Why You (Probably) Shouldn’t Buy a Home when Relocating

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Black Couple Moving

“My job is relocating me to this new city and I need a realtor to help me buy a home there”

“I want to sell my house here and move to buy a home in this new City”

“I’m visiting this City and I would like a realtor to show me some homes here”

We hear from people saying the above quotes every single day. While it is in agents’ best interest to help you buy a home asap, is it really in your best interest to do so?

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

The pandemic has changed the way that many of us live. Some people are lucky enough to have employers that allow them to work from home. Some peoples’ employers allow them to work from anywhere in the country.

Some people realize the importance of family and want to be closer to their family and/or friends.

Some people quit their jobs in search of new opportunity and find themselves moving to a new city to start a new career.

No matter what the reason, we’ve noticed a general migration of people to warmer weather and more affordable locations over the past 1-2 years.

While we love connecting people with great realtors to help them buy homes, we also feel a responsibility to offer guidance as to why it sometimes makes more sense to wait before doing so.

black family packing boxes to move

Location, location, location

There’s a reason why this is such a well-known saying in the real estate industry. Location is probably the single most important factor when buying a home. Where your home is located will affect your property value, taxes, school district, safety, diversity, proximity to amenities etc…

In fact, the location is more important than the size of the property. The worst house in the “Best” neighborhood is probably worth more than the best house in a high crime area.

Now, we are well aware there are a number of problematic issues with the previous statement because homes in black neighborhoods are severely undervalued due to historical and persistent discrimination. It’s a big reason that the racial wealth gap persists to this day. We’ve discussed this at length and there are some other well written books, studies and articles about this but we’ll try to stay on topic.

Why You Should NOT Buy a Home in a New City

However, that still doesn’t change the fact that knowing exactly where you want to buy down to the zip code level is critically important.

Think about how long it took for you to know your city. I mean, really know it. You probably know what corners to steer clear of at certain times, what restaurants have the best BBQ, and which areas are most diverse and up and coming, and what streets to avoid during rush hour.

We’re not saying you should wait THAT long before you buy a home, but at the very least, spend some time, perhaps in a short term rental first.

Moving takes a lot of energy. New city, new friends, new job…don’t add unnecessary pressure by forcing yourself to buy a home in this seller’s market before settling in.

Financially, you will make a much bigger mistake buying in the wrong location, than by spending some time renting to acquaint yourself with your new surroundings. The worst case scenario is to buy in the wrong location, realize it, then sell your home too soon and end up underwater because you haven’t built up enough equity in your property.

black family moving boxes
Black family moving to new house

Why You Should Buy a Home in a New City

What if none of the above applies to you?

What if you’re moving back to your old stomping grounds? Maybe you grew up there. Maybe you went to school there not so long ago. Maybe you have friends and family there and you’ve been visiting for years.

Ok, then it may not be a bad idea to go ahead and start looking for homes. Make sure you get pre approved by a lender that is local to that city or state. Once you do so, you’re ready to connect with a realtor.

Bottom line

Real estate agents make money when we help you buy or sell a home. Most of us are good at what we do and, depending on the market, can typically help you close on a home in 30-60 days.

Think hard about whether or not this is what you truly want to do. Searching for a home is no small feat nowadays. You may have to put in several offers on homes, undergo scrutiny from lenders, work with home inspectors, appraisers, title officers, lawyers etc…Make sure you’re ready for all of that.

If so, we’re here for you and we are ready to help you and answer any questions you may have. Simply answer the questions on our website and we will be in touch asap.