If you are moving to NW Arkansas, chances are you fall into one of three areas (forgive me if you don’t, but I’m going to make some broad generalizations here).
A. You have been hired by Walmart, JB Hunt, Tyson, or one of the bazillion suppliers who support those businesses,
B. You are an entrepreneur coming to take advantage of the booming economy in NW Arkansas, or
C. You are a retiree moving to be closer to your grandkids or to the beautiful lakes, golf courses, art museums, and more that make the quality of life here so wonderful.
Am I right? Well, regardless of your category, finding a house from a distance can be a stressful task, especially in a fast-moving market like NW Arkansas. In areas like Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, or the surrounding communities, it is common for homes to sell in less than a week, especially if the home has been well-cared for and is priced right. Your Zillow or Trulia searches can be extremely frustrating when one after another, you find out that your dream home is already under contract.
So what can you do to get ahead in the game?
Find a good agent.
(Insert shameless plug: Hire me!) A good real estate agent will know the area and will be able to help you identify neighborhoods that fit your unique needs. Talk with your agent about your lifestyle and priorities. Do you want to be able to walk or bike to work, entertainment, and shopping? Do you want a little elbow room without looking out your back window into your neighbor’s yard? Do you want a short commute or are you willing to drive a little to get more house for your money? Your agent will talk you through all the considerations that will impact your pocketbook, your comfort, and your quality of life.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Don’t start searching for houses until you know how much you can ACTUALLY get a loan for. There is nothing more disappointing than finding the house of your dreams only to find out your calculations were a little off and you really can’t get a loan for that much. And by the way, ask your lender to send you the pre-approval letter in digital format so that when you do find that dream house, you can make an offer before someone else steals it out from under your nose!
NOW you can have your realtor set up an autosearch.
This is the easiest and most efficient way to search for houses. In addition to setting up an autosearch with all of my client’s criteria (including neighborhood, price, amenities, etc.), I also like to set up an individual website for each of my clients. Your website is a hub for you to review listings that meet your search criteria the minute they hit the market and where you can keep track of houses you like or dislike. I can immediately see your preferences so I can help you move fast when you are ready to move forward with an offer.
Be ready to move quickly and be willing to use technology.
If you are flying into NW Arkansas for a house hunting trip, you may have a date 30 days out. But imagine a house hits the market today that you absolutely love and that is priced just right. Are you going to simply wait and hope that it will still be on the market when you fly out next month? I can tell you right now, that strategy is likely to lead to disappointment. But what can you do?
My advice: be willing to rely on technology. Today’s tech-savvy agent can tour the house for you and video tape it from every angle. She can tell you what she saw, what she smelled, and what the neighborhood was like. She can also tell you what to expect in the way of traffic patterns, neighborhood amenities, schools, and more. You also definitely want a real estate agent who makes use of e-signing technologies like DocuSign so you can sign offer and acceptance letters without spending a fortune on over-nighting documents.
Relocating to NW Arkansas doesn’t have to be stressful. The right agent can make your home-buying and relocation experience smooth and pleasant. NW Arkansas is a beautiful place to live, work, and play. I always boast about how lucky I am to live here. From the nature trails to the night life, there is something for everyone. I think you’ll be glad you came!