Buying a house is both exciting and stressful, but it’s uniquely challenging when you’re completely unfamiliar with the area and hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles away.
Planning a move to the Chicagoland or Northern Illinois region? Our talented agents at Baird & Warner are highly experienced and possess in-depth knowledge about every aspect of this market. We can quickly help you find the perfect neighborhood and a home that has all the amenities your family craves.
If you’re facing a cross-country move, check out our guide to creating a successful relocation strategy — and why it’s vital to partner with a local real estate expert you can trust.
Doing Your Due Diligence
The first and most important step is doing substantial research into your destination, as early as possible. Three to six months out (or more) should be enough time to get the ball rolling and ensure you have enough funds for your new home and moving expenses.
Different states sometimes have vastly different customs and regulations, and it’s easy to experience culture shock if you’re unprepared, especially if you’re moving from a rural area to a big city or vice versa.
Thankfully, there are plenty of digital options available to find just about everything you need. Social media and locally-focused websites will be a treasure trove of useful information. Google Street View is quite convenient for letting you see what almost any location looks like online.
Working with a skilled buyer’s agent that’s intimately familiar with the area will make your transition much easier, as they can introduce you to insider information you may not be able to find easily elsewhere.
Here are some items to discuss with your agent regarding potential new places to live:
- Cost of living
- School districts
- Access to shopping, dining and healthcare
- Walking, biking and public transportation options
- Traffic and commutes
Your real estate pro will point you in the right direction and save you valuable time and effort. They’ll also assist with finding local mortgage lenders and other important service providers.
Creating Your Relocation Strategy
Not everyone enjoys making schedules, budgets and checklists, but these tools are invaluable for a big undertaking such as a long-distance move.
Ask your local agent how long it typically takes to find a home in your new market. Some areas have a great deal of inventory so you’ll have a plethora of choices — and some cities have sky-high demand and little availability, which means it could take longer to discover something that works.
Be aware that after your offer is accepted, the closing process can take 40-60 days, during which a lot of wheels are in motion. While virtual closings became more popular during the pandemic, you may be required to attend, depending on the requirements of the title company you work with.
Your relocation timeline depends on these sorts of factors, as well as sourcing and booking a moving company, as their schedules often fill up fast.
Putting your finances in order and knowing exactly how much you have to work with will make it easier to determine your overall budget for relocating and buying a new home.
Online mortgage calculators and your lender will give you a solid idea of the total amount you can borrow, what your monthly payment will be, the necessary down payment and closing costs.
For the move itself, you’ll need to factor these costs into your overall budget:
- How much stuff you have
- How far you’re going
- Labor costs or truck rental
- Special packing for musical instruments, heirlooms and other fragile items
- Fuel, food and lodging during the trip
- Turning on utilities at your new place
- Cleaning services or supplies
Getting rid of clutter, selling your car and adopting a more minimalist lifestyle can all help you save money when it comes to a long-distance move. Consult with your trusted agent for additional tips on what to expect when you arrive.
Once your financial paperwork is in order, you should go ahead and get preapproved for a mortgage loan. With your preapproval letter, you can start looking for a house in earnest with the assistance of your local real estate expert.
Taking the Final Steps
Ideally, you would be able to travel to your new city, meet with your agent, and enjoy an in-person look at available properties. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible, especially if you’re facing some urgency. With the help of modern technology, you can take a virtual tour of almost any listing.
When you find the perfect residence, your team will guide you through making an offer, getting a home inspection and making it through the closing process. Your big moving day will be there before you know it!
Your local real estate agent is completely on your side, and they’ll be glad to help you get all the resources you need to make a relocation strategy that truly works.
Find Your Dream Home Anywhere
Whether you’re moving to the Chicago area, the southern Gulf Beaches, or the wide-open spaces of the West, you need a skilled and knowledgeable real estate team in your corner that has your best interests at heart.
Baird & Warner is one of the nation’s largest independent brokerages, and we’ve been helping people like you realize their homeownership dreams for over 160 years. We’re experts at guiding buyers through this journey, and we’re ready to help you — give us a call today!