Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
Philadelphia Main Line Homes and Real Estate
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
Relocating, whether for a job transfer or your own initiative, can be daunting because you are going to unfamiliar territory. You are faced with the challenge of finding a new home in a new community and having to accomplish it remotely. Here are some strategic steps that will help you achieve a smooth home search, and alleviate some of your relocation jitters.
Identify real estate professionals in a quality company.
Since you may need to select someone sight unseen, make sure he or she is backed by a reputable and professional organization. To help you evaluate the company, ask if they have a web site and research their company on the Internet. Working with a quality network increases your chances of being referred to a quality real estate professional. As you talk with potential real estate professionals, make sure they have experience working with relocation clients, as well as specialize in the types of homes and areas that you are interested in.
Familiarize yourself with the real estate market in your target area.
Is the new city you are moving to in a buyer's or seller's market? Are the home prices comparable to where you live now? The answers to these types of questions will give you a heads up on what to expect when you begin your home search. One way to familiarize yourself with the new market is to scan the real estate section of back issues of the newspapers circulated in your target area. Most major newspapers are available at local libraries, and major research libraries maintain archives of even wider selections of newspapers. You can further familiarize yourself with the market by reviewing listings online. Some major real estate networks also post listings online. For example, Prudential Real Estate Network members list properties at www.prudential.com.
Determine your price range.
Working with your real estate professional, estimate the price range to which you will confine your search. Many advisors recommend that your debt ratio be no greater than 36% of your gross monthly income. In other words, when combined, a car loan, tuition loan, credit card debt, property taxes, insurance, mortgage and other debts should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income. One way to determine your price range is to obtain pre-approval from a home mortgage lender. As an added benefit, buyers may take you more seriously with this written commitment from a lender.
Evaluate your new community.
Start by developing a list of criteria to evaluate communities and neighborhoods. Consider including such factors as commuting; school systems; parks; libraries and community facilities; property tax rates and other taxes; crime rates; cost of living; current and historical property values; age and character of neighborhoods; recreation; outdoor activities and arts; community organizations such as churches, charities and sports clubs; shopping; health care; and other amenities, services and costs. Check your local library for "Places Rated Almanac" or research your new community on the Internet. Web sites such as www.MSN.com allow you to compare your community with another. And don't forget about your real estate professional. He or she can send you a relocation packet filled with information about your new area.
Develop a home features checklist.
Undoubtedly, you will be arranging one or more house-hunting trips. Make sure your real estate professional knows exactly what you need and want so that your trips are productive. Take photographs of your current home or clip pictures from magazines to illustrate the kinds of features you'd like in a new home. Develop a home features checklist. Include rankings for the facts you consider most important—price, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, other living areas, garage space and other features. These may include laundry facilities, appliances, fireplaces, decorator features, landscaping, etc. You may also want to include other factors that may be of importance to you such as trees, age of the home, community pool, and proximity to employment, schools, shopping, hospitals, etc.
Moving can be painful or joyous, depending on whom you consult, how well you plan, and how openly you approach the task. Through a process of sound decision-making, you can banish the relocation jitters and ensure a smooth start to a new life.
"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.
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