So recently, I decided that it was time I move out of my parents home and closer to my work place. Currently, I drive about 3 hours a day in traffic commuting to and from work. A typical 8-hour work day easily becomes a 12-hour day for me, having to leave my house around 6 am and then finally arriving back home around 6 pm. Moving out seems ideal since I would be gaining a few extra hours each day. But how much does it take to move out? What are some things that you should look out for? Here are my 10 Moving Out Tips for Finding the Perfect New Home.
10 Tips for Finding the Perfect New Home
1. Rent Costs – You should only be spending 30% of what you take home each month for your rent and utilities. This should be your goal and you should try your best to aim for rent that is no higher than your 30% number.
2. Rent or Buy – If you have the money for a down payment, it may be worth considering in buying a house or an apartment. Especially in today’s housing market, there are tons of great deals on foreclosed homes and auctions. It may be worth investing the money that you would use for rent each month to go towards a home that you can own in the future. You can always rent out any extra bedrooms that you have and collect the rent money to help make your own monthly payments.
3. Location – Where you choose to live is very important. Make sure that you have all of your necessities within reasonable distance (eg. asian market). Do you have a dog? If so, then you should probably look for a place near a park. Do you like to jog? Then look for a nice residential area. The options are limitless out there, take the time and think about what types of places you need in your life, what you can do without, and what you would like to have.
4. Stay Safe – While looking up areas, it’s a good idea to check out the crime in the area. No one wants to move into a neighborhood where they don’t feel safe. A useful site for this is spotcrime.com. Find out what types of criminal activity have occurred in your chosen area. Try not to let the crime results scare you too much however, because crime exists almost everywhere. After all, we are all human.
5. Walkability – It’s always nice to be able to walk to markets, movies, or bars. Use walkscore.com to help you figure out what places there are around you that you can walk to. The site will also provide you with a walk score, letting you know how walkable the address you inputed is. This information is quite useful if you are unfamiliar with the area and would like to save money on gas or public transportation.
6. Requirements – What is it that you must have in order to consider the location? Is it a one bedroom? Balcony? Gated parking? Two parking spaces? Pets allowed? Swimming pool? Gym? Make a list of what it is that you can’t live without. But make sure to keep this list short, about 3-4 of your very top must haves. The less you have on this list, the more choices you will have to choose from.
7. Research and Compare – Make sure to really do your research when looking for a place. Each place that you find and like, make sure to write it down. Keep a document of what you liked and disliked about the place, its location, and price. This will make it a lot easier to review and for when you decide if you want to visit the location.
8. Property Manager – The property manager can easily make or break a apartment or home. If you are interested in a place, make sure that you speak with the manager and decide if you like them or not. If they fail to answer their phone or return your calls, thats already a very bad sign. Ideally, you should want an on-site manager, someone that you can go to anytime of the work day if you need something. Don’t under estimate the importance of a good property manager.
9. Reviews and Ratings – A good idea is to check out if the property or even management has any reviews online. This will give you an insite on what is not advertised in the listings and what actual residents think. However, it is also important to take each review with a grain of salt. Of course people are more likely to review if they are angry about something rather than if they liked something. Also don’t forget to check the dates on the review, some may be from management that no longer exists there, etc.
10. Where to Find Listings – The internet of course! Craigslist.com used along side with padmapper.com is always a good first start, especially because you will usually find cheaper listings. There are plenty of other free websites that you can use, just google it, because I’m not going to list them out for you. If you don’t like free, you can even pay money for the same listings that you can probably find yourself for free (for the lazy people). Remember to check listings daily as new ones constantly pop up. Don’t be tricked by some of the beautiful pictures, and even some of the horrible pictures. Not every place is what you may think from looking at the pictures. Also, don’t forget that although the internet seems limitless, it does have its limit. Sometimes it may be better to just go in person and check out that place that you always passed by on your way to work.