Moving across the country? Hunting for a home in another state isn’t nearly as difficult as it used to be, but it can still be a challenge. Follow these tips to find your perfect place in an unfamiliar market.

1. Go surfing
You can find information about the cost of living for various neighborhoods on local chamber of commerce sites. Crime rates can be found on police department sites, and the nonprofit Greatkids.org helps you to compare school districts across the country. You also may be interested in a city’s WalkScore, which rates cities based on walkability and bike and public-transit friendliness.

2. Think beyond the snapshot
Take a peek into a specific home with a virtual tour or a home video, offered on many listings. Additionally, Google Maps provides a street view of many areas.

3. Timing’s everything
Find out if there are major residency cycles in the area where you’re looking, and if possible, time your search strategically. For example, properties in college towns frequently turn over at the beginning and end of the university calendar.

4. Use your network
Tell everyone you’re looking. You never know who might have family or friends who have family or friends who know of a great opportunity.

5. Find an ambassador
Now’s the time to connect with those Facebook friends and relatives who live in the area where you’re looking. See if they’ll be willing to stop by properties that interest you to report what they truly look like.

6. Visit strategically
If possible, plan a short visit to explore neighborhoods and homes in person. Your agent can help you create a schedule of showings and tours around neighborhoods that will help you maximize your time.

The most important thing to do for an efficient long-distance home search is to find a knowledgeable agent in the area where you’re looking. Start here: www.remax.com/officeagentsearch/.