Buying a new home is both exciting and stressful. It’s significantly easier when you start by thinking about “where you want to go” geographically, financially and collectively.
Geographically, do you want to move across the street or across the country? Yes, people do move literally across the street when they love their neighborhood and just need a larger or smaller home. Relocating to another part of your town or city may be less stressful than changing states, although it still has many of the same challenges. If you’re moving across the country, perhaps to live here near a relative who knows their area well, that doesn’t mean they know where you should live. They don’t know all of your priorities and may not even know your budget. If you’re moving out of the area, no matter how far you go, your local real estate agent can help you find a professional to assist with your new home search even if it’s 3,000 miles away.
The second part of the “Where you want to go” question is financial. If you are young or leaving the rental market, have you considered a condominium or starter home as an affordable option? Do you want to move up to a larger home that likely costs more than the sale price of your existing home? And if so, do you have or know where and how you will get the additional money? Will you be downsizing to a smaller home and expect to pocket the financial difference? Perhaps you want approximately the same size home in a different state due to work-related relocation and are hoping for as close to a neutral financial transaction as possible. Thinking long and hard about the financial side of “where you want to go” is simply smart.
Finally, collectively, what’s best for you and your family? Do you want a neighborhood with bike paths and a playground or park close? Is walking to school important? What’s the commute like, in both directions, for you and your spouse? What you do not want to do is wait until your existing home is on the market before you have a very good idea about all of the answers to “where you want to go” geographically, financially, and collectively. You are going to hire a knowledgeable, experienced real estate agent (and this book will teach you how to do it.) She will explain everything, answer your questions and help you make the decisions that are right for you and your family.
Be brilliant, think about these issues now and create a plan. Then lean on your real estate agent to help you fill-in the gaps and answer your questions on your journey to your new home.