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Finding Your Dream Home:

7 Things to Discuss with Your Realtor® When Relocating

New job, expanding family, change of scenery—there are many reasons to relocate to a new neighborhood, city, or state. And when you're looking for a new home, it's important to know what things to discuss with your Realtor® when relocating.


Because your Realtor® is working for you to find your dream home. Their job is to help you settle in a home that meets your needs and wants. You're happy, they're happy—win-win.

But this isn't possible without clear and open communication about what you are looking for when purchasing a home. It's important to establish a strong rapport with your real estate agent so they can work on your behalf. And, side note, if you don't have an open dialogue with your Realtor® or they're not asking you a lot of questions about you and your wants/needs, find a new one!

To help get started, here are seven things to discuss with your Realtor® when relocating.

Checking the Boxes: 7 Things to Discuss With Your Realtor® When Relocating

Open conversation ensures you'll get the home you want in the timeline you need. Prioritize having these discussions with your Realtor® early on so that the whole process is as streamlined as possible.

Here's what you need to discuss with your Realtor® when relocating:

1. Budget

We'll start out with the most obvious things to discuss with your Realtor®—budget. Without this conversation, your agent doesn't know the range of possibilities to show you. If you haven't already been in contact with a mortgage loan officer, your agent can likely refer you to a few to start your qualification process. It's no fun falling in love with a home you can't afford, or even worse, missing out on one that you could but you didn't have clarity yet on affordability.

Beyond the basic conversation about price, you can also discuss housing market trends, such as potential property value changes or investment opportunities in the new area. Your Realtor® has insider information into that neighborhood and can guide you through the local housing market trends to ensure you're choosing something that fits your budget and overall financial goals. They'll also guide you on what deposit amounts you can expect to put forth in your offer, based on the local trends.

Graphic text: "Open conversation ensures you'll get the home you want in the timeline you need. Prioritize having these discussions with your Realtor® early on so that the whole process is as streamlined as possible."

2. Lifestyle

How do you spend your time? Do you like to be in the middle of it all or are you looking for a quieter atmosphere? What does an average week look like for you? How do you typically view and use your home? Do you need to be close to anything specific? These are all important things to discuss with your Realtor® when relocating.

Each individual or family unit has a different lifestyle. Some like to eat out at restaurants a lot, others make their meals at home. Some prefer to walk and bike everywhere, others find it easier to drive. These preferences—plus many others—can impact things like the size of your home (is there room for entertaining?) or location (is it walking distance to the grocery store?).

There are a ton of lifestyle factors that influence where you should move and what type of home you should buy. Discuss this with your agent so they can get a sense of what area for your next home may best suit you.

3. Proximity to Work

With the rise of remote work, this may not be one of the top things to discuss with your Realtor® when relocating. Some people are working remotely and, therefore, can choose to live wherever they want. But even if that's the case, you may want to consider proximity to work for occasional meetings or your proximity to alternative workspaces like a coffee shop or co-working space if you need a change of scenery. It's also good to ask about things like public transportation or biking-friendliness if those interest you, too.

For those who still commute to work, this is a very important conversation. Rely on your agent's local knowledge to understand potential challenges with your commute and how it can impact your day-to-day. When you're not familiar with the city and the traffic patterns of an area, what would have taken you 15 minutes to travel 15 miles back home, may now take you 30 minutes. I know when we moved to Charlotte we happened to visit it during the Christmas holiday break and we were surprised to see how easy traffic was. Little did we know that it looks quite different when school is back in session, as well as during peak traffic hours.

If you have school-aged children, you may also want to learn about the proximity to schools and how it relates to your work commute.

4. School Preferences

Relocating is a big change for everyone in the family, but kids often feel the effects the most when they change schools. For this reason, you want to know what kind of schools are available in the new area and communicate your preferences to your real estate agent.

This is particularly important if you want to send your children to private or specialized schools.

While your Realtor® will be less likely to offer a firm opinion on which schools are "good schools" - because after all, that's a very subjective question and every student and family has different needs and preferences - they can offer top resources and guidance for you to make the final call.

The same could be said about colleges and universities. Consider discussing this if your children will be graduating and heading out to college soon and you want to take advantage of in-state tuition.

This helps your realtor choose neighborhoods that are in the right school catchment areas for your family's preferences.

Image of woman handing over keys with overlaid text that says "your Realtor® is working for you to find your dream home. Their job is to help you settle in a home that meets your needs and wants. You're happy, they're happy—win-win. "

6. Timeline

Timeline is one of the most important things to discuss with your Realtor®, and it's important to talk about both an ideal timeline and a realistic timeline with your agent. Your ideal timeline is when you'd like to move based on other factors such as work contracts, seasons, or moving support from family.

But, then there's what's truly realistic. Your Realtor® knows how long property visits, negotiations, inspections, and closing can all take, so they can create a realistic timeline for your relocation process. Having this conversation earlier rather than later ensures that you are as aligned as possible to get into a new home when you need it. This is especially important if you have another property you are selling before you make the move or if you have to sell it first in order to qualify for your next mortgage.

Some states, such as North Carolina, do not include a "contingency to sell" and therefore you'll have some financial risks involved. You want your agent to be well-versed in your timeline and be willing to communicate with your agent back home if necessary in order to minimize as much financial risk as possible.

6. Home Design Priorities

When relocating to a new area, it might be overwhelming looking at what's on the market—especially when you're new to the area and don't know what's there.

Take my city of Charlotte, for example. There are so many different and unique home styles in Charlotte, ranging from bungalows to giant McMansions to modern townhomes. These are all different styles that will appeal to different buyers.

I like to remind home shoppers that finding that "Perfect 10" home is not likely unless you are building a full-custom home, so we have to narrow in on our top 3-5 things. Have a conversation with your Realtor® about home design priorities and give them your 3-5 non-negotiables. This could be things like an open floor plan, modern appliances, a garage, a large backyard, high ceilings, rustic furnishings, hardwood floors, windows, or any number of design elements.

When you discuss this with your agent, you can settle on the "need to have" and "want to have" things that help narrow down choices. Keep in mind, your Realtor® likely has a network of resources that can help make improvements to your home after purchase to transform it more into your vision. And no matter where you are, you can always utilize our Style to Design services!

Image of two people pointing to a house with the text "7 things to discuss with your realtor when relocating"

7. Insider Tips

The last thing to discuss with your Realtor® before relocating is if they have any insider tips, tricks, or information about the place you are moving to. If your Realtor® has been working in that location for any length of time, they are full of helpful insights.

By drawing on your agent's expertise, you can learn more about things to do in the city like restaurants, attractions, parks, or other activities. You can also learn more about the overall feel and "vibe" of a place. If you're considering Charlotte as your new home, check out my free Charlotte City Guide to learn all about it!

As you are discussing with your Realtor®, it becomes clearer what you are looking for. This gives them great information about what to look for in a home so that it's the exact right place for you. You want them to be your eyes and ears while you're away and you want to make the best use of your time when you are there to do home tours.

Finding your dream home takes a bit of time. There are many factors to consider both on your end—your preferences and needs—and on the real estate market end. That's why having thorough conversations with your agent is important to getting the most out of the process.

These seven things to discuss with your Realtor® when relocating are going to help them do what they do best—find your dream home! All you have to do is get ready to move and build your new life in your new house.

If you are considering relocating to Charlotte, contact me at j[email protected] to start a conversation about your real estate needs.

To finding your dream home,

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