Whether for work or a fresh start, many Canadians buy their first home out of town – or even farther. Here’s how to make your long-distance house hunting go smoothly, courtesy of Mark Faris, Broker and CEO of Barrie, Ontario-based Faris Team brokerage with Royal LePage First Contact Realty.

Q: How can I find a local real estate pro to help me?

A: Research online and look for a user-friendly, quality REALTOR® website. If they’ve taken the time to create a great website, it’s likely they’ll go the extra mile for you as well. Also, if you know anyone in the town, ask them for a referral of a REALTOR® they used in the past who gave a “wow” experience. Lastly, interview two or three different REALTORS® over the phone or by FaceTime/Skype and compare how much value they provide.

Q: Logistically, what’s the best way to look at distant properties?

A: Have your REALTOR® set you up to receive automated emails – with detailed listings that fit your criteria – the moment the listings come on the market. When a property that fits your criteria is sent to you, ask your REALTOR® to preview the home on your behalf and FaceTime/Skype the home with you while they walk through, making the experience interactive. They should also be able to send you a video of the property if the listing agent has completed one. Have fun online and explore what is out there!

Achieve the homeownership dream sooner