Long-Distance Move Made Easy

Realtor Lee Ann Ruby helped homebuyers Amy and Jim start their house hunting process from across the country, ultimately landing them the perfect place.

Realtor Lee Ann Ruby matched homebuyers Amy and Jim with this lovely Colonial home in Mechanicsville, Va.

About the Agent

  • Name: Lee Ann Ruby
  • Brokerage: Napier Realtors, ERA
  • Location: Glen Allen, Va.
Contact Lee Ann

Long-distance moves aren’t easy. When homebuyers Amy and Jim relocated 1,000 miles from Wisconsin to Virginia, they relied on Realtor Lee Ann Ruby to help them through the process. With a little technology and a lot of legwork, Lee Ann was able to match the couple with a home that met nearly all their needs.

What was at the top of the homebuyers’ wish list?

This was the buyers’ wish list. They were moving from Green Bay, Wis., where lots are larger and there is more open space.

  • Great school district
  • Active neighborhood with kids
  • Newer home
  • Easy, shorter commute to Innsbrook (Previously, they were driving 55 minutes each way.)
  • They preferred a ranch or a Colonial with a master on the first floor (not easy to find in Virginia!)
  • Large, open, functional kitchen
  • They didn’t need a formal dining room (pretty much standard in all Virginia homes).
  • Three bedrooms, plus a fourth bedroom or bonus room that can be used for guests
  • Neighborhood association with pool/gym
  • Wooded lot
  • Three-car garage (at least two)
  • A spacious lot would be nice.

How did you go about fulfilling the buyers’ needs? What were the biggest challenges?

The process was very interactive both from an online and phone perspective.  Once I created a Web search for the buyers using a much broader set of parameters than noted above (mainly price, MLS area, year built and number of bedrooms), I worked through the list, made comments for the buyers and previewed either homes I thought were a strong match or homes that the buyers tagged on the customized website I created from our MLS system.  The website is great.  It allows the buyer and I to make comments on each property and for us to “talk” interactively on line.  I sent them photos and even videos of the homes I previewed. 

One of the challenges was the distance (remember, my clients were in Green Bay) and heading into a very active spring market. So once we had enough homes for them to view, the in-person house hunting started.  They came to Richmond the weekend of Friday, Feb. 15, and I had a full plan of homes to see.  I had sent them a list prior to their trip, so we were all in agreement. The home they purchased was one of the first homes that weekend we saw. I knew they would love it. The other challenge regarding their wish list was lot size, a three-car garage and a first-floor master. 

Why did you think this house in particular would be a good fit for the family?

The home had just about every item on their wish list, except for the items that were going to be very, very difficult to find: a large wooded lot, three-car garage and first-floor master.  The floor plan was perfect; I was able to get a copy to send to them in Green Bay.  It has the perfect open kitchen and family room concept.  To this day, it’s probably one of the best open concepts I’ve seen, and the kitchen is spectacular.  Also, the outdoor space was well done, and while the lot was not huge, it did provide some privacy and wooded views.  The cul-de-sac lot was another plus, especially for kids. When I previewed the home, all the kids were playing in the cul-de-sac and I sent a photo to my buyers.

How closely did this house match the buyers’ original wish list? What compromises were made?

The buyers compromised on the large wooded lot, three-car garage and first-floor master.

How did you solve any snags or surprises in the home buying process?

The process went fairly smoothly – no major snags or surprises.  During negotiations I provided market data to the buyer so we could make the right offer, and supported that offer to the listing agent with hard data.


Amy and Jim aren’t the only ones on the move: According to a recent survey by ERA Real Estate and HGTV.com, one in three Americans would consider moving to another state in the next one or two years. Check out the infographics below to learn more about the findings from the survey and to get tips on keeping costs down during a relocation.

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