How to Handle Long-Distance House Hunting

    We have helped many out of town buyers over the years buy a home here in Indianapolis. It can be very nerve-wracking to buy a home from afar, especially when you don’t know much about your new city. While it may be challenging, it’s not impossible. With the convenience of modern technology and the right real estate agent, long-distance house hunting can still be a pleasant process.

    If you find yourself in this situation, keep these things in mind:

    Do your homework

    The internet is a wonderful thing when it comes to house hunting remotely. Look up neighborhood info, where schools and grocery stores are located, pull up crime rates, etc. Even if you don’t have kids, school ratings are important for re-sale value. Figure out commute times to and from work.

    And do your research on local real estate agents. Find one who knows the local market really well, since they will be your eyes and ears. They should know the city, neighborhood, prices, and should be able to match your needs and wants with the right community. Also find out how the agent operates. Especially if there is a time difference (if you are really far away), they should be available to talk and answer your questions when needed.

    Have a travel budget

    You most likely will have to travel back and forth once or twice before you make the big move. You may come into town for a few days to look at homes in person. If you are able to do so, I’d plan for at least a few days, so you aren’t cramming a bunch of showings that you won’t remember at the end of the day. If you are building, you may have to fly in to pick out counters, tile, flooring, etc. Some may even want to fly to town to be there for the home inspection. Have some money in reserve that you can spend on plane tickets and hotels.

    Know what you want

    Have your list of “must-have, non-negotiable” items for your new home. This will help your agent narrow down your search and place you in the best community for you. This will also allow you to make decisions and offers quickly, which is important in a competitive, fast-moving market. You’ll need to be comfortable making an offer quickly, site-unseen if needed. You won’t be able to fly to town to see it in person fast enough. A local buyer will be able to see it and make an offer before you get here.

    This is where FaceTime and walk-though videos come in handy. We have done this with our out of town buyers, giving them good feel of the layout and finishes through video.

    Overcome your long-distance homebuyer jitters

    For those who are just too nervous to make an offer site-unseen, you can sometime add a clause in the contract saying the offer is contingent on the buyer seeing the home in person. That will likely not beat out other offers in a competitive market, but in certain circumstances it could work.

    There is also the option of moving to town and renting first before making a purchase. There are sometimes short term rental options for a few months, allowing you to settle in and get a feel of the city and neighborhoods.


    Buying remotely doesn’t have to be scary! Keep in mind the excitement of a fresh start in a new city, new people, and new experiences!


    If you have questions about buying a home in Indianapolis or surrounding cities, call the Indy Scene Team today! Your #1 Real Estate Resource.



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