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There’s no place like home.
It’s your sanctuary, your place of rest, your family’s stomping grounds. Finding and settling into the perfect home brings such a rewarding feeling, but let’s be honest: The process leading up to it is no cakewalk. There’s a lot that goes into buying a home, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a stressful experience. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can ensure the whole process goes off without a hitch. If you’re planning a move soon, be sure to consider the following things:
Before you even start looking at houses, think about the area where you want to live. Location is the one thing you can’t change, so this needs to be determined up front. Do you have kiddos? Is walkability important? How about the school district? Even if you don’t have children, buying in a good school district can help with resale down the road. Don’t forget about your work commute, either — do you need easy access to highways or public transportation? Once you’ve settled on a neighborhood, find a real estate agent who’s a specialist in that area so you can maximize your potential for finding the right home.
Buying a home is a financial decision, and as such, budget should be a driving factor in your decision-making process. If you’re moving up, consider how your monthly payment will increase and whether you’re prepared to handle that. If you’re moving to a fixer-upper, take into account any extra expenses you’ll incur with renovations. Also, research the cost of living in the area, as well as property taxes and HOA fees. And of course, don’t forget to budget for the actual move.
The Home Itself
Once you’ve found a home, gone under contract with the seller, and started the mortgage process, it’s time to begin packing and planning for the big move. The key to a smooth move is organization. Here’s a handy checklist to help you get started on the right foot:
Do a purge.
Begin by going through and getting rid of unnecessary stuff, from clothing to furniture to old holiday decorations. This will not only make for a lighter move but will also help you start fresh in your new home.
Save some money as you pack by using items you already have. For example, fill up laundry baskets and suitcases with non-breakables, and wrap delicate items like glassware in kitchen towels and linens. Be sure to label every box and, if you want to be extra organized, keep an inventory list of what’s in each box and which room it should go in. Check out more clever packing tips and tricks.
Hire legit movers.
A reputable moving company can save you a lot of headaches on moving day. Check that they are licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and only accept Full Value Protection insurance to cover any damage to your belongings. Be sure they perform a thorough in-home estimate, and don’t move forward until you have an agreement in writing.
Plan for moving day.
Outline your game plan for moving day well in advance. Determine what you’ll do for food, lodging, and transportation. Can you arrange for someone to watch the kids, or do you need to find some games and movies to keep them entertained throughout the day? Don’t forget to make room for the dog or cat, or plan to drop it off at the pet sitter’s to make its life and yours a lot easier.
It’s a Big Deal
Buying and moving into a home is one of the biggest milestones in a person’s life, whether it’s your first time or your third. When you know what to expect and what steps to take along the way, you can make finding home sweet home a fun and enjoyable experience.
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