
Wed Dec 31, 2008
In San Diego where I work, once that my Buyers give me their ideal specifications for the home they are looking for, I search for them in every available site that I belong to, including of course the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and at the end of my search, I am always surprised to find maybe 10 homes at the most that might meet their expectations.

When my clients are ready to come to town to look at the properties that I selected for them, I like to have at least 48 hours in advance so I can make appointments with the Sellers of the selected homes. If I am going to show 10 homes, I prefer to show 5 at the most per day. Many times it is useful to take photos of the homes you like in order to make a decision.

Of course, every Realtor has its own style. Good luck in your search.
0 votes
Jeff, , Virginia Beach, VA
Wed Dec 31, 2008
Take a look at this thread. It seem to be a cautionary tale to me. Basically, you need good advice, but you need to really carefully evaluate the area yourself.…

Of course, a higher end neighborhood will be somewhat easier to evaluate, but not always.

Don't forget Google usually has good aerial maps and streetview maps.
0 votes
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