Moving has been ranked among some of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Despite the high levels of anxiety it can create, about 15 percent of Americans move each year. Younger people, aged 18 to 34, tend to do the most moving and go the longest distances, according to statistics.
If you’re considering moving this year, it pays to do your research and be aware of a few tips before beginning the process.
Narrow down your target area. Choose your desired area before you begin looking for houses. Things to consider in the area are the school system if you have children, proximity to transportation or employment, recreational activities, distance from friends and family, and municipal taxes. You also want to consider safety, whether there is a lot of industry in the area, congestion, and any other factors that are important to you.
Get a pre-approval from a lender. A preapproval will give you an estimate of what you can afford in a home and what a bank will lend you for a mortgage. This can help you narrow down your search for a home and figure out a buying budget.
Figure out your price range. Once you have your pre-approval you can set your price range. It pays to be conservative when setting this range to ensure you’ll have enough money after mortgage payments and utilities for the other necessities. Remember, the current market is favoring buyers, so buyers can probably negotiate the asking price down by a few thousand dollars. Therefore, if you’re interested in a home for $300,000, set your limit at $325,000 when looking at properties.
Decide on a house style. Some buyers prefer townhouses or condos because of their allinclusive nature. Others want semi- detached or completely detached homes. You may prefer the all-on-one-level nature of a ranchstyle house or the cozy dormers of a cape. See what houses you’re attracted to and select those styles as your preferences. Consult with a real estate agent. You can certainly do your home searching by yourself. However, real estate agents have access to up-to-the-minute listings of properties from all different real estate agencies. Although they will receive a commission when you buy the house, it is paid by the seller, so using an agent is a wise investment. The same can be said if you need to sell your house in order to buy a new one. An agent can market your house more effectively than if you do it by yourself. It could be well worth the commission you pay for the exposure your home will receive.
Visit potential properties. You can save time by having an agent place you on an e-mail list that will automatically send you listings in your price range and area. This way you can narrow down properties based on features and even do drive-by visits before viewing the property if it seems promising. If you like a particular house, make an appointment with your agent to visit it. Don’t wait until the weekend. Weekends are busy days for house appointments and your agent may be able to spend more time with you on a weekday. Plus, you can beat the crowds to view the property.
Don’t get discouraged. Buying and selling homes is a process. You may fall in love with a house only to lose the house to a higher bidder. Or you may find that the houses you desire are just above your price level. With time you will get a home that has much of what you want, even if it takes months to get there.