How Scouting Visits Can Make or Break Your Move


Scouting visits are an essential part of a successful moving strategy. But, believe it or not, there’s a right and a wrong way to go about them.

First things first. What is a scouting visit? A scouting visit is like “test driving” a place you’re interested in moving to, so you can see if it’s a good fit for you.

I know. Moving is already expensive. Why spend even more money and time on scouting visits? Because investing some money and time upfront to scout out places on your short list can save you a whole lot more money and grief down the road.

That’s why I’m sharing the following 3 reasons why scouting visits should be part of your moving strategy, along with 1 simple (but easy to overlook) way to make sure your scouting visits work for, not against, you.

Virtual exploration has its limits.

We live in a world where we can do so many things without leaving the comfort of our own homes or interacting directly with another human being. The internet makes our lives convenient. But it can also make our lives miserable if we rely on it too much when we’re trying to figure out where to move.

It may be tempting to sit back and let Google Street View do the walking, but there’s so much that it doesn’t tell you. A place that seems great in the abstract could be a dud in reality. Moving someplace sight unseen is a recipe for disaster, like marrying someone you never met in person or buying a house you never set foot in.

You might get lucky – but what if you don’t? It’s not easy or cheap to fix a moving mistake. You’re better off spending money and time on scouting visits on the front end to make sure you make the right decision.

Scouting visits are a reality check.

You know when reviews or friends tell you, “You HAVE to try this restaurant. The food is AMAZING!”? Then when you do you try it, you wonder what all the fuss was about?

The same is true about places. Whether or not we like a place is purely subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why it’s better not to take someone else’s word for it.

Scouting visits close the gap between what other people are telling you a place is like or what you imagine it’s going to be like and what it’s really like live and in person.

Scouting visits let you experience the vibe of a place.

Much of what we find appealing or unappealing about a place has to do with its vibe, and vibe is one of those things you need ALL your senses to experience.

When you scout out a place, you have the opportunity to really experience it and gather invaluable information to guide your decision about where to move.

Scouting visits help you answer questions like:

  • What does the place feel like?
  • What are the people like?
  • What’s the architecture like?
  • What are the neighborhoods like?
  • What types of businesses are there?
  • How well-designed is it?
  • How clean or well-maintained is it?

The beauty of scouting visits is that they give you the opportunity to get eyes on the ground and experience for yourself what a place is like and if it’s a good fit.

But it’s not enough to go and bump around a place.

It’s important to take the right approach, so that your scouting visits inform, rather than skew, your decision.

So, what’s the one thing you can do to make sure your scouting visits make, not break your move?

Take a strategic approach to your scouting visits.

A scouting visit is serious business, not a vacation.

It’s a trip with a purpose – a fact-finding and vibe-exploring mission to inform your decision about where to move.

That doesn’t mean scouting visits can’t be fun. (It’s much better if they are!) But the main focus of scouting visits is not recreation; it’s to gather information.

The secret to getting the most out of your scouting visits is to have a plan for where you’re going to go, what you’re going to do, and who you’re going to talk to in each place. Having a plan also helps you to make sure you’re allocating enough time for your scouting visit to  immerse yourself in what it would really be like to live in that place.

Finally, a scouting visit plan keeps you focused and on track and allows you to gather and evaluate information about each place in an objective and apples-to-apples way.

I know from experience that a scouting visit plan can mean the difference between a successful or a disastrous move. Because I had no plan, I wasted time and money on scouting visits and ended up making a costly moving mistake that could have been easily prevented.

Find your perfect location with Your Place Finder.

In addition to professional custom prospect research services to identify locations that best match your specifications, the PlaceFinder Program provides you with easy to use tools and consulting/coaching support to create and carry out a thoroughly researched scouting visit plan for each location on your short list. Learn more about the PlaceFinder Program here.

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About the Author

I founded Your Place Finder in 2017 to help retirees and almost retirees like you anticipate and overcome the pitfalls and challenges – and reap the rich rewards – of finding the perfect location to move for retirement.

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