A Guide For Move-Up Buyers
Are you feeling like your current home just isn’t meeting your needs anymore? Perhaps it’s feeling too small, you want to move closer to work or you’re just feeling like it’s time for a change? Whatever your reasons for wanting to move up to a bigger and better home, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few of the most important things to be aware of as a move-up buyer:
Juggling Buying and Selling
While it’s certainly possible to buy and sell a house at the same time, some people prefer not to take on both jobs at once as it can feel overwhelming. But which one to do first? The answer depends on a few factors, but the main ones are:
What is the location and condition of your current home?
The answer to these questions will have a huge impact on how quickly your current home will sell – if your home is in good condition and in a highly in-demand area, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to sell it quickly, whereas if the home needs some repairs (or even renovations) or is in a less-desirable area, you could be looking at up to 60-90 days to sell.
What’s your financial situation?
If you did need to buy before you sell, would you be able to financially carry two mortgages for a few months while the sale is underway? And if your old home doesn’t move as quickly as you’d like, how much of a financial hit are you willing to take by lowering the price of your old home?
Once you factor these answers into your consideration, you should have a much better idea of whether you’re positioned to buy or sell first.
Ideally, when you buy a new home you’ll want to stay there for a long time, so it’s important to not just buy a home for right now but also consider where you’ll be in the future. Are you expecting the size of your family to change – will you have kids, or more kids if you already have some? Do you have older kids who’ll be moving out on their own in the near future? Are you in line for a promotion at work or a change of career that would necessitate a move? Are you expecting a significant change in income such as a raise in the immediate future? Of course, you can’t always predict the future with complete accuracy, but it’s worth thinking about any possible changes in lifestyle that are on the horizon, and considering how they’ll impact your new home if you buy now.
What Kind Of Homeowner Are You?
Are there any jobs in your current home you find yourself avoiding? Does your current home have a big yard that you find you don’t like maintaining, or do you find yourself just ignoring the basement or garage and letting junk pile up in there? There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but these things are worth bearing in mind when you upgrade to your next home. A move-up is about improving your quality of life, not simply moving to a bigger place, so if you think a big yard is more trouble than it’s worth, consider looking for a place without one.
Are You Happy With Your Current Neighbourhood?
Moving up isn’t always about just the physical building you’re living in – the area where you live can be just as important. Ideally, you’ll want to upgrade your neighbourhood as well as your home, so think about what you like in your current neighbourhood and what you’d change if you could. Some things to consider:
- Do you want to have easy access to parks and green spaces?
- Do you want to be able to walk to local stores and restaurants?
- How is the commute for you and your spouse? Could it be improved by a move to a new area?
- Similarly, how’s the school run if you have kids? For older kids, what colleges and universities are nearby?
As well as convenience, an upgrade to a new community can also be a great financial investment. While a brand-new community might still be developing as you move in, this means that as new features and amenities are added, the value of your purchase increases along with the community.
How Big Of A Move-up Is Realistic?
Moving up to a bigger home isn’t just a matter of selling an existing home and buying a new one – there are also a lot of extra costs and closing costs to factor in as well. This makes lateral moving expensive, and you don’t want to be paying those extra fees just to end up in essentially the same situation you were in when you started. That’s why it’s important to make sure your next move will be a big enough improvement to be worth it. Check your budget carefully and consider how much of an upgrade is feasible for you.
How Long Have You Owned Your Current Home?
Depending on how long you’ve owned your current home and how much you’ve paid off on the mortgage, you may be eligible for a HELOC, or Home Equity Line Of Credit. This would allow you to borrow against the equity you’ve built up in your current home, which you could use to either improve your home before you sell it or to put towards a bigger down payment on your new home. This could have significant financial benefits in the long-term because if you’re able to put down a 20% down payment on your new home you won’t have to pay for mortgage insurance which means lower monthly mortgage payments for you.
Moving up to a better home is a big decision, and isn’t always as straightforward as just buying a bigger or more expensive home. You should consider all your options carefully and decide if a move-up will be a significant upgrade to your quality of life, not just your home. When you feel that you’re ready to make the move, get in touch and speak to one of our experts who can help you make your new dream home a reality.
Originally published Mar 3, 2019, updated Dec 21, 2020