If you are moving down the street or across town, it's likely that you already know the neighborhoods, are familiar with the schools, and can get around without getting lost. If you are in the position to relocate to a new city or state, however, none of that applies. The thought of choosing a home in a place where you've never lived can be quite overwhelming. Read on for some tips on picking out a home in a new-to-you area.
Location Is Key
You probably have a wishlist for your new home. For example, you might require three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a half-acre of land. At the very top of your wishlist, however, you need to consider the precise location where you're willing to live. Before you call a real estate agent to send you listings of homes for sale, you have to do some research.
If you have children, look at the school ratings. You can call the local police department for an analysis of the crime in the various areas of town. Also, find out what your commute time will be with traffic accounted for. You might be only five miles from your office, for example, but if everyone in town is taking the same road to the same nearby city at 8:00 am, it could take much longer than anticipated to get to and from work.
Consider the New Cost of Living
Does looking through listings in your new area give you sticker shock? The cost of living in your new community might be substantially higher or lower than what you are used to. For example, if you are moving from Southern California to rural North Carolina, you might wonder why the homes are so inexpensive. On the other hand, if you're moving from a rural area to a major city, you might feel like you will never be able to afford to buy.
The good news is that, most of the time, a higher cost of living correlates to higher wages. An office manager in a small town in the Midwest will likely make a much higher salary as an office manager in a larger coastal city. This can help you afford a higher mortgage. Be sure to understand what type of wages you will be making before committing to a certain price point.
Find an Experienced Realtor
A real estate agent who knows the challenges you face when buying a home from afar is essential. He or she will be looking out for your best interest as someone who is unfamiliar with the area. They can also explain unique features of the neighborhoods that you might otherwise be unaware of. Post on local forums and social media pages to find someone reputable through word of mouth.