5 Tips for Searching for a Home Long-Distance

Searching for a home can be taxing. Searching for a home long-distance carries its own set of challenges. Whether you’re moving across the state or moving across the country, check out these tips to help the process go a bit smoother.

Outline your priorities.

Before you even start your remote home search, make a list of priorities when it comes to your new home. Separate wants from needs, and place each in order of importance. For example, if having two full bathrooms is a MUST-have, then place that high up on the “needs” list. If it would be nice to have a pool (but you could do without), that would fall somewhere on the “wants” side.

Consult this list often when searching for a home long-distance to keep yourself on track.

Do your research.

You may have heard things about the area you are anticipating moving to, but doing your own due diligence to confirm what you’ve heard is always a good idea. And thanks to the internet, it’s easy! Check out municipal and tourism websites and social media pages. Read the news from that region. Look at reputable sources for city data like U.S. News and World Report’s real estate section.

You can also join community Facebook groups, for example, and ask the locals themselves any questions you may have about neighborhoods, schools, city amenities and more.

Work with a Realtor.

We always think working with a Realtor is a good idea, but even more so when you are searching for a home long-distance. Choose a Realtor in the area you will be moving to. You can look at online reviews, or ask those community Facebook groups for recommendations. You can also contact the area’s local association of Realtors to get connected with someone.

Realtors will be knowledgeable about the area and its housing market and will therefore be able to better-assist you with your remote home search. Your Realtor can also visit homes on your behalf and do virtual walk-throughs, take photos and videos to send you, etc.

Take advantage of technology.

Speaking of virtual walk-throughs, technology like this should be your best friend when it comes to remote home shopping. If you’re searching across the country, for example, it’s not feasible to think you’ll be able to make multiple visits to see homes in person. Plus, by the time you get there, they could get scooped up by another buyer.

Ask your Realtor to walk through the home while you’re on FaceTime with them. Browse online listings from trusted sites and rely on high-quality listing photography. Ask if a property has 3D or virtual tour technology available.

Technology also comes in handy when working with your Realtor. He or she will be just a quick text, phone call or FaceTime away when you have questions.

Plan a visit, if possible.

Again, this tip may not be doable for everyone depending on distance and schedules. However, if you can get to the area to get a feel for it in person, doing so will help familiarize yourself with the city and its neighborhoods beyond the limits of online research. If you don’t find your new home while you’re there and you return to remote searching, at least you will have a better idea as to what to look for—and where.

Summary

Searching for a home long-distance doesn’t have to be daunting. Use these tips as a guide, and most importantly—get connected with a local Realtor who can show you the ropes! Keeping reading our blog for more helpful tips for buyers and sellers.

6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Neighborhood

Maybe you’re a longtime local looking for a change. Or, you’re an out-of-town buyer who has a bit to learn about the area. Either way, these questions to ask yourself when considering a neighborhood can have a big impact on your quality of life. Don’t make an offer without running through them first!

Will you be dealing with a Homeowner’s Association (HOA)?

Opinions on HOAs can be mixed. Some love how they ensure that home values stay high in the neighborhood with regulations in place. Others think they can be a little overbearing.

They will also come with additional costs, so you should keep the financial aspect in mind as well. When perusing a potential neighborhood, be sure to ask whether there is an HOA and if so, how that specific HOA operates.

What is the neighborhood close to?

Proximity can be a big advantage—or disadvantage, depending on what’s near your neighborhood.

Grocery stores, schools, and great downtown areas are all a plus. Sewage treatment plants, livestock farms, and highways, on the other hand, can ding your property value—and make life a whole lot more stressful.

It’s always wise to take a drive around the area, just to see if you’ll like where you’ll be living.

What are the schools like?

Speaking of schools—they’re one of the questions to ask yourself when considering a neighborhood. What schools is the neighborhood zoned for, and what are they like?

You don’t even need to have children to benefit from a great school system. The better the education, the higher your home value will be—and it could even make it easier to sell in the future.

Is it safe?

Some neighborhoods are safer than others. Buying a home is a big investment—and you will do yourself a disservice if you don’t determine how safe the area is.

If you don’t know where to start, call the local police departmentand ask them about safety and crime rates.

Is it new construction or an established development?

New construction neighborhoods may be in the development phase for months or years to come. While they offer the advantages of a brand-new house, you may find the construction distracting or overwhelming.

Meanwhile, established developments likely will not have the same level of activity. As a drawback, they may need updating.

How do the other homes look?

The appearance and value of surrounding homes can impact your house’s property value. Take a little time to drive around the neighborhood. You can also look up estimates on nearby homes online.

