As a REALTOR my obvious answer is right now, are you ready to list, sign here! But what is it that is making you think about moving? Is it disatisfaction with your home, is it location, too far from the shops or work. Does your family need more room, whatever the reason you need to know what it is that is making you feel that you want to move or you can end up being dissatisfied with the new home you buy and or little motivation whilst you are looking.
So first of all, sit down and think about what is motivating you and then make a list of what you want in a new home that is different to what you currently have. Then add to this list things that are important for you to have which you may already have in your current home. Don't worry about priorities at this stage and take your time, add to it as ideas come to you. When you feel it is complete, set priorities, what are the most important issues, try to group them first then copy your list placing them in order with the most important issue first.
- Good school district (If you have children and a good school district may hold its value better even if you don't have kids).
- Extra bedroom
- Distance to work, how long is the commute you are willing to accept.
- Public transportation close by.
- Distance to general shops, and restaurants.
- 2 bathrooms.
There is no right list, only your list. Now in reality are you going to fulfil everything on your list, probably not, but you can then decide what you are willing to accept and not accept. Having done it ahead of time helps you when you need to make a decision, however, sometimes emotion also takes over and you may decide to adapt your list when you see a home that meets 3 of your top 5 priorities but not your top one perhaps.
When you have your list together, contact a mortgage broker and ask them to pre-approve you so you have an idea of what you can afford; this may be more than you are comfortable with so be honest and let them know if you have a monthly limit that you want to apply to a mortgage so you have more money left for other things. If you have a REALTOR ask them for an idea of what your home is worth, be conservative here, you are not setting a final price for your home to be listed but getting an idea so you can work out how much you can spend after your home is sold. You can start considering neighborhoods where you might want to live and then start searching for homes in those areas to get an idea of prices. Visit some Open Houses to get an idea of what you get for your money.
After this you are probably ready to start moving. At the moment it is a good idea to put your own home on the market first, so you won't have to make an offer conditional upon selling your own home. Start looking for your new home with your REALTOR, asking them to send you homes as they come on the market in the neighborhoods that interest you, this will save you time and let your REALTOR know what are your top priorities in your search for a new home.
Good luck and enjoy yourself.
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