Moving is hard. It’s overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know what you’re really getting yourself into. There are lot of factors that make up a great place to live. Unfortunately, these aren’t all things you can discuss with your real estate agent, or know by looking at an online listing.
Here is a list of questions to ask yourself before you make the decision to purchase a home in a new city or state.
One of the first and most important questions is whether you can afford a home in the area you are looking. If the area is out of your price range, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. It’s also very important to have an understanding of what you can afford – talk to a trusted mortgage adviser to get a sense of what you’re qualified for.
Cost of Living
Beyond the cost of the home, how much does it cost to live in this area? Make sure you can afford living expenses also. Take a look at THIS infographic to understand how Portland rates in living expenses versus the rest of the country.
What kind of job opportunities are available in the area you are looking? Are there jobs available in your field? Will you be able to pay the bills with the jobs available? Employment opportunities can vary drastically between cities, so be sure to do your research. It’s also important you have gainful employment in order to get qualified for a loan. Something else to remember, don’t change jobs within 90 days before buying a house; it’s frowned on in the lending process.
What’s the weather like? What type of weather do you prefer? What kind of weather are you used to? Can you handle the weather in this new city or town? Also what is the landscape like? Do you enjoy the natural vegetation in the area and its proximity? How will it suit your lifestyle? This is very important for your well-being and happiness.
If you have kids, or you are thinking about having kids, the education system in your town is likely an important factor. Are there different schools to choose from in the area? Do you have a particular type of school you want your kids to go to? Is there a college or university nearby? How are those schools rated, and do you understand recent levies for school improvements? Think about what your priorities are in this area, and whether this neighborhood fits your needs.
What’s the community like? This can be hard to determine, so it might take a little bit more digging. Be sure to spend some time in the area. Visit nearby grocery stores. Get a sense of the walkability in the area. Checkout nearby restaurants and coffee shops, libraries and other community access points. Spend some time near the schools your kids might attend, and visit local parks and community centers. Take some time to observe and judge for yourself what the community is like.
Transportation & Proximity
What’s the transportation like in this location? How will you get to work? How will your kids get to school? Is there a good bus or train system? Is there bad traffic? How far away are the places you have to be from where you will be living? Is it manageable with the transportation available? What would your commute look like?
Safety is important to everyone. When you’re spending time in the area, make sure you keep note of whether you feel safe. Explore different streets to see what you’re comfortable with. You can also do research on crime rates. In Portland, you can find this information at www.portlandmaps.com
Amenities and Activities
Does this area have activities you like to do? Are good restaurants important to you? Gyms? Yoga? What about outdoor activities? Make sure that you will be happy with what is available to you.
Last but not least: Do you love the area? Can you see yourself living there for a long time? Do your research, spend some time in the area, and hopefully you can find the home of your dreams.
Thinking about relocating to Portland? Here’s a fun info-graphic with some really useful information.