We want to make sure that you’re not confusing ‘home’ with ‘house’ right from the outset. Homes can be everything from a room in your parents’ place to a newly built McMansion, depending on your circumstances. Either way, you probably are putting quite a bit of thought into where you might live next. We thought we’d pull together some tips to help you choose the next place you call home.
Consider the Time Frame
Are you going to be there for very long? The longer you live somewhere, the more you’re going to be bothered by things like bad roommates, poor location or a beat up kitchen. On the flip side, you can probably put up with quite a bit if it’s only going to be a few months your parents’ basement is quite the money-saver.
Balance the Costs
Will you have to buy a car to get to work from your new place? That may very well eat into any money you might save by living farther from the city. Even gas can add up, especially when prices inevitably go up.
Approved Doesn’t Mean Affordable
If you’re looking at a mortgage, there’s a good chance the bank will approve you for a loan that’s larger than what you can actually afford each month. Don’t just assume that their math will line up with yours.
Get Ready to Compromise
Moving with a partner, kids, parents or current roommates? Don’t assume you always know what’s most important to them for housing. Ask about their top priorities and see how well they match yours.
Don’t Get Taken In By Deals
Some deals are awesome, like getting a parking spot for free. Others, like getting the first few months of rent waived, can make you feel like you can afford a place that you can’t. If you won’t be able to afford living somewhere a year from now, you might end up in a tough spot. Even if the decision makes financial sense right now.
Depending on where you live, it’s very common for there to be a ‘hot market’ time of year. This is true even for rentals and not just real estate. Have colleges nearby? There’s likely to be high turnover that aligns with the school calendar, for example.
Trying to crunch numbers on what a move would cost you? Make sure you’re taking into account any lease-break fees, rent or mortgage overlap, closing costs, utilities and more. There are great lists online that can help you outline every possible cost for your specific situation.
This one is a bit of a downer, but it’s important to consider. If you’re moving to a new city for a very specific job, you may want to think about what would happen if you were laid off or had to quit. Are there other comparable job opportunities in the area? This may affect whether you choose to buy or rent.
Did you know that in many places in the US, we pay more per square foot for storage than we do for our own homes? Make sure that the place you’re looking at can realistically fit your stuff (or get ready to get rid of some of that stuff).
Know What’s Required to Live Somewhere
Trying to buy a house? Know what a mortgage lender will be looking for in terms of income. Renting? Get ready for a potential credit check. Trying to live in a co-op? There will probably be some interviews.