If you are moving house, then you’ll be moving to a new home, right? To be able to do so, however, you need to have a new home to move into. Whether you are moving to another country or another state, to a new city or just across town, you need to find the right house or apartment for you and your family to live in.
Finding your dream home, however, may not be easy, especially if you’re moving long distance and can’t visit your new city (or can’t stay there long enough) to choose a suitable property to buy or to rent. In this case, you may want to move into temporary housing first, so that you have the chance to learn your way around, explore the different neighborhoods, and find the perfect new home for you and your family. And even if you can go to your new city before the move and have the time to research the real estate market, you may be too overwhelmed and stressed out to make a good decision.
House hunting can be very unnerving indeed – how can you possibly find a lovely home in a great neighborhood at an affordable price? Reading the useful tips below will give you a good start in your home-searching quest.
Set your priorities
When looking for a new home, it’s easy to get swept away by charming details or fancy features and overlook some important issues or go over your budget. So, before you start hunting for a new house or apartment, sit down with your spouse or partner (and your kids if they are old enough to give their input) and make a list of all the important features you want in a home (a spacious yard, an open floor plan, three bedrooms, etc.). Rank these features in terms of priorities and make sure the home you choose meets all the points in the upper part of your requirements list.
One more thing – think about whether it is the house itself or the neighborhood that matters more to you. For some people, living in a particular neighborhood (safe, child-friendly, green, prosperous, conveniently located near their workplace or their kids’ school, offering plenty of entertainment options and/or recreational activities, etc.) takes precedence over everything else. For others, the house itself (comfortable, cozy, affordable, in good condition, etc.) is more significant than its location or the surrounding community. You need to determine what is more important to you and decide on the compromises you’re ready to make.
Research your housing options
To find your dream living place, you need to know what to look for in a new home:
No matter how you look at it, the location of your future home is one of the most important factors to consider when searching for a suitable property. So, when reviewing your housing options, take into account:
- The distance from your home-to-be to certain key places in the city you’ll be visiting on a regular basis – your and your spouse’s workplaces, your children’s schools (if applicable), your bank, your doctor’s office and other reliable health care centers, etc. Without a doubt, you’ll want to save on commute time and money, so your future home should be strategically located within easy reach of all these important places;
- The availability of local amenities, green areas, recreational facilities, entertainment locales, and other desirable features in the immediate vicinity of your future home;
- The transportation options – you need to be familiar with the road infrastructure in the area, traffic peculiarities, parking issues, and available means of public transportation (its schedule, reliability, comfort, fares, etc.) to be able to assess the accessibility of your new home;
- The surroundings – depending on your particular lifestyle, you may prefer your future home to be located in a peaceful, green suburban area or in a busy, dynamic central part of the city;
- The crime rate and living standards in the neighborhood – you’ll want to live in a safe and prosperous neighborhood, that’s for sure;
- The community – look at the social, demographic and ethnic characteristics of that particular area of the city and get a glimpse of community life in the neighborhood to make sure that you and your kids will be able to feel at home, find new friends, and adjust to the new environment quickly and effortlessly.
2) Type of dwelling
Decide on the type of residence that best suits your lifestyle, needs, and preferences:
- if you have kids and/or pets who need a safe and spacious place where to play, if you want to have dinner on the patio or barbecue in the backyard, if you dream of a lovely garden or a backyard pool, etc., you need a large house with a vast outdoor area;
- if you don’t like gardening, don’t have the time and energy to mow a lawn and maintain an entire house, or just prefer the view from, say, the fifth floor, you’ll probably feel happier in a nice and cozy apartment.
Good to remember: Consider both old and new when looking for a new home. While it’s always nice to move into a newly-built place, you may find some upgrades (such as a backyard deck or a stone fire pit, for example) installed by previous owners of “older” homes to be very beneficial.
3) Size of home
You need a home that will be large enough to accommodate your needs and your stuff but also small enough to be easily affordable and to require as little maintenance as possible. Buying or renting a home of inadequate size will cause you many inconveniences and financial losses, so make sure:
- there are enough rooms in your new home for all family members to feel comfortable and have sufficient personal space;
- there is room to grow – you need a home that can be easily adapted to changes in your life (you may have a baby, or your grown-up child may decide to move back with you, or you may have a relative or a friend stay with you for an extended period of time, etc. – you will need extra space for such occasions);
- your furniture fits in – take measurements and find out if your furniture pieces, household appliances and other large household items fit through the doors and into the available space in your future home. It is a good idea to make a floor plan of your new residence before the move, so that you know which of your large items will fit in, where to put them and what new pieces you’ll have to purchase;
- there is enough space for all your cherished possessions (both practical and sentimental ones), as you probably don’t want to part with them or spend money on a storage unit.
4) Condition of the property
Inspect your chosen property very carefully to assess its current condition. Look at every nook and cranny of the home (floors, walls, ceilings, windows, kitchen cabinets, closets, cupboards, storage spaces, etc.) to check for warning signs of damage, mold, or other problems and try out everything in the house (check water flow in sinks and showers, flush the toilets, turn on the lights, climb the stairs, etc.) to make sure it’s in excellent condition. Have in mind that any required repair works will place an additional financial burden on your shoulders, not to mention all the hassle and inconveniences involved in the restoration process.
Assess the home’s renovation potential – decide if your desired renovations will be worth the time and expenses required for the project, how much value they will add to the home, and if you can live without them.
You need to feel financially comfortable that you’re buying a home you can easily afford – not only in terms of rent/mortgage, but also in regard to utility bills and maintenance costs.
However tempting the idea of buying or renting a luxurious home in a great neighborhood, have in mind that your monthly rent or mortgage should not exceed 25% of your disposable income or you may experience serious financial difficulties.
Look beyond the listing price when calculating your housing expenses – various factors can add up to the total costs (an older home is likely to need more frequent repairs than a new one; a house with a vaulted ceiling will cost more to heat than one with a low ceiling; luxurious household materials – such as marble or granite features, for example – require more careful and more expensive maintenance (regular resealing, specialized cleaning products); etc.).
And finally – make sure that the property you’re going to buy will hold onto its value or increase in value over the years. A new home is quite a valuable investment, after all.
Make sure you will feel at home in your new home
Even if you have found a property that’s a perfect fit for you, you cannot be sure it’s the right home for you unless it actually “feels like home”. You’ll know a certain residence is your dream home if:
- it appeals to you the moment you see it;
- it feels warm and comforting when you step over the threshold;
- you start envisioning your own items in the house as soon as you take your first look around;
- you just know the bedroom walls will look lovely when you paint them your favorite color;
- you can hear your kids laughing in the yard, you can smell the coffee boiling on the kitchen stove in the mornings, you can see your friends coming over for dinner, etc.;
- you can see yourself living in that place for many happy years.
So, there is no need to look at other homes any more – they will pale in comparison. You’ve already found the right place to move into and call your own “sweet home”. All that remains now is to find a reliable moving company to help you move into your new haven.