It’s never easy to find the perfect new home so looking for one, when you’re not living in the same city, is even harder.

But finding a home from afar is done every day by people changing jobs, retiring or just deciding life would be better elsewhere. Here’s how to find a great property when you’re looking long distance.

Hire Jean!

I am an invaluable resource for out-of-towners looking for a home. I know the neighborhoods that will fit your budget and your lifestyle. I will direct your online search and create a viewing tour of several properties for you to see.

Search online

After learning your criteria, I will set up an online search of your target area. We will narrow your search by home type, price, number of bedrooms and more. If you know the area where you’d like to be, we can plug in a zip code and pull up current listings and recent area sales. I will also set you up with an account where you can access the multiple listing service yourself. 

Google Earth gives you a street view of the home’s exterior, yard and other houses on the block. And Yelp is a source for info about nearby businesses which can provide clues about the neighborhood. You can check neighborhood blogs to get a feel for what current residents are thinking about. Pay particular attention to comments about crime and noise.

Tap social media

Alert your hundreds of Facebook and Snapchat friends that you’re looking for a home in the Jacksonville area, and ask about must-see neighborhoods. If good schools are your priority, tell your social media contacts; if nightlife is a must, mention that, too.

Note which neighborhoods are recommended again and again, and which areas are repeatedly slammed. That will help you narrow your search.

Get organized

Create a spreadsheet of potential neighborhoods and properties, complete with the address, you want to see. If you have kids, make a column listing schools and their ratings. You can also note nearby amenities like parks and pools, and include the distance from your new employer.

Plan a trip

You can’t get a real feel for a neighborhood until you visit in person. Plan a long weekend to check out homes and areas you think will be a good fit. If you give me enough notice, I can create a tour of prospective properties that will include homes and areas you are interested in.

Before you arrive for your house-hunting tour, make the non-negotiable decisions like your price range, style of home, number of bedrooms and bathrooms. But stay flexible about other home details, like flooring or cabinet style — details that can changed or added later.

Opt for short-term housing

If you’re not sure you’re ready to buy, consider a short-term rental to give you time to get to know the area. Many companies even will pay for temporary housing while you look for a home. It gives you a chance to know the lay of the land.