You hunt and search and tour and tour. Then you make a move and live happily ever after... or so the story is suppose to go. But all to often this isn't the case. In fact, according to a recent survey by Trulia, 50 percent of homeowners and 56 percent of renters have regrets after moving homes.
Buyer's (or renter's) remorse is a common side effect in real estate because when it comes to deciding where to live, all too often, we are not realistic about our true needs. Sometimes this is because we don't know the questions to ask; in other cases we are afraid to listen to our instincts or perhaps we are embarrassed about our realities. As a result it is common to end up in a house that isn't quite right. The wrong home could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars as well as creating a lot of headaches and heartache.
To avoid regrets, first consider the lifestyle you want to live. How much time do you want to spend getting to and from the things you have to do (work, school, groceries, etc...) and the things you want to do with your free time (restaurants, beach, parks, etc...) Next, plan ahead for all of costs (transportation, heating/cooling, maintenance and repairs). Your expenses don't end at your mortgage or monthly rent. Anchor these additional costs into your budget so you aren't caught by surprise. Finally, plan ahead, think about how your housing needs might shift over the coming years and make sure your planned move takes these changes into account.
The better armed you are with an understanding of your preferences, expenses and future plans, the better chance you have of being happy in the move you make. The following slide show illustrates six essential elements to consider before making any move.
For more money saving tips for house hunting, pick up Marianne Cusato's new book, The Just Right Home: Buying, Renting, Moving - or Just Dreaming - Find Your Perfect Match! (Workman 2013).
When setting your budget for a new house, account for transportation fees into your monthly housing and aim to have this combined expense less than 45 percent of your household’s monthly budget. Even without allowing for tolls or an older vehicle, a person who commutes sixty miles five days a week can end up paying close to $20,000 annually. (Image: Flickr)
Do not move into a new home—whether you’re renting or buying—without an understanding of how much it costs to operate the house on a monthly basis. Ask for a year of heating/cooling bills for any home you are considering. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)
The size and type of yard that’s the best fit for you will depend on two things: the type of activities you plan to enjoy outside your home and the amount of time and money you’re able to commit to landscape care and maintenance. Realistically think about how much time your kids will actually spend playing outside as well as the amount of time and money you want allocate lawn care. (Image: Rob Karosis)
Regardless of family size, three main factors play a role in determining the amount of space you will need: proximity to walkable amenities, the type of connection to the outdoors, and the design of the rooms inside the house. (Image: Flickr)
Consider whether you can comfortably furnish the home. Think about where you eat your meals, find a place for the TV, look for a bed wall in each bedroom and make sure that when lying in the master bed, you don’t have a view of the toilet. (Image: Marianne Cusato)
Check the manufacturers label inside appliances to determine when the unit was built and if it’s reaching the end of its life. If you are purchasing, you may need budget for new appliances in the near future. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)