Asking a trusted friend or family member to be a shadow buyer can save you time and travel expenses when you’re moving out of state. Whether you’re moving for a new job, returning home after a career relocation, or just looking for a fresh start in a new city, someone who’s already familiar with your new hometown can help you scout out homes featured online. If you decide to enlist this type of assistance, here are a few tips and tricks to help you be successful.
Give Them a Clear Idea of What You Need
Before you send someone house hunting on your behalf, be sure to describe the type of home you’re looking for as clearly as possible. Stipulate the must-haves, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need. If the shadow buyer is familiar with neighborhoods where your search is focused, give them features to look for, including great schools, walkability and proximity to transportation.
Provide Specific Examples of Homes You Like
Don’t expect your shadow buyer to do all the research for you. Start by sorting through online listings and checking for new homes on the market regularly. Tell your shadow buyer what you like about certain homes, and listen to their feedback and suggestions — especially in regard to neighborhoods. A house may look perfect, but if your shadow buyer notices an industrial plant or noisy roadway nearby, you may want to cross that option off your list.
Ask Them to Take Photos
If a shadow buyer attends showings or open houses, ask them to take pictures of anything good or bad they notice. Provide them with examples of questions you would typically ask about during a showing, such as the average cost of utilities and commute times. Trust your shadow buyer’s local knowledge, and be sure to listen to their input.
Recognize That Your Preferences Might Be Different
It’s important to realize that your shadow buyer brings their own set of opinions to the table, some of which may not be a concern for you. For instance, home design preferences vary and the spiral staircase that catches your shadow buyer’s eye may not be best if you have small children. Shadow buyers may also direct you to neighborhoods that are similar to their own because that’s where they’re comfortable.
Understanding these differences may prompt you to look beyond your shadow buyer’s initial property recommendations, and possibly find other homes on your own. And that’s fine. The shadow buyer’s advice is still valuable, and they are still your eyes and ears on the ground until you arrive in your new hometown.
Moving out of state is a big step, and we’re here to help both you and your shadow buyer.
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