Carlsbad Real Estate News and Views: 11 Ways to Maximize Your House Hunting Trips When Relocating

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11 Ways to Maximize Your House Hunting Trips When Relocating

How to Maximize Your House Hunting Trips When Relocating


If you are relocating chances are pretty good you will make at least 1 trip to the area to look at homes, and communities, in the flesh, rather than relying on what you are told and finding online. While more people are buying homes sight-unseen, this can be a pretty risky proposition. It’s one thing for a rental property, but quite another for a primary or even vacation home, in my opinion.


Relocation is not for dummiesIf you are coming from a distance your home search in the new area will probably be limited, so make the most of this time by preparing appropriately.


1. As with any home search be as thorough as you can when looking at homes and researching communities (including schools, crime and other matters that are important to your lifestyle). It’s particularly challenging in our current market since you might identify homes you love, only to have them disappear right away.


TIP: Be sure you have a very good sense of what you need in your new home, including the issues that are important for your lifestyle. Ask me about my Buyer Lifestyle Questionnaire.


2. Develop a list of the properties that interest you, and ask your REALTOR® to arrange for you to see these homes, and others that may be suitable given your criteria and budget. You can add new properties that come on the market at the last moment. Your agent will likely have properties to suggest, especially as he or she gets to understand what you want and need.


3. Plan to spend significant time looking at houses and tour as many as you can that make sense for your needs and budget. If you find you are in an area you don't like, let your agent know so you don't waste time going to homes in that area and can cancel those showings.



TIP: Keep an open mind about communities that offer you the lifestyle you seek, even if the home is not perfect. But don’t be afraid to take neighborhoods off the list, either!


Map of the USA4. Take lots of notes in whatever way works best for you. If someone else is involved but not available, you can use Facetime, What’s App, or Skype to share the tour!


Be sure you have a copy of the MLS printout for each house you are seeing so you have all the information.


5. It may be helpful to have your REALTOR® drive so you can explore the area more readily plus have a good Q and A about the homes, market and community.


6. Be prepared to take photos and videos (check with your agent that this is OK) to supplement notes you might be taking. Photos will tell you a lot and help you remember what you saw. Seeing lots of homes in a short period gets confusing, and your own photos will be useful, especially if photos in the MLS listing are lacking.


7. You may find it helpful to rank order homes as you go, and eliminate those that are low on the list right from the beginning, and why that’s the case. Keep track of your favorites and what stands out and why! It’s easy to get confused – sometimes buyers even name the homes as they go in order to remember them.


moving van8. Be sure you take enough time to explore each home, inside and out, unless you know right away it’s not right. There is nothing wrong with deciding a home is definitely off the list if you are sure so you don’t waste time.


You might have a schedule of appointments so check with your Realtor. Be sure you explore a property thoroughly before moving on. And revisit homes that really interest you. Sometimes a second look can confirm what you originally thought, OR you see something you missed the first time.


9. Don’t forget to check out the neighborhood, too, and the larger community – commuting routes, amenities, etc. I advise taking time on your own to do this after your home tour. You’ll have fun playing tourist and will learn a lot.


10. Depending on your personal situation (budget, timing, sale of current home, market conditions), prepare yourself mentally to make a buying decision when you find the right house. This can be hard to do for some buyers, and of course it depends on your circumstances. If you have done your homework, and are working with a great REALTOR®, chances are you’ll find the home you want during your trip, so be prepared to move ahead quickly. This is particularly important when house hunting in a seller’s market where many homes disappear within days, as is happening here in the Carlsbad area.


11. Check to make sure you have a current pre-approval letter for any offer you want to make on your trip, or upon returning home. Put your loan officer on alert in case you need to call/email to get a revised pre-approval letter quickly while traveling if you find the right house.


TIP: Consider having your loan officer call the listing agent of the property you want to buy to review your financial status (only what is not confidential, of course). Ask your agent if a proof of funds (POF) is required for your deposit/down payment; this will be necessary if you are paying cash.


Need more relocation tips? Check out my video series on my YouTube Channel – Relocation Tips and Advice.


Please give me a call at (760) 840-1360). I am happy to help you from start to finish with your relocation here to SoCal, or with a move out of this area. I have moved 4 major times myself, the last move from Boston to California in 2005, and have helped many who have relocated so I understand what you are going through well!


Ask me about my Relocation Checklist

or the Questions You Should Ask Your Movers!


And if you (or someone else you know) are relocating to an area other than SoCal, there are still ways I can assist you. I have a great network of highly qualified agents around the country and can help find you the right Realtor to assist in finding your new home and/or selling your current one, no matter where you are in the US.


