Congratulations! You have accepted an offer to relocate to a new city, or even a new, state! Making this major life event a success for you and your family is being able to secure housing that meets your specific criteria and provides your desired lifestyle.
Your Relocation Consultant, assigned to coordinate your company-approved relocation benefits, has referred you to an experienced real estate agent, who specializes in relocation and your new area. The agent will provide prospective listings and take you on an area tour while you are in town for a house hunting trip. But how should you prepare for your home finding trip?
First, determine your must-have and nice-to-have criteria for the new home: public or private schools for your children; your family’s lifestyle needs; location in the city or in the suburbs; distance from your new work location; and the desired price range. Make a list of these criteria for your agent to begin researching and providing homes you may want to view while on your trip. Then you and your agent should work together to prepare an itinerary for your trip.
Typically, your assigned agent will prepare a welcome package with general information pertinent to your desired areas including school district information. Make sure to ask your Relocation Consultant to ensure that this information is going to be provided by your agent. Many times, this information is provided in a digital format with useful links.
Even if you do not have children, it is still important that your new home is in an excellent school district. Again, if you must relocate in the future and are selling this home, you want to ensure that your home will be highly sought after by potential buyers.
Review your company relocation policy with your Relocation Consultant to determine your home purchase benefits. Your Consultant will place referrals to preferred national lenders that can have you prequalified before you make your trip.
You will want to take photos when you visit the homes and take notes on each home. You will need this information when you are ready to make your final decision to purchase or rent.
If you are purchasing a new construction home, consider doing a pre-drywall inspection, and then a full inspection once the home is completed. If you are purchasing a resale, you will want to have a thorough general home inspection. Never forego having an inspection done on the home you are purchasing. Your assigned agent can recommend inspection companies that have an excellent reputation
It is also helpful to check if your Company’s relocation policy of properties that may not be allowed in the event you were to be relocated in the future.
Your agent will be able to assist you with writing an offer to purchase and arranging for a closing office in your new location if not stipulated by your Seller. You will also want to check with your Relocation Consultant to determine if the they or your Company have a preferred closing company for your new home.
If you are renting a home in your new location, your policy may allow for a rental assistance fee to the agent assigned to assist with your home search; in most cases, that will include one- or two-days’ rental tour in your new location. (If not, your Relocation Consultant may be able to seek approval for coverage of a rental assistance fee.) Your Relocation Consultant should also assign you to work with an agent knowledgeable with assisting families seeking to locate rental homes, condos, townhomes, or apartments in your desired location. Your agent will also be able to assist you with including a lease cancellation clause, if possible, that will protect you and your company should you be required to relocate during the term of your lease.
Always keep your Relocation Consultant apprised of any developments or issues which may develop regarding your home finding. It is important that, before you place an offer on a home, you inform your Relocation Consultant to ensure that you are proceeding as per your company’s relocation policy guidelines.
Locating a new home that is the right fit for you and your family is crucial to settling into your new job and new city. Deciding on a new home does not have to be overwhelming for you and your family. With these tips for planning and the support of your Relocation Consultant, this can be the start of an exciting next chapter.
Determine Search Criteria
What are you looking for in a new home? This goes beyond the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Spending the time to determine your must-have and nice-to-have search criteria will reduce the stress of your house hunting efforts
Do Your Research
Research the aspects of making a housing choice that are most important to you and your family. Look at locations – suburban or rural, school options, neighborhoods, home values, access to shopping, restaurants, public transportation, walkability scores and commute to work.
Know Your Numbers
Get your credit score – this is going to be key to finding out if this is a good time for you to buy or rent. Determine how much you can afford to purchase by working with a mortgage lender to get a pre-qualification letter. Mortgage pre-approval is based upon credit score, down payment, and funds available for closing costs. Do not sabotage the loan underwriting process by opening new credit lines, buying/leasing a car, miss bill payments, move money around or anything else that can disrupt your credit history/score.
Set Realistic Expectations
Avoid over-bidding for a home because you do not want to lose it; the home may not appraise for the value needed for your mortgage. Do not over-estimate your abilities to handle the repair or DIY projects. Understand the housing market in the new location may differ greatly from your current location. You may end up having to pay more for a smaller, older home that still needs updating.
Additional House Hunting Tips
- Go with your agent – agents are professionals and will see things in the home you may not notice.
- Do not expect to see a home as a drop-by or without a minimum of 2 hours’ notice. The majority of showings require an appointment.
- Take photos of the homes, as they can begin to mingle together in your memory after you have toured several houses.
- Test your cell phone strength in the home and neighborhood.
- Ask about additional fees, such as Homeowner Association(HOA), monthly/quarterly/annual fees, transfer fees, assessments, etc., and ask what these fees cover.
- Wear comfortable clothes, socks and slip on shoes. Booties provided by homeowners can be slippery, so having socks and slip on shoes makes the arrival and departure of each home a simpler process.
- Wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer.
- Keep beverage intake in mind, as most homeowners would rather you not use their restroom.
- Keep in mind many homes have security/monitoring systems, so use caution in how you talk about the home, decorating style, interest level or potential offer strategy.
TO DOWNLOAD A HOUSE HUNTING CHECKLIST, CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK:
InterLink’s Relocation Consultants have decades of experience in helping transferees navigate the house hunting process. Give us a call at 866-254-3910, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our services.
Katherine Hines, CRP, Senior Relocation Consultant
Ginger Merrick, SCRP, SGMS, Senior Global Mobility Consultant
Sherry Pletcher, CRP, Director, Operations and Client Services
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