There's plenty of reasons to think about upsizing: perhaps another child is on the way, you landed a job in another city or maybe you need a home office for your business.
As you begin your search, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Create a Checklist
Make a list of the "must haves" and "nice to haves." The "must haves" are those things you feel you can't live without, such as having an extra bedroom, and the "nice to haves," such as hardwood floors, which you can always install later.
- Count the Costs
Before you begin your home search, consider the costs of moving up. In most cases, getting a larger home will most likely increase your monthly expenses including property taxes, utilities, home insurance and maintenance. Use Realtor.com's home affordability calculator to determine what your costs will be in the areas you are considering. Make sure these expenses are manageable when added to your other monthly obligations. If you have a lot of credit card debt or don't have an adequate emergency fund, work on these two financial goals before attempting your move.
- Keep an Open Mind
Consider broadening your search to buying in areas undergoing revitalization or new construction neighborhoods. However, research these options with care. For instance, new construction neighborhoods may be far away from local schools and shopping centers, which can make them inconvenient and could affect resale values, especially in an economic downturn. Desirable urban areas will surely show the signs of healthy growth with renovated houses and local chains taking up residence. You'll need to check out local crime stats, school performance and other property values to ensure the neighborhood is right for your family. An informed real estate agent can help you explore your options.
- Consider Resale Values
When you buy a house, it can often be an emotional decision but keep in mind that it's an investment, too. Location will always be highly important. Homebuyers want to live in places that are close to work, schools, medical facilities and shopping centers. They can be in the suburbs, but need to be close to public transportation. Peace and quiet vs. homes by freeways or airports will always be preferred. Most buyers want at least three bedrooms and two baths with adequate closets and storage space. Curb appeal is also very important. You'll want to find a home that looks good as you drive by anytime during the day and evening.
- Find a Good Real Estate Agent
An experienced real estate agent will listen to your concerns and help you find the right home for you and your family. SchoolsFirst FCU's Home360® program pairs you with an experienced SchoolsFirst FCU loan consultant and participating real estate agent who will guide you every step of the way through the home-buying process. Plus, you can get up to a 20% rebate off the commission of the agent who represents you, as well as quality professional homebuying guidance and Members-only discounts.1
- Get the Right Home Loan
If this is your second home, most likely you've improved your financial picture and have built up enough equity in the home you're selling to put at least 20% on your new home. SchoolsFirst FCU offers a variety of mortgage loans, including a School Employee Mortgage, featuring down payments as low as 5%, no private mortgage insurance, or PMI and discounted loan processing fees.
- Renovating Your Current Home
If you love your home, but need an extra bedroom, or would like an updated kitchen or bathroom, you may want to explore staying put and making some home improvements. A home equity loan or home equity line of credit can help you achieve your dream home without having to move at all.
1.First Team Real Estate or HomeSmart Evergreen Realty makes rebate payment. Rebate is credited to your benefit at the close of transaction, and will be lowered by any reductions to the commissions paid to the participating agent in a concurrent purchase and sale of a home. Commission will vary. To be eligible for the 20% rebate, Member must complete the transaction with the agent assigned by SchoolsFirst FCU Home360®. Using SchoolsFirst FCU for a mortgage loan is not a requirement to earn the rebate. Purchase price must be greater than $150,000 after all credit adjustments. All rebates are subject to limitations, lender guidelines, and other requirements. Certain properties may not be eligible for rebates. Rebate is 20% for purchase only of a residential property in California. Please consult a qualified tax professional for advice on tax implications from receiving a rebate. First Team Real Estate and HomeSmart Evergreen Realty are not affiliated with SchoolsFirst FCU.