As the national and local real estate market heats up, homeowners are considering their options for relocation purchases. Some of the most common motivators are to change school districts, accept a new employment position, retire, or just move to a more desirable area due to the competitive pricing in the luxury home market.
In the Sacramento area, I frequently talk to home buyers that are relocating from the Bay Area, or relocating from out of state. They’re taking advantage of the local amenities, strong economy, great schools, and competitively priced real estate.
A relocation move is a major decision, and can be even more challenging moving to an area that you know very little about! With a little preparation, a stressful, challenging move can be turned into a an enjoyable step toward a better future! Here are my top 5 tips to help take the uncertainty out of relocating to a new area.
1. Start Early
Begin planning as soon as relocating becomes a possibility. Do you have a home to sell first? Will you need a storage unit? When does school enrollment start? Will you need a short term rental home? These are just a couple questions you will need to answer as you begin you relocation plans. Making a list of tasks and their time frames will help keep you organized, and help to meet deadlines. However, giving yourself a little time cushion will keep you sane when you hit potential potholes on the road to your new life!
2. Start Broad
Begin with the big picture, and narrow down as you go. Have a general idea where you’re moving? Start with the general metropolitan area and begin narrowing down the cities you’re interested in. Some great criteria to consider are school districts, employment commute, local neighborhood amenities such as hospitals, parks, and retail, and of course, the price range that you’re going to be purchasing. Once you’ve narrowed down your potential areas, spend some time checking out the local hotspots and attractions.
3. Be Realistic
I commonly have the “Needs vs. Wants” conversation with my clients. Many buyers and sellers have a laundry list of things they consider “needs”, when in reality, there are only a couple non-negotiable items, and the rest are just preferences. Take the time to identify which of these are Needs, and which are really just Wants. You cannot change the location, schools, or geography of a home. You CAN change the home itself. A top school district, quiet street, or close proximity to employment or family could be examples of non-negotiable items. Wood vs tile flooring, no bedroom fans, or a room painted lime green are things that can easily be changed and shouldn’t be a reason to pass on an otherwise great opportunity.
4. Know Your Personal Profile
Moving to a new location can provide numerous new possibilities! Are you moving from the country to the city? From a condo to a Single Family Home? Be realistic with yourself about any changes in lifestyle or housing. If you’re moving to the country, make sure your agent can properly advise you about living with a well and septic instead of public utilities. Moving to a home from a condo? Take into account the additional maintenance that you’ll be doing. Moving to the city from a country area? Be prepared for a faster pace, and less peace and quiet. Do you walk or bike frequently? Finding a home near local trails could be important. Looking beyond just the bedroom/bathroom and square footage of the home will keep you happy with your move for years to come!
5. A Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent
Although last on this list, the right agent may actually be the most important factor! The right agent will be able to assist you with items 1-4, and help take the stress out of a major relocation. You just found out you’re relocating to the Greater Sacramento area, but don’t know the difference between Granite Bay and East Sac? What about Loomis or El Dorado Hills? Well, a knowledgeable local agent will be able to give you general info about the general metro area, while helping providing you specific information to narrow down your search. A great agent will also have a network of other service providers that can accommodate your needs. Need a contractor to make repairs on your new home before you move in? Need to know where the best local golf club is? Looking for top rated schools, or the neighborhood with the lowest crime? Looking for the best neighborhood and home for your budget? A great agent will take the time to help you create a profile for your move, and help accommodate your needs and wants!