Where Will You Live?
Deciding to relocate is a huge decision in itself, and finding a place to live once you get there is a whole other can of worms. As we said before, having a real estate agent in the city where you will be relocating will be essential to a smooth transition.
If you own your home now, selling your home and finding another one at the same time will be a challenge but not one that you can’t tackle. And, if you rent, of course, you will need to negotiate out of your old lease and into a new one. Again, the help of a real estate agent can be invaluable to avoid paying rent or a mortgage in two different places!
Should you rent?
It is ideal if you can rent for six months in your new city, especially if you don’t have a lot of knowledge about the place you are moving to. That time renting will allow you to get to know the ins and outs and find the perfect neighborhood to settle down or decide if you even want to ‘settle down’ in that location for the long haul. It all will give you some time to determine if you want to buy a permanent home in your new city. Likewise, renting could potentially allow you to save a bit more towards a larger down payment when you do buy.
Some important food for thought is whether you will have debt in your old city when you move to your new one. This can put you in a risky situation as you try to secure your financial and residential future in your new city of choice. Renting until you can get that debt paid off is a great option. With that said, it is a very good idea to rent a home/apartment that is no more than a quarter of your income, this will help to ensure you don’t become ‘house poor’ and find yourself in dire straits financially.
Doing it all
If you are forced or choose to sell in your old location and buy in your new city at the same time, make sure you have a trustworthy and results-oriented brokerage and an agent in both locations. These individuals should be people who know you, know your situation, and understand your goals. Look for successful agents in both areas and make sure you do your due diligence to meet with them in person (or via Zoom in your new location) to find out who they are and allow them the opportunity to answer your questions and get to know you. (Ask for referrals and give them a call!)
Preparing your home
Selling your current home so that you can get a fresh start in your new city is essential. Getting it ready to sell could be the difference between a quick sale and a waiting game.
Clear the clutter
Start packing up those boxes with personal items since you are moving anyway. This allows buyers to see themselves in your home.
Fix all the little stuff
Take the time to spruce up all the little things that add up to a buyer falling in love with your home.
Ask fair market price
It is important to have an agent who is on top of the local market and can price it right for you.
Stage it professionally
This can be the difference maker. Sure it will cost a little on the front end, but the payoffs will likely be huge in the end.
Get professional photos taken
A great brokerage will have the connections of a professional and experienced real estate photographer who will showcase your home’s highlights and help your agent market it with expertise.
Accept an offer
Utilize your experienced and knowledgeable agent to help you choose the offer that is right for you. There may be a higher offer with someone who has a lot of asks in return. That offer may not be as good for you as someone who offers a little less with the home as it is. That buyer may be the one you accept so that you can get moving forward.
Ask your agent about options in your city/state where you have 30-60 days to move after closing which can be worked into your closing agreement. This could be very helpful as you transition to your new city. It can also help you avoid costly hotel fees etcetera while you tie up loose ends.
Buy a new home in your new city
With the help of an awesome real estate agent, you will be able to find a home that is right for you. It is a tough market out there in a number of places, so you have to be prepared to be patient as well as do your due diligence so you find the right neighborhood with the right home for your goals and lifestyle.
Find out what neighborhood is right for you. It needs to be close to the amenities that are important to you or you have to consider whether the commute is going to be okay for the long haul. Make sure that you can afford the homes in the area and whether or not you will be able to sell it in the future should you need to. Sometimes a diamond in the rough in a great neighborhood is the way to go; other times, a turnkey starter home might be just what you need.
No one wants to talk about it, but it is a key part of your buying process. How much can you afford? How much money do you need after paying your mortgage to maintain the lifestyle that you want? Consider how much you can put down for a down payment and what your top dollar will be for the right home. Being house poor in a new city is not a great way to live, so make sure and weigh your options.
Get all of your financial documents together so that you can get pre-approved. You will need your taxes, pay stubs, work history, and other documents in order to get a mortgage. Getting that stuff together before you move from your old city to your new one will save you a lot of time sifting through boxes.
An experienced real estate brokerage will be able to refer you to a quality lender. They can also advise you on different types of loan options that might be available to you based on your situation and circumstances.
You are embarking on a great adventure, and the more prepared you are, the smoother the transition. We hope this relocation guide gives you a leg up on your journey and allows you to enjoy the ride.