Relocating is always a stressful time for individuals and families. Change is always difficult and it is important to understand that planning can help minimize the stress and interruption of a geographic relocation. There is not one, but many choices you will face and the more educated you are regarding the options and more organized you can be in assessing the information, the smoother the transition will be.
The first goal of any relocation would be to align yourself with experts. Those helping you must not only be experts in their field, but they also should be experts at helping relocatees. Not everyone is equipped to help you from afar. It takes patience, anticipation, technology and knowledge to be qualified as an expert in this area.
Again, there are a multitude of decisions you will have to make which cover an even larger multitude of options. Here are just some of the questions you should be considering…
Will you be renting or purchasing in the new area? This is the most important question you will answer and the answer will in many ways affect the other questions and answers that you will face. Here are other questions which arise from the answer to this question. Within this article, we will assume your goal is to purchase; however, if you are renting some of the same concerns will apply.
- Do you own a home in your present area and are you going to sell or rent that home?
- Will you have eligibility for any special financing such as VA as a veteran or active military?
- What is your time frame for purchasing? For example, perhaps you must sell your present home first.
- Have you been fully approved by a lender for your new purchase? A pre-approval is defined as a review by a qualified underwriter, not a loan officer opinion letter. The lender will fully vet your cash assets, credit situation and income so you can narrow down your financial choices with regard to your new home. Nothing wastes more time than looking at houses for which you may not qualify. And a full pre-approval will give you negotiating power with regard to the home you will be trying to purchase.
- Exactly where will you be working? You must assess what kind of housing is available in that immediate area. The proximity from your job to your home may affect everything from the cost of housing to the type of traffic you will face.
- What kind of hours will you be working? This might affect whether or not you can rely on public transportation to get to and from work and how far from your job you should consider living.
- What is your timeframe for moving? Are you moving quickly or planning ahead for a move sometime in the future? Of course, it always helps to have more time because this gives you more time to explore your options and make better decisions, but in today’s world, sometimes you can’t plan ahead with changes in jobs.
- What type of housing do you prefer? Most buyers — especially those with families — would prefer a single-family home with a yard, but in some areas the cost of housing may preclude your first preference, unless you are willing to undertake a longer commute. All decisions come with trade-offs, but it is important to start with your ideals and work from there. There are several options to decide on from the size of the lot to how many bedrooms you need for your family. Do you need a garage and how many cars should it be able to accommodate?
- Do you have children, what ages are they and do any of them have special needs? Some school systems are better than others in general and certainly some are better at providing support for children with special needs.
- What other facilities are important – such as athletics or religious institutions?
- Do you have time for a house hunting trip before you relocate? If so, how much time will you be able to allocate? This will allow you to meet with local professionals and your Realtor can plan your activities, including what homes you will be able to see in person as well as areas you can tour.
- Do you have access to online video technology? This will help if your real estate professional has the ability to help you tour properties “remotely.” This is a great time-saving factor if you don’t have time for a visit or to make the visit more productive because you can narrow down choices.
- Has your real estate and/or mortgage professional put together a relocation package? A package which covers information on the market area and conditions, schools, vendors and more will be very helpful in the planning process.
In general, we would like to quote an important adage – Success is not an Accident. The proper planning of a move will make all the difference in the world with regard to making the move more successful. Selecting the right professionals to help you will be the most important first step.