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If I can provide more information about homes for sale in Carlsbad and in surrounding areas, our local housing market, or otherwise assist you, friends or family in a home search or home sale, please contact my mobile office or text me at (760) 840-1360, or feel free to email me at

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Solutions Real Estate (CA DRE lic. 01470977)

Comment balloon 26 commentsJeff Dowler, CRS • August 27 2018 04:05AM


Definitely plan early and I would agree with the rest of it to maximize everything and to get yourself to do it early! :)

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) 3 months ago

Excellent tips, Jeff. I work with lots of relocating clients and am always discussing these steps with them.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC) 3 months ago

Good morning Jeff. Great tips for the relocating family! Be prepared to do the work and your Realtor will be ready for you! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) 3 months ago

Thanks Jeff.  This is wonderful advice for those moving to an unfamiliar area.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) 3 months ago

Anyone thinking of relocating to your area should call you

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) 3 months ago

Hello Jeff Dowler,  Another excellent blog by you for people to moving to new area.  Can I report this some time in September?


Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) 3 months ago

Uh oh...I feel a bookmark coming on...great tips for our relocating folks !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) 3 months ago

Jeff these are excellent tips.  It looks like you may have done this a time or two

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) 3 months ago

Good information.  I do a lot of work with people relocating and here for a trip or two before they buy.


Posted by Missy Banks, CHARLOTTE HOMES FOR SALE (Allen Tate Real Estate | | 3 months ago

Jeff- these are excellent tips for anyone relocating to a new area!!  I've done this a few times and each tip is useful. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 3 months ago

Jeff Dowler, CRS - All excellent tips! Taking a trip is at least one time is so important in the relocation process. Also, all adult should be present. The more eyes, noses, and perspectives, the better.

Your list is very important. Having an Agent who is so thoughtful and knows the market area will serve prospective buyers well. I highly recommend buyers and sellers to hire you. 

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) 3 months ago

All wonderful tips, Jeff! I find it funny that we handle relo buyers the same way - rating houses (giving them a 1-10) at the end of the house tour, then ranking all of them at the end of the tour for the day! It REALLY helps them from going over and over all of the homes we say - and helps them focus on the neighborhoods that they want.

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 3 months ago

These are all excellent tips, Jeff, especially #8. If a home doesn't work and you know it right away, tell your Realtor and make a quick exit. It will save time and get you to the next home on the list sooner. There is no time to waste when you are relocating and have a full day of house-hunting planned.

Posted by Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty, 601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell (Front Gate Real Estate) 2 months ago

Hi Jeff Dowler, CRS, these are all great tips. Buying a home is not an easy task but with planning and working with a knowledgeable, local Realtor like yourself, it will be a great event to remember for years to come.

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) 2 months ago

Planning early is good for so many things, isn't it Laura Cerrano . Relocating is a huge task with lots of moving parts to think about.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Hi Nina Hollander  There's a lot to talk about with relocating buyers, isn't there? And no doubt all your personal relocation experience comes in handy!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Hi Wayne Martin 

Thanks for the kind words. There IS a lot of work to be done, by the relocating buyers AND the Realtor. I'm glad I have the personal experience - it helps alot!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Thanks for the compliment Gabe Sanders . There's a lot to consider when relocating!

Hi Gita Bantwal Thanks for your kind words. I love working with people who are relocating!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Hi Will Hamm 

Thanks for your kind words! I woud be flattered if you want to share this!!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Sally K. & David L. Hanson  Glad you found it helpful!

Hi George Souto  well, only 4 major times, but I've learned alot from those experiences plus helping plenty of relocating buyers.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Hi Missy Banks  And I bet you enjoy it like I do!

I have had relocations happen quickly, and others take many months or longer. House hunting can be a challenge from a distance and it's even harder with our sellers' market!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Thanks for stopping by Kathy Streib And I bet you know a few things about relocating, too, as a result of your moves!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Hi Patricia Feager 

Thanks for the kind words.  house hunting trip puts such a different persective on things. You can only learn so much on the Internet, and touching and feeling for more people is key!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Hi Debe Maxwell, CRS 

I know how confusing it can be to see multiple homes on a house tour, especially when you don't know the area and the different neighborhoods. Eliminating confusion is a good thing, whatever strategy you use! It's always helpful when someone says "that one is off the list!" LOL


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Well I totally agree Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty 

I always tell people it's OK to let me know so we don't waste time, or even not go in if they are sure because of the neighborhood or for some other reason. That's rather rare but I was out with a buyer yesterday and 2 of the homes we were in and out of in less than 5 minutes!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 2 months ago

Great information, thanks for sharing.  Relocating can be a very stressful time.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker 2 months ago