There’s nothing like the imminent arrival of a new baby to make you look around your surroundings and say, “We need a bigger house!” Selling and buying while preparing for your newcomer may feel like a big task, but with the right preparation, you can ensure smooth sailing into your new family life.
What’s Your Home Worth?
The first step in the selling/buying process is determining what your current home is worth. You can get a cursory idea by searching for similar homes online, or a more firm estimate by getting an appraisal. According to Money, once you have an idea of the value you can anticipate the equity you have — or how much you can expect to pocket after selling fees. This will help you in the next step, which is deciding how much you can afford to spend on a new home. It’s always wise to have a good idea about your financial picture before you start shopping. Meeting with a loan officer and getting preapproved for a certain amount can be a smart move, and will allow you to act quickly when the right home materializes.
What Kind Of House Do You Need?
When you’re looking for a new family home, you’ll want to consider not only cost, size, and amenities, but neighborhood safety and access to high-quality schools. You may also want a neighborhood that’s child and family-friendly, so you’ll be in close proximity to other young couples and kids. Qualified real estate professionals such as Marin Real Estate can help you analyze geographic demographics and help narrow down the search based on all of your “must-have” needs. Also give consideration to the age of the home — if you’re buying a resale, you’ll want to think about repairs that might need to be made in the near future, some of which can be costly.
Should You Buy As-Is?
Buying a house “as-is” means you’re making an offer on the property in its current condition, regardless of any problems or issues it might have. You may be able to get a great deal, or you could wind up with a money pit. Having your own inspection is an important first step, and you might even want to bring in a contractor to give you estimates and timeframes for any necessary repairs. Also, consider the implications of buying a potential fixer-upper with a baby on the way. A house in need of significant maintenance can be a major investment of time and money.
Don’t Forget the Home Warranty
Repairs are a part of homeownership, so being prepared is the name of the game — especially if you purchase an “as-is” property. Home warranties work alongside your home insurance to help you cover the cost of any repairs — from electrical and plumbing to household appliances — that could easily drain your budget. If you’re wondering how to find the best home warranty company, start doing some research online to find a plan that works best for you and your home.
Timing Selling and Buying
It can be tricky trying to time selling your existing home and moving into a new home with little or no downtime in between. It can be tough to consider moving into transitional housing when you’re expecting, but again, a good real estate agent can help you not only with the timing but in finding storage and short-term housing if you need it. Making sure your home is in tip-top shape, cleaned and refreshed inside and out, and with good curb appeal, can attract prospects and make a sale happen that much faster. You might even consider boxing up personal items before you list your home - it will look roomier and less cluttered, plus you’ll get a jump-start on your packing!
Once you’ve found the new home of your dreams and successfully sold your old home, the fun can begin! Make sure you have help with the move - especially if you’re in the later stages of pregnancy. Set up your room and baby’s room first, and that of any other children in the family, and unpack essentials, like baby gear and supplies, personal comfort items, and household items like cookware. Go ahead and use the move-in time to baby-proof your new home, whether that’s installing locks on cabinets, a security fence around a pool, or adding gates to the top and bottom of stairwells.
Moving and welcoming a new child are exciting, big life events. Be as intentional as you can with your planning, your search, your sales process, packing, and moving. This will help reduce stressors and make this time an exciting milestone for your growing family.