The pandemic has caused so many of us to alter our life, our lifestyle, and our outlook on life overall. What was important to us a year or 2 years ago is not as important anymore. We also learned that without our family’s health, we have nothing. Absolutely nothing. We learned that when they say “Life is short and things can change on a dime.”, it is actually true. We learned that no matter the resources we have, we cannot always be in control of everything, and everything around us. We learned that home is where it all begins. We learned that there are still so many good people in the world, giving people, thoughtful people, people who care for others, and people would sacrifice their own life or livelihood to take care of others. We learned that there is hope!
Justin and I decided to leave our home in the city and purchase a home about 28-30 minutes outside of Manhattan. We had been looking for a long time (couple of years on and off) and had not found the right home for us. Having bought homes before, we knew that when you walk into the house, you are supposed to get that feeling like “yes, this is it”. There is a certain type of energy you get from a home when you find “the one”. This home is close enough where we can still go into the city for work, and allows us to have a home, and more space to play for our baby girl Siena. Schools were also very important to us. We selected an area where the schools are among the best in the country. The journey of searching for a home has been exciting, adventurous, and at times, frustrating. The competition has been intense. It was also hard for us to walk away from the home where we have so many amazing memories (me, both single and married) and also as parents! It certainly was emotional to move away from all of that.
People have different motivations to move. For us, we wanted to be closer to our family, have great schools, and have that neighborhood feel we longed for and cherish. Here are some tips from me and Justin when deciding to either move to a different neighborhood in or outside of the city:
- Decide what will make you happy (the type of house or apartment, the neighborhood, the lifestyle);
- Discuss, as a family, if you are ready for a big change (to move neighborhoods or to move out of the city, etc) and to walk away from your current living situation (including schools). You need to be prepared, as a unit, to make a move. If one family member is not on board, you may have an issue later on as you make an offer on a potential home, and need to take steps quickly and efficiently;
- Consider the qualities you will look for in a new apartment or house (schools, social life, distance, etc);
- Think about the lifestyle you will need in the next five or more years;
- Consider the ease of transition to your new neighborhood;
- Do some serious budgeting and decide if you are financially prepared to make a move;
- Make sure your credit and credit scores are ready for making moves;
- Check your lease cancellation policy if you are currently renting and try to negotiate that policy once you know you will be moving eventually;
- Hire an exceptional, patient, and honest local realt0r who knows the market very well. I cannot stress this enough. We all know realtors, but it is important to work with one who knows the market well, who preferably lives in that market, knows the comps, knows who bought what and where and for how much, knows the area and transportation systems well, and is a bit aggressive (in all the right ways) to make things happen. We knew all of the qualities we needed in a good realtor and hired the perfect local realtor to help us with our purchase. She was exceptional. She was patient. At times, we saw so many homes and I thought she may think we are not serious buyers, and will never ever like anything, and she was just the opposite. Always said “We will find your home. This is a big purchase. It is not an easy decision to find the right home.” She went above and beyond as a realtor and was also a great resource for us, and continues to be, for everything we need to know about the neighborhood. If any of you are looking for a home in New York City or Long Island, and need a recommendation, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for my recommendations;
- Be patient. It takes time to find the right home for you and your family;
- Find an experienced and responsive banker who can move fast and make things happen for you. Get prequalified so you can immediately share that letter with a seller, along with your offer, when you are interested in a home. Make sure your banker is at a bank where you maintain most of your resources or a bank where you feel comfortable moving some of your resources. Be cognizant of the special interest rates you may get if your resources are at the financial institution where you are seeking a mortgage. We worked with a great banker from Wells Fargo, and she and her team were very responsive and effective. If you need a recommendation for a responsive and effective mortgage banker, please contact me directly at email@example.com;
- Find a great lawyer. In New York, you cannot purchase a home without a lawyer. Coming from California, we used to use an escrow company and close a deal in 30 days. In New York, it is a much more cumbersome process and you need a great lawyer to look out for your interests and rights. If you need a recommendation for a great real estate lawyer in New York, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the next few months, I will be sharing our journey of adaptation to the burbs, decorating our new home, and finding our favorite places to eat, and hang, etc. Cannot wait to share more of our next chapter with you!