Seeking a New Hometown
What are some proven tips to make a relocation go as smoothly as possible?
Relocating can feel like an imminent car wreck – but it doesn't have to be that way. Whether moving your family is a treat – or a torture – depends a lot on the approach. The secret to avoiding stress is remaining positive, believing that moving is primarily a time of discovery, not regrets.
1. Before The Move.
2. During The Move.
- Accentuate the positive. Be upbeat.
- Gather factual information on what can happen during a move and ways to deal with move-related events.
- Be flexible.
3. After The Move.
- Schedule family recreation time to get away from moving stress.
- Exercise regularly – it's a wonderful stress-buster.
- Seek support from friends and family.
- Eat regular, well-balanced meals. Hunger amplifies stress.
- Tap community resources to provide the family with information on vital services in the new community.
- Help the family members make new professional and social contacts.
What advice would you give to help me decide whether to sell or rent my house when I move?
Decision making is tough. You go back and forth, never sure what makes the most sense. Deciding whether to sell your home or rent it out can feel like that. Most transferees choose to sell their house and buy a new home in the new location. But some choose to hold on to the property and try being a landlord. Here are a few questions to help you decide whether to rent the old house or sell it:
Can you buy in the destination city without the profits of selling the old house?
If you want to buy in the new location, how will you make a down payment on another house? One way may be to refinance the old property or use an equity loan to get some cash in hand, but this may also raise the mortgage payments on the old property.
Is the old home a special house you want to keep?
You may want to hang on to a home you like in the place the family will retire to, or a home customized specifically for your family, or a house that is highly likely to appreciate in value.
Can you afford to carry the old mortgage?
Whether a family can rent or buy in the new location while paying the old mortgage depends on lifestyle, income, and any corporate benefits. Rental income may cover part of the mortgage – but often the rent isn’t high enough to cover all expenses. You should be able to make ends meet even if the home stands vacant, the tenant defaults or other problems arise. Because of this, many lenders count only 75% of the rental income as real income when you apply for another mortgage. They often consider the other 25% of the rent to be a reserve against expenses and vacancies.
Will you be close enough to manage the old property, or is there a reliable agent who can handle things?
Tax laws favor those who can manage their rental properties themselves, but if the distance is more than an hour’s drive, consider hiring an agent to manage the property. A long-distance landlord will need such help in finding good tenants, preparing a lease, setting the rental rate and, most important, overseeing repairs and maintenance.
Are there some inside tips to win the mortgage game when relocating?
Sometimes transferees start house hunting without a firm idea of their buying power. If you are pre-approved for a loan, you can save considerable time house hunting and mortgage shopping.
How Pre-Approval Works:
When pre-approving a borrower for a loan, a lender will generally use two ratios:
- Total housing costs compared to total income.
- Total debt compared to total income.
As a general rule on a loan with a 10-19% down payment, housing costs should not exceed 28% of total family income, while total debt payments should not exceed 36% of the income. If your numbers fall in line, and your credit checks out to the lenders satisfaction, you may be able to get a tentative commitment from the lender for a specified loan amount. This is pre-approval, and it's a more powerful and accurate gauge of your buying ability than pre-qualification.
A pre-approved mortgage loan is an excellent guideline for relocating home buyers to know how much home they can afford. For the seller, pre-approval is proof the buyer’s lender feels confident a loan commitment would not be a problem if all the financial documentation were in order.
- Streamlines house hunting. Pre-approval identifies how much money the transferee can obtain, so precious time isn’t wasted looking at homes that are out of reach.
- Offers peace of mind. You know for sure how much home you can afford, and there is little chance a lender will not make the requested commitment.
- Prevents "house poor" homeowners. Pre-approval reduces the possibility of you becoming overextended and unable to meet payments later on.
- Boosts bargaining power. Pre-approved buyers tend to be in an advantageous position when bidding against other buyers, as sellers like knowing your loan is guaranteed.
- Pinpoints best mortgage option. The pre-approval process helps you identify ahead of time which type of mortgage best meets your personal needs.
We're seasoned professionals with experience in all aspects of relocation. Click on "Email Greg" to take advantage of our know-how.
How do I carry my credit history with me when I relocate?
Your credit history is one of the most valuable pieces of data you have. With that in mind, be sure you don’t leave behind this valuable possession when you move. You can make the most of your good credit by:
- Taking a copy with you. Be sure to take a hard copy of your credit report with you when you move.
- Including your previous address. Give your previous address on all credit applications if the credit bureau serves both the new and old locations.
- Canceling old accounts. Cancel local store credit cards and other charge accounts you will no longer need in the new location – and ask for letters confirming the accounts have been closed.
Seeking a New Hometown
Beyond the basics, what should I look for in a new community?
Each transferee family has "givens" in their housing needs, such as a home in a certain price range, with a certain number of rooms and in a certain style.
Beyond such givens, the lifestyles and special needs of the transferee and family also shape their home buying decision. For example:
- An elderly parent or spouse needs a daycare center close by.
- Church-going families need a suitable congregation that is nearby.
- An avid golfer wants to be near quality golf courses.
- A need for sufficient land for horses or other pets.
It takes a keen knowledge of the area to pinpoint the homes that supply the "givens" and also meet your "must haves." We do it every day, and we are at your service. Call or e-mail us now to help you.
What should we look for in choosing a quality school?
Test scores and statistics offer only one small measure of an effective educational process.
Here are five indicators of a good school:
- Parent involvement Parents volunteer in the classrooms, on curriculum committees, on the PTA and at fund-raisers.
