Moving On a Budget with Kids - Stressful!
This article was generously contributed by Alyssa Strickland of Millennial-Parents.com. Thanks Alyssa!
If you’re searching for the ideal family home but you’re concerned about staying on budget, there are some pre-move steps you may want to work through. Although it may seem tricky to find a home that works for your children’s needs without overspending, with a little research and know-how, you could make it happen. Whether you’re planning to move to San Diego, California, or Brookline, Massachusetts, these tips can help you navigate the home-buying and moving process.
Clearly Define Your Family’s Home Budget and Financial Limits
Before you start shopping for a house, it’s important to know your financial limits. Spending too much on a home could lead to uncomfortable levels of debt and leave your family with less cash for necessities and fun.
To arrive at a realistic budget, try using the 28% rule of thumb. This rule states that your mortgage payment should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income. If you’re renting now, figuring your rent amount and about half of what you’ve been saving may be a good monthly mortgage target. Also, consider how much you feel comfortable taking out of savings to put into your down payment.
Search for a House That Fits Your Family’s Wants and Needs
According to one study, having a house that suits your needs can impact your family’s mental, emotional, and even physical health. Look for houses that meet your wants and needs, taking into consideration factors such as:
• Desired square footage and lot size
• Proximity to work, school, and key amenities
• Desired neighborhoods or other geographic locations
• Key features within the home, such as dedicated laundry rooms or two-car garages
• Move-in ready or fixer-upper status
Do Your Research on Today’s Home-Buying Best Practices To Ensure Smooth Sailing
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, or if you just want to feel confident about the process, it can be helpful to learn about today’s home-buying best practices. You can do independent research or contact your agent or broker with any questions. There are quite different strategies when the market is favoring sellers vs. buyers and each area may have customary practices.
For example, it’s often useful to secure a mortgage preapproval from your bank before shopping for houses to show sellers you’re a serious buyer. Also, research your loan options, compare interest rates, work on boosting your credit score, and research the current market in your area. Have a preapproval – or even a firmer guarantee from the loan officer – is crucial in a sellers’ market, which is what most of the U.S. is experiencing in 2022.
Start Preparing Your Kids for the Move Early on in the Process
Moving houses can often be a rough transition for children, so early preparation is key. You should:
• Let your kids know about the upcoming move as early as possible
• Allow them to help with the home search process
• Listen to their feelings, as they may be upset about leaving the current house or school district
• Get them involved with the packing and planning process
Get in Touch with Local Movers
• Contact local movers directly to get quotes
• Ensure your mover can meet your family’s needs
• Read company reviews online to evaluate each mover
• Check for coupons, sales deals, or moving credits to cut back on moving-day costs
For many parents, navigating the home-buying and moving process while sticking to a budget and keeping the kids happy can seem like a tall order. Fortunately, these key tips can help your family find and move into a house that works for both your budget and your little ones’ needs.