Moving across the country, whether for employment opportunity or family reasons, can be a daunting endeavour. However, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, although it can be challenging at times, we live in an age where technology has made the world a smaller place which makes moving across the country - or the world for that matter - far less difficult.
Goslett provides a few tips for buyers who are looking to find the right property during a long distance search in an unfamiliar market:
Make use of the internet: Nine out of ten buyers will begin their property search online whether buying in the same neighbourhood or on the other side of the country. This is because buyers are able to access a massive amount of information within a short period of time and within the comfort of their own home. Goslett says that buyers will be able to find information about the cost of living in certain neighbourhoods, the average price of the homes available and what kind of amenities and schools are in and around the area.
Look beyond the photos: In many cases agents have loaded virtual tours of their listed homes. This way a buyer can browse through the home without actually having to go there in person. In addition, sites such as Google Maps are highly useful to get an idea of the home’s street view and surrounding elements. “Certain agents have used drones to video the home from an aerial perspective, which allows the buyer to get a bird’s eye view of the property’s ground and the surrounding neighbourhood,” says Goslett.
It is all about the timing: The property market is cyclical with the phases moving up and down over a period of time. Each areas experiences a different market phases at a different time, depending on external influences that may have an impact. For example, Goslett explains that an area may experience an upward surge in home values due to the opening of a new shopping mall or university. When searching for property, buyers should take these cycles into account and search strategically.
Make use of your network: Social media is a great way to let everybody know about the home search. The more people that know within your network the better, because there might just be someone who knows of a good opportunity in the area you are moving to. “If friends or family are already living in the area, it is helpful to have them take a look at the property in person to get a feel of the home and spot anything that the virtual tour may have missed,” advises Goslett.
Make a strategic visit: While not always possible, it is best to plan a visit to the area before moving there. This will enable the buyer to drive through and explore different neighbourhoods in person. An agent will also be able to create a schedule of showings and tours of the neighbourhoods in which the buyer is interested in, in order to maximise the time spent in the area.
“Regardless of whether the home search is local or countrywide, the most important aspect to any successful home search is working with a reputable, experienced real estate professional. An agent who specialises in the buyer’s area of interest will ensure that the home search is a far smoother process,” Goslett concludes.