- Teacher enthusiasm Teachers go the extra mile, depend on experience but aren’t afraid to try a new approach, respond to students individually and work to meet their needs. A good teacher nurtures a love of learning in her classroom every day.
- High standards Children are expected to work to their highest potential and are given the help they need to reach it.
- Community support Schools have the political and financial backing of everyone, and have business "partners" who provide added money and opportunities for students.
- Innovative administrators Schools combine the best of the old ways with newer materials and methods to help all children succeed.
When looking for a community what are some advantages of buying a used house?
Although many people prefer to buy new homes, the vast majority of buyers prefer resales. According to the National Association of Realtors, 75% of homes sold are resales.
When transferees ask us about the merits of buying an "old" versus a newly-built home, we show them how resales offer some of the best values in the market today. The news gets better when they see the wonderfully diverse resale selection of appealing styles and sizes in may locations and price ranges. Plus, when the transferee goes to sell an "old" home they’ve got what most buyers are looking for.
Here are some of the advantages that make "old" homes so popular:
We would be happy to assist you with your house-hunting needs. A resale home can be an excellent value for a transferee in today’s market. Call or e-mail for more information.
- Size appeal Older homes often have more space inside and out than new homes. Inside, resale homes may have more square footage and higher ceilings; outside, resale lot sizes are typically larger.
- Close-in convenience Many resale homes are in older neighborhoods, which are closer to downtown business districts and shopping. New communities are often a distance away from cities and commute times may be much longer.
- Cost savings Resale homes generally are less expensive than similar new homes. One reason could be resale sellers have more bargaining room than builders who have to make a return on the high costs they recently paid for land and building materials. In fact, a 1991 NAR study found resale sellers accepted a median drop of $4,000 from their asking price while builders’ median drop was only $500.
- What you see is what you get There is no guesswork with older, established neighborhoods. Transferees can research and tour the schools, sample the shopping, and check out the neighbors. In a new home subdivision, buyers might not want to live with the noise and dirt of construction, wonder about future development, or deal with possible long bus rides to existing schools and little or no nearby shopping.
- Lots of extras Many resale buyers cash in on "extras" the owner has already put in which can save big money. Typical money-saving extras: fenced yards, decks, pools, play sets, window treatments and appliances.
We like new homes, but what are some mistakes we should take care to avoid?
Buying a new home built to your specifications can be exciting. But there are a few pitfalls that can make a home hard to resell when you are relocated.
Here are some keys to a smart selection:
- Stick to the facts. Bring a scale floor plan of your current home with you, and be sure to include room measurements on the plan. Also, bring floor plans of any other homes you especially liked so you can have something concrete to compare.
- Look at the location. One way to compare the value of various locations is to see how national builders price the same home in different nearby suburbs; there may be thousands of dollars of price difference for homes a few miles apart. Also, check how quickly existing homes resell in the neighborhood, and whether the sellers realize a profit or loss.
- See what they’re selling. Check if the builder has a model on site of the style and price home you want, or if a model is available at another nearby subdivision. Look for things that may not be noticeable on plans like narrow or steep stairs, poor workmanship, awkward placement of doors, etc. Also, try to see a nearly completed home to judge how the home will look with less finish and fewer upgrades than the model has.
- Add up the options. Putting in too many options may price your home out of the market, but too few may make it difficult to resell. Hardwood floors on the main level, a fireplace in the family room; rear deck and walkout basement are important options in many areas.
- Check it out. Hire a home inspector to check the home during construction as well as before closing. And consider having an experienced real estate attorney read the purchase contract before you sign it.
What do you suggest if I have to close a real estate deal from a distance?
If you suspect you might have to handle a real estate transaction while you're traveling and are unavailable to sign important documents, take precautions before you leave town. Ask your attorney to draw up a Power of Attorney, giving your spouse full authority to buy or sell your home and to sign the necessary documents in your absence.
What do I do if I can’t move into my new house for quite some time?
When several weeks of temporary housing are part of the relocation plan, many transferees opt for furnished extended stay hotels. Roomier than hotel accommodations, extended-stay facilities often offer transferees many of the comforts of home, while saving money over the cost of hotel beds and restaurant meals. Extended-stay suites, like a typical apartment, offer kitchens, dining and sitting areas as well as sleeping quarters. Many also offer hotel amenities like housekeeping service.
Special Services Available
Different levels of accommodations are available even when the units are similar. Some extended-stay providers include furniture delivery and cable hook-ups, deluxe furnishings, kitchen utensils and dishes, and full housekeeping, while others offer a range of services on a cafeteria-style basis. Also, some providers will bill the employee’s company directly and will tailor leases to the time actually needed. Call or e-mail us about extended-stay facilities we know.
We have answers to your relocation questions. Call or e-mail us, and we'll be happy to talk to you about your special situation.
I’m moving by myself. What do you recommend?
Whether your move is across town or across the country – as a single person, a single parent, or a spouse whose partner is out to sea or on assignment while making a move – you meet special challenges. That's simply because you don't have the support, sounding board and extra set of hands most couples have when they move.
Since you're doing it all, don't forget to take care of yourself.
- Write down what worries you. Write down what is making you anxious. The everyday stresses of single living become exaggerated during a move and need your attention.
- Anticipate extra time. Allow more time for your move and settling in. It takes one person longer than two to accomplish a task.
- Reach out to new friends. Try to make a few contacts in the new community who can offer information and directions. Avoid the temptation to turn inward at times of stress, and reach out for assistance.
- Invite company to join you. Ask a friend or relative to stay and help you over the rough spots. Try to identify ahead when these will likely come, especially holidays.