Ready to relocate to the Upstate? Greenville and its surrounding areas draw new residents from across the US. In this guest post from REALTOR® Elizabeth Faulkner, she taps into her knowledge, skills, and experiences to offer expert tips and ideas on how to make your big move a reality!
South Carolina is a hotspot for relocation. In fact, according to this study by United Van Lines, South Carolina was the 3rd most popular state for inbound relocation in 2021. Now that so many people are working remotely, there is increased flexibility on where to live. Pair that with the retirees moving here and the economic boom we’re experiencing, our area is seeing a dramatic increase in relocation.
As the excitement of a possible relocation to a state far away subsides, the logistics of how to make a move across country, to an unfamiliar state, can become overwhelming. As a matter of fact, as a real estate agent working with many families moving to the area, I often get asked the following question. “How do I go about moving my family to South Carolina when I live in (insert your State name here)?”
Whether a client is moving from Illinois, Florida, or Texas, this is always one of the first questions I get. Every single time. So here are 10 tips to help make your Big Move happen in 2023!
Tip #1: Do your online work first!
You’ve decided you want to move to Greenville. To get to this point you’ve probably already done a lot of the online research. But before moving forward with a house hunt, always delve deeper! To get a feel for what area could be a good fit for your family, spend time researching specific parts of town. Research the various school districts and school websites. Research the shops, restaurants, and events that an area you’re considering has to offer.
Tip #2: Get answers to your questions.
Now that you’ve done some online research about the Greenville area you probably have questions. Who do you ask when you know no one in the area? Try joining some local Facebook groups such as Kidding Around Greenville Community, Greenville, SC Mommies, Ask Spartanburg, or Families Moving to Greenville or Upstate SC. These local groups are full of people who know the area, the neighborhoods and the schools you’re considering. This is where you’ll find truly invaluable personal experiences and feedback!
Tip #3: Plan a trip to town!
If you’re planning to move to Greenville but you’re not familiar with the area, I highly recommend you plan an exploratory trip to the area. See some sights, drive through communities you may be interested in and spend time getting a feel for the area. Visit the neighborhoods and towns you’ve pinpointed in your online research. You may be surprised at what you like and don’t like. Seeing the area in person helps clarify things for many home buyers.
Tip #4: Meet with your real estate agent early.
If you have a real estate agent in place when you’re in town, even if you’re not ready to begin the actual home search, sit down with your agent. Pick their brain. Ask questions about the area. Get input on where they recommend you consider looking for a home. Most importantly, be sure the real estate agent is someone you’re confident can help you buy a home that you may only see via a virtual tour. Don’t worry! Experienced buyer’s agents are very adept in conducting a solid video tour with out-of-town clients!
Tip #5: Make your list and check it twice!
After you’ve met with your real estate agent and have an idea of where you want to live, it’s time to hit the road. Spend time driving through the neighborhoods and towns you’re considering. This step is often the biggest help in figuring out what feels like HOME to a home buyer! Pick your favorite neighborhoods, communities and areas. Most importantly, be sure your agent knows what is at the top of your list! That way, when a home in your dream neighborhood hits the market and you’re 300 miles away, you’re familiar enough with the area to be comfortable seeing the home via a video tour!
Tip #6: Talk to a lender before starting your search.
Before you start looking for your dream home, it is crucial that you speak to a mortgage lender. A lender will help you to know not only how much you CAN spend on a home but how much you WANT to spend on a home. Additionally, a mortgage lender will assess your financial situation and help you decide which mortgage program is your best fit. This is a critical step in the home buying process! Additionally, be sure your lender sends you a prequalification letter. After all, who goes shopping without their wallet?
Don’t have a lender? No problem! Most real estate agents have a shortlist of mortgage lenders they work with regularly and are usually happy to give you a name to two.
Tip #7: Know the market and what to expect when you start your house hunt.
As for the house hunt itself, I’m sure you’re well aware that houses have been selling very quickly in recent years. Even now, as the market has cooled off a bit, many homes still go fast. Perhaps you live within a few hours of Greenville and can drive into town quickly to see a home you’re interested in. Fabulous! But, if you’re on the other side of the country, or can’t get to Greenville to tour a potential home, then a Facetime or Zoom tour is your best bet! In today’s market, clients buy houses they’ve only seen via a video tour ALL THE TIME. So don’t sweat it—find a great buyer’s agent and trust your agent!
Tip #8: Set criteria for your home search BUT cast as wide of net as possible.
Most likely you have developed your list of “must-have” and “nice-to-have” items for your home search. My advice to buyers, especially in a market where inventory is limited, is to keep your options open when searching for a home. Maybe you need 4 bedrooms, however, would 3 bedrooms with a bonus room work? Maybe you want to live in Simpsonville. Would Mauldin or Fountain Inn also be options? Maybe you want at least a half-acre lot? Why not set your criteria to .4 acres so you don’t miss a great home on a .45 acre lot? I think you get my point. Keep your search as broad as possible so you actually have some homes to view when searching!
