What Move-Up Buyers Should Consider
Many people buy a house intending to live in that same home for many years.
However, life often creates change in our plans. A better job, more children, or a decline in the neighborhood are just a few reasons that cause people to move up to a different home.
If you find yourself longing for a better place or a better neighborhood, look below for a list of items move-up buyers need to consider before buying that next home.
What Comes First: Buying or Selling?
People often ask their real estate agents if they should buy their next home first, and then list their current home for sale or vice versa? The answer depends on a few factors.
If the homes in your current neighborhood typically sell within 30 days, then you should not have much of a problem with listing the home and selling it quickly. In this scenario, you could buy your next home and list your current home for sale at the same time.
However, if the typical sale in your area takes 90 days or more, it means you need to wait on buying. You will need to sell the current home to get off that house payment before taking on the next home mortgage payment.
The other factor that comes in to play is your current income. Do you have the ability to make two home payments for a short time while one house sits for sale? If the answer is no, then you definitely will need to sell your current home before buying the next property.
What Changed in Your Life Since Your Last Purchase?
When you bought your current home, there were certain things that you needed in your life. It could have been proximity to work, or a particular school, or maybe entertainment.
What has changed in your life since you bought the house? Do you still need to be near that same school, or have the kids moved on to a different school? Do you have the same job? Do you find that you no longer frequent the same shopping and eating establishments?
More importantly, what do you need now in your life as well as in the next few years? If you are getting up in years, it will be wise to be relatively close to your primary doctor and the hospital that your doctor uses. If you and your family love spending time on the water, then it may be a good idea to be near the lake or ocean.
If you are anticipating being an empty nester, perhaps it would be better to be in an area with people close to your age that share some similar hobbies.
What are the Pros and Cons of your Current Home?
There are no perfect homes, especially if you did not commission the builder. There are always one or two things about the house that you wish you could change.
For some people, it could be the layout of the home. The main bedroom is in the wrong place, or the hall takes up needed space or the dining room is of no use.
For other people, it could be that the home is just not big enough, or maybe one or two rooms are the right size while another room is too small.
Did you buy a home with an upstairs section and now you hate having to climb those stairs? Did you purchase a place with a big yard and now the maintenance on the yard is too much of a hassle?
Review your current home and decide on the things that drive you crazy as well as the things that make the place more enjoyable.
Are you Moving for Home Size or Neighborhood Quality?
As mentioned earlier, life changes for all of us. If you find that you need more space, the next home will likely be quite a bit more expensive. Besides location, the biggest factor in a home’s price is the square footage.
On the other hand, if you simply wish for a better environment, it is possible to find a home priced near your current home in a different neighborhood.
This is why it is so important to identify why you need to move and find a home based on those needs.
What is Necessary to Get Your Home Sold?
Some people maintain their home like it is a 5-star hotel. Other people let some things slide until the time is right. Is your home ready to sell now, or do you need to take care of a few things first?
If the yard needs mowing, shrubs need trimming and the front porch needs a good cleaning, then you could list the home and handle the yard work on a weekend.
However, if there are some things like old wood around the eaves of the home, missing roof shingles, and an air condition system that needs a good servicing, it may be difficult to sell the home right away.
If the home is not move-in ready, you will either have to accept lower offers from buyers or agree to repair clauses in the contract that will eat up your profits.
What are the Pros and Cons of Your Current Neighborhood?
Just like there are some things about your home that you would like to improve, there are likely things about your neighborhood you wish were different.
Consider the traffic on your daily commute, the proximity to things like shopping, restaurants, entertainment, and areas that align with your hobbies.
Also consider other things that may be important to you like available green space, walking paths, bike trails, and the homeownership association.
Consider both the good aspects and the bad things when you are looking at your next home and try to get as many of the good things as you can with the next place.
How Big of a Home do you Really Need?
Sometimes people need a bigger home because their family is expanding. This would mean they need more space in the form of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Other times they need more space for a different reason. For example, if the primary earner in the home has accepted a new job that is a work-from-home position, then they would need a dedicated work area, such as a home office.
Take careful consideration of what you actually need in a home that makes your day to day life more enjoyable and makes the home more functional for you.
What Can You Afford?
Thankfully, the historically low interest rates make it possible to get lower payments than we have seen in many years. This means that you can lock in a great, low rate now for a lot of money and keep that payment for the duration of the loan.
The biggest question is how much are you comfortable paying? Keep in mind that if you move to a bigger home, the larger place will have more expenses that go along with it.
Slightly higher utilities, more property taxes, and the month to month maintenance on a larger home will be higher compared to a smaller home. This will be important information to have when calculating your new budget.
Should You Simply Wait?
Although interest rates are great right now, that does not mean it is the perfect time for you to move to a bigger and better home.
If the new home is going to be a financial strain, it would be wise to wait until you have a bigger down payment or your income increases.
If the new home will cause you to have a much longer commute to work every day, it would be wise to wait. Having a great home in a great area is not much consolation if you spend less time at it due to wasting hours driving to work.
Summing Up Tips For Move-Up Buyers
These are the top things to consider if you are in the market to move up to a different home and/or neighborhood. By using these move-up buyers tips and analyzing your situation, you should be able to make a smart choice for your needs and find your new home without sacrificing too much in your daily life.
Additional Helpful Resources for Move-Up Buyers:
Follow these home buying tips to be one step ahead of other home buyers. Effective home buyers do certain things to help guarantee their chances of getting the home they really want.
Buying a home is not always straight forward. There will be things that come up and you will not know what you should do. Take a look at this post by Michelle Gibson to learn facts home buyers should know.
In order to maximize your mortgage options and your chances of getting the home you really want, home buyers must avoid these mistakes. It only takes one to derail your dreams of owning a home.
Making sure that you know when a new home comes to the market is very important. Take a look at this article by Kevin Vitali to learn how to manage email alerts for home buyers and take advantage of being one of the first people to be notified of new listings that match your criteria.
About the author: This article on “9 Tips for Move-up Buyers” was written by Luke Skar of MadisonMortgageGuys.com. As the Social Media Strategist, his role is to provide original content for all of their social media profiles as well as generating new leads from his website.
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