Relocation: How To Buy A Home When You Don’t Know The Area

Eriks Draiska
Eriks Draiska
Published on October 18, 2017

Conflicted: It’s the perfect description of how homeowners feel when faced with the reality of relocation from one city to another.

It’s both exciting and mind-numbing, frightening yet courageous and it brings up feelings of both melancholy and elation.

Moving from one home to another is a life-disrupter, but moving from one town to another is a major upheaval. Watching that moving van drive down the street, fearful that it’s the last time you’ll see your belongings, is just one of the moments of angst you’ll face when relocating.

Between then and now you’ll need to find a real estate agent and a neighbourhood and, finally, a home – all in a town that may be thousands of miles away.

Relocation doesn’t have to be a ghastly process. Let’s make a plan and get you into your new town, neighbourhood and home, without many of the hassles.

Your Ideal Home

Knowing exactly what type of home you want is the first step in your relocation process. From family homes to apartments and townhomes, get clear on exactly what you want.

Then, decide on how much room you need – both in living space and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

And, don’t forget the exterior. With an apartment, you may not have much of a choice about outdoor areas, but if you’re in the market for other home styles, determine what you require outdoors.

  • Do you need a garage? If so, how big?
  • Is a backyard important?
  • Do you need outbuildings?
  • Is a swimming pool on your wish list?
  • If you garden, how important is an existing irrigation system?

Choosing Your New Neighbourhood

Your preferred home style may help narrow down your choice of neighbourhoods. For instance, depending on what city you’re headed to, apartments may only be available downtown. If you’re in the market for a luxury home, you may find them only in certain parts of town. If you’re bringing the horses, the boat or the golf clubs and cart – all will help you choose a suitable neighbourhood.

In general, however, you’ll need to answer some questions to figure out where you want to live:

  • What is your priority? Is it a quick commute to work, is located in a quality school district, close to public transportation or recreational amenities?
  • Do you crave urban living or are the suburbs more to your taste? Rural living has a lot to offer as well.
  • Do you love the sound of kids playing outside our window or does it grate on your nerves?

Research Is Your Friend

If you don’t know yet how much you can afford to spend on your new home in your new city, please see a lender.

When you have a handle on your budget you’ll find the homebuying process immensely more manageable.

But, you must also take into account that the cost of living where you are now may not look at all like the cost of living in your new hometown.

  • How much do groceries cost in the new town?
  • Utilities? One of the things that most shocks many homebuyers is the cost of utilities.

Let’s Find A Neighborhood

Now you have an idea of how much you can afford to pay a mortgage every month so it’s time to check out what’s available in your affordability range.

If you’re moving for a new job, go to a Google map of the area surrounding your new workplace and find the neighbourhoods for a tolerable commute. Then, do some research on each one.

A useful resource is Aussie Relocation.

This is where you’ll find the nuggets of wisdom that will help you decide whether or not it’s the major city for you.

Consider searching Local Councils in the city you are looking at.


Finding the right daycare, kindergarten, school, university or college for your children is one of the big decisions in relocation.

It’s Time To Get Help

That may come in the form of a real estate agent. If you are selling a home in your current city, ask your listing agent for a referral to an agent in your new city. If you won’t be selling, ask friends, family and colleagues for a referral to a local agent who will then help you find one in the new town.

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