Tip #9: Be proactive in finding your perfect home.
Even though the real estate market has somewhat slowed, we are still experiencing low inventory of available homes. This means, once they become active in the MLS, many homes still go under contract quickly. Being proactive in your home search is a great way to get a leg up on other buyers. If you know you want to live in a particular neighborhood, your agent should be actively contacting other agents and homeowners in search of a home that fits your needs. I even had one client who found a home that hadn’t yet hit the market via a community Facebook group. Being creative and proactive can go a long way in finding a home when inventory levels are low!
Tip #10: The logistics of the actual move will work however you want them to!
So, you’ve found your home, worked your way through the inspection process and are nearing closing day. What does the process look like for your actual move? That 100% depends on your situation. Maybe you need to sell your current home to buy your new home. Maybe you plan to close on your home in South Carolina while still living in another state. Perhaps you plan to rent in the Greenville area before you even search for a home. There is no exact right way to make a move to a new city!
Working with so many families moving from out of state, I’ve seen a variety of solutions for making a difficult long-distance move easier. I’ve had clients:
- pull up to the home they were about to close on, in a UHaul with all their possessions in tow.
- move to town before closing and live in an Air BNB (or hotel) for a few weeks with their possessions in storage.
- have a POD, with all their belongings, delivered to their new home just before they sat down to close.
I’ve also had many clients close on a home in the Upstate prior to closing on their current home. This allowed them to close on their current home and make the move directly into their new home. While this is an ideal situation, it isn’t always doable (and another reason speaking with a lender first is key!).
Sometimes buyers are in town for closing day, sometimes they are not. Did you know that most real estate attorneys can do a mail-away closing? This allows a buyer to be out of state when they close on their home!
What I see the most often is that as a clients begin talking with a mortgage lender and searching for a home, the process that best suit their needs and situation becomes clear!
As an agent who works with many families who are not touring homes in person, I can tell you that the video tour looks and sounds a little different from a traditional showing. Be sure to make a list of questions ahead of time that you need but may not think of. Like…
“How does the home smell?” Smells can’t be seen over a video, but you want to know if the home has been smoked in or lived in by 25 cats. A strong perfume smell can be a sign the owner may be trying to cover something.
“What is the slope of the driveway?” Or yard. Video can make it hard to tell how steep the driveway really is. Or if the yard slopes, and if so, toward, or away from the home. Buyers need clarification on these things.
“How big is the room?” It can often be hard to tell just how big a room really is via a video tour. Buyer’s agents have access to the room dimensions so be sure to ask!
Ideas to make your move a smooth one.
Great idea #1. One recent client who moved to the area from Chicago did something I thought was pretty smart. Though they were not in town to tour the home in person prior to submitting their offer, they did fly into town to see the home during the inspection period. Many buyers today do indeed buy homes they have never seen in person; however, this is one great option for buyers who feel the need to physically see a home they are purchasing!
Great idea #2. Recently, I had a buyer who could not get into town to view homes in person. However, they were lucky enough to have a relative a few hours away. A relative they trusted to conduct home tours on their behalf!
Great idea #3. I’ve had several clients sell their current home and move in with relatives until closing on their new home. By doing this, they accomplished several things. First, they didn’t stress about trying to buy a home with a contingency to sell their home. This contingency is a challenge in a market like we’re in today. Second, they didn’t worry about timing Closing A with Closing B. They essentially moved just one time! They were able to have all their belongings loaded and stored, then unloaded directly into their new home when the time came. Genius!
Great idea #4. If you need to sell your current home to buy a new home, use the current seller’s real estate market to your advantage. Meaning, if you currently live in a city where homes for sale are receiving multiple offers and selling quickly, take advantage of this! Tell prospective buyers of your home that you want a leaseback on your home. A leaseback allows you to close on your current home yet remain in the home until a set date. This may just be your answer to eliminating a big contingency when you make an offer on the home of your dreams in South Carolina. Plus, a leaseback situation could mean you only have to move one time. (bonus points if you can score a FREE leaseback!)
Make your Own Big Move in 2023!
The bottom line on making a big move to a city you’re unfamiliar with is this: Making a big move may not be easy. Heck, you can pretty much bet on it being anything BUT easy at times. That said, making a big move has been done by many, many families and you can do it too! If you’re one of the families out there considering making a big move in 2023, I hope I helped you understand how the process might work best for you. If you’re considering a relocation to the Upstate of South Carolina I would be honored to help your family make the area your new home!
Contact Elizabeth Faulkner.
Ready to make that BIG move? Let Elizabeth Faulkner guide you through the process from beginning to end!