Updated: May 28
Start a portfolio
Drive to the town or neighborhood you are looking to move to and collect the flyers for the homes for sale. (This obviously won't be easy if you are moving out of state, but I still believe you should take a trip before you buy, even more so if it's a new state!)
- You'll have visuals of what you get for your money and you can gather pictures to help build your "wish list" of ideal house details. It's great to have these flyers in your portfolio to reference and to stay motivated in your goals. One flyer that I picked up even had a map of the town on it which was incredibly helpful to see the neighborhoods we'd ideally like to buy in.
Create "future" budget
-If you look on Zillow, it will list an estimated mortgage based on HOA fees, price of the house, home insurance, whether you need loan insurance, etc. There are also sites online you can use to calculate an estimated mortgage as well based on your down payment and rates.
-Estimate additional utility bills that will be added to your budget. (I asked my mom to tell me her costs to factor these amounts).
-Next step: practice it! If you can of course. Aim to put away this amount in the months leading up to buying to get a realistic idea of what your new budget will be like. Plus side-you'll be saving money for a down payment also. Win-win!
Create a list of furniture you need, get an idea of what and where you'll buy it and how much it might cost. Start saving now in a furniture fund.
-Craigslist is worth checking out before buying at full retail price. There are always gently used to barely used furniture that people want to get rid of.
Find businesses and contacts you'll need in your new location and add them to you portfolio.
-Put your list together now, you'll want to know what is convenient to you and what you'll have to travel to the net town for, or maybe have shipped online.
-Find out who the local Vet is, car mechanic, hair stylist, etc. Knowing where the nearest hospital is or what dentists and drs are available to you. Churches? Schools? Clothes shopping? What grocery stores are available, etc.
-Its a good chance to take a moment to research what fun activities there are. Date night? Family activities? Birthday parties?
Join local Facebook community groups and pages.
- This will give you an idea of what life will be like in the new area. If you can start feeling like its already your community then it'll be a smoother transition when you move in.
-Join a moms group "like" the Community/Recreation center page, Any local businesses that may be of interest. Yoga studio, local news station or newspaper, yadayada.
As you collect all this useful information, add it to a folder or slim binder. I even add a financial goal thermometer that I use to visually track our savings for our down payment, and one that I use to track our monthly savings goal.
I print out pictures of furniture I like with the price for reference as well.
Having this visual resource is helpful to keep you and your spouse on the same page so you both get a sense of reality when it comes to things you'll need and where you're at with our budget and savings.
I'm sharing my worksheets that I used for my portfolio with you all. Make sure you click the PDF link to print. Happy home buying :)