Summary

The homebuying process can be confusing. Even with these questions to ask yourself when considering a neighborhood to help, you’ll benefit from having expert guidance. That’s why it’s so important to hire a skillful, experienced Realtor who knows the area inside and out.

Well, our members fit the bill! Contact the Lee County Association of Realtors to begin. As for learning more about how to navigate the market, browse our blog here.

10 Numbers to Know About The National Association of REALTORS®

From phone numbers to statistics to followers, numbers matter. Here are 10 numbers to know about the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) that offer industry insights, highlights and more.

1,556,762 members

In this case, it’s one of the record-setting numbers to know about the National Association of REALTORS! Membership is currently at an all-time high for America’s largest trade association.

172 billion

The total number of people reached through NAR’s national and local earned media communications in 2020 was 172 billion. That’s a 36 percent increase from 2019!

40,500 followers

Sometimes being a follower is a good thing—like when it comes to following along with the other 40,500 people on board with the “REALTORS are Good Neighbors” Facebook page.

Did we mention that’s a 30,000-follower increase from last year?

3 billion

As in three billion impressions during NAR’s “That’s Who We R” national consumer advertising campaign in 2020!

1,608 pounds

That’s 1,608 pounds of food donated from REALTOR groups through the NAR’s partnership with the Food Recovery Network, which roughly translates into about 1,340 meals.

$800,000+

And the giving continues with more than $800,000 raised as part of the REALTORS Relief Foundation 20th Anniversary Commemorative Event, Hope Rising.

800,000

In this case, 800,000 refers to the number of members who cumulatively saved more than $75 million from one or more of the products offered through the REALTOR Benefits Program.

$93,800

Every time a house is sold, approximately $93,000 becomes money-in-motion circulating back into the economy.

In fact, the real estate industry accounted for $3.83 trillion in economic activity in 2020, which makes it about 18.3 percent of the U.S.’s total Gross Domestic Product.

235,000 REALTORS

To clarify, there are 235,000 REALTORS with some sort of NAR credentials. Those designations and certifications include everything from Accredited Buyer’s Representative to At Home with Diversity certification.

1-800-874-6500

Finally, out of all the numbers to know about the National Association of REALTORS, this one may be the handiest! For any membership questions or inquiries, you can always call one of their information specialists to help.

Summary

Before we wrap this up, there is one more number we’d like to share: (334) 321-0606. If you are considering becoming a Lee County REALTOR, give us a call to find out more! Or, if you need help locating a REALTOR, we can help with that too. Keep reading our blogs for more real estate industry news and trends!

7 Ways to Save On Your Utility Bills This Winter

Do you ever feel like reading your monthly utility bill drops you right into a cold sweat? You’re in the same boat as millions of other Americans! And, just like them, you can do something to manage the cost with these ways to save on your utility bills this winter.

Dial down the thermostat.

According to ENERGY STAR, 68 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temp to set your thermostat on in the winter when you’re spending time in the house. Then, when you leave, dial the temperature down to around 60 degrees.

Ultimately, these designations will make your system do the least amount of work. That way, you spend less as well!

Remember to turn appliances and lights off.

Lamps. Laptop chargers. Kitchen appliances. The power they use, even when just plugged in, can add up. If you remember to turn them off or even unplug them when you’re not using them,however, you can save some cash.

Wear an extra layer or two.

Instead of dialing up the degrees, walk over to your closet! You won’t have to spend an extra cent when you layer up with sweaters, cardigans, and coats that you already own. Plus, you’ll have cozy winter style covered too!

Along the same lines, throw on some socks or slippers. They’ll keep your feet warm through the day and night—and make it easier to stop yourself from putting a hand on the thermostat.

Make sure everything is sealed.

Hey, do you feel a draft coming in? Just as cold air enters, warm air can escape, making heating your house a costly endeavor.

Take a few minutes to see if your windows and doors are properly sealed. If not, you can call a professional or even fix the issue yourself. The money you’ll save on your bill will make the task well worth it!

Use smart outlets.

Our homes are smart these days! Plug your lights into smart outlets to minimize energy use. Time your outlets to turn on each day only when you need them.

Give the oven some time off.

Your oven uses a whole lot of heat! Instead of turning it on, consider using a toaster oven, a crockpot, or the stove.

Rely on natural lighting.

This is one of the simplest ways to save on your utility bills this winter. All you have to do is open the drapes and let the sunlight seep in!

Summary

Be the coolest one in town when you use these ways to save on your utility bills this winter. Even better, you can spend the saved money on other home projects—or just to treat yourself!

Want more helpful tips? Check out our blog here!

Hoping to buy or sell in the New Year? Our Realtors have that covered too. Contact us to begin.