Semigration has been on the increase since its revival at the end of lockdown in 2021 and more and more people are moving cross-country, often to areas they might only visited before which makes buying a home more of a challenge than merely moving to a nearby neighbourhood.
“Moving house is stressful enough but moving to a new town or city and buying a home where you have never lived before is a major life transition that comes with its own set of challenges and it can be overwhelming,” says Claude McKirby, Co-Principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International realty in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs.
“The only way to navigate he process is through careful planning and consideration – and beginning the process as far in advance as possible.”
He offers the following tips for a more seamless purchase and transition:
Conduct thorough research on the new town/city so that you have a better understanding of the various suburbs, the local amenities, schools and community vibes.
- Understand Local Market Dynamics:
Markets can vary widely from city to city so familiarise yourself with current trends, property values, and potential future changes in the market to make informed decisions.
- Budget Realistically:
Once you’ve looked into the various suburbs, establish a realistic budget for your new home. Consider not only the purchase price but also additional costs such as property taxes, homeowners’ association fees, and potential renovations. Ensure that your budget aligns with your long-term financial goals.
- Engage a Local Real Estate Agent:
Enlist the services of a knowledgeable and experienced local real estate agent who can provide valuable insights into the market, guide you through the home-buying process, and offer advice on the most suitable neighbourhoods based on your preferences and lifestyle.
- Visit the City Before Buying:
If at all possible, visit the city and explore neighbourhoods before committing to a purchase. Spending time in the new location allows you to assess the local culture, amenities, and overall environment so you’re able to make a more informed decision about the specific area you want to call home.
- Check Commute and Accessibility:
Evaluate the commute to your workplace, schools, and other essential locations. Consider transportation options, traffic patterns, and proximity to public transit. An efficient and convenient commute can significantly impact your daily life in the new city.
- Consider Future Growth:
Areas experiencing expansion and revitalisation may offer excellent long-term investment potential, but not necessarily a large development next door to your new home.
Stay informed about upcoming projects and developments that could impact property values in the chosen neighbourhood.
- Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage:
Do get pre-approved for a mortgage before house hunting as this not only gives you a clearer understanding of your budget but also makes your offer more appealing to sellers. It streamlines the buying process and demonstrates your seriousness as a buyer.
- Embrace your new community:
Once you have made your decision, start networking on social media, joining local community groups and pages and, once you’ve moved, attend local events.
Establishing a network not only helps in acclimating to the new environment but also adds a sense of belonging to your new city.
- Overlook Local Regulations:
Familiarise yourself with building codes, zoning regulations, and any restrictions that may impact your property. This knowledge prevents future surprises and ensures your plans align with local requirements.
- Ignore Neighbourhood Dynamics:
While a property may be appealing, it’s crucial to assess the overall atmosphere, safety, and community dynamics. Speak with locals, explore the area at different times, and consider the long-term liveability of the neighbourhood.
- Rush the Decision:
Take the time to explore different options, evaluate neighbourhoods, and consider your long-term goals. Rushing into a purchase without thorough consideration can lead to regrets and dissatisfaction.
- Neglect Future Resale Value:
Even if you plan to stay in the home for an extended period, it’s essential to consider its resale potential. Rather choose a property that appeals to a broad range of buyers and has a good chance of appreciating in value over time.
- Forget About Local Services:
Assess the availability of local services and amenities. Check the proximity of schools, medical facilities, grocery stores, and other essential services. Access to these amenities contributes to the overall convenience and quality of life in your new city as well as the resale value.
- Ignore Your Intuition:
While data and research are essential, your feelings about a property and its surroundings matter. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s worth exploring further or considering alternative options even if you are on a tight schedule.
- Underestimate the Impact of the Move:
Moving to a new city involves a significant adjustment so be prepared for changes in routines, social circles, and the overall pace of life. Give yourself time to adapt and build connections in your new environment.
“By combining careful research, financial prudence, and community engagement, you can turn the process of buying a home in a new city into a smooth and exciting adventure, laying the foundation for a fulfilling chapter in your life,” concludes McKirby.