FINDING THE RIGHT HOUSE FOR YOUR LIFE: Making $ense of Movingby Hampton Rhodes

FINDING THE RIGHT HOUSE FOR YOUR LIFE:
Making $ense of Moving

Finding that new apartment (or old one) that fits YOU in a new city (or your old city) and your new job (or your old job) shouldn’t be that overwhelming if you go about it with logic, common sense and persistence.

Our staff at Z’Scoop.com has quite a bit of collective experience in moving to both new cities and new neighborhoods in the same city, and we’ve come up with a few tips to help the process go smoother and to assure that you will be happy with your decision.

Stick to Your Budget
This is THE most important rule to adhere to — especially in a new city. You have to start with this one as the supreme caveat as well because it will determine not only what you can afford, but also where you can look without getting discouraged. In some larger, urban, more metropolitan cities, you may need to find an apartment broker to help you find available apartments in a high-demand market. New York City, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Chicago are famous for this because of their housing shortages and the apartments (and sometimes the houses) seem to get leased or sold immediately upon their listings — sometimes within the hour.

But for other areas where the competition is much less savage and competitive, where the housing availability is more abundant, you should be able to do this on your own with the help of your computer and a few great websites you’ll find in our resources below. A great tool can be found at credit.com’s recent article titled “How to Determine Your Monthly Housing Budget.”

Community
Most people are happiest when they live in a community of similar circumstance to themselves. Whether you are looking for a community with lots of kids, no kids, young adults, seniors or other similar attributes that will make them feel comfortable. Do you need to be in the center of the city, or will a suburb work for you? Anticipating your needs from a community will help you select the right community for you.

A couple of fun and semi-serious tools to help you determine the right community for you are brainfall.com’s, “What City Should you Live In?.” and buzzfeed.com’s, “What City Should You Actually Live In.”

Function and Style of Housing
Do you truly want an apartment or would you also be happy in a house? Maybe what appeals to you is a duplex, triplex or planned community? Old? New? Character? Modern? Architectural? Do you want to “fit-in” with a neighborhood of similar style housing, or do you want something more diverse and unique? Knowing this about your preferences will help guide you to the resources and ultimately the best housing situation that fits you.

HGTV.com offers a style quiz that can help you determine not only which style you are most comfortable with and which style suits you best, but also which cocktail matches your style in “Find Your Design Style + Toast Your Good Taste.”

Amenity Requirements
What amenities nearby are mandatory and which are optional? Public transportation? Gas stations? Grocery stores? Restaurants? Schools? Convenience stores? Drycleaners? Daycare services?

All of these can be easily found using Google Maps. Simply start a Google search of the zip code you are considering moving to, and look for the services you are looking for in the “Nearby” drop-down tab section. Here is an example for Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, a suburb just 20 miles northwest of midtown Manhattan.

Establish Roots
Getting involved in your community can make all the difference in the world in your happiness. Clubs, associations, churches, community service organizations, volunteering, youth sports or mentoring programs — all of these activities will help integrate you into the community and give you a sense of “home” and belonging. Friendships blossom with common interests and “skin-in-the-game,” and personal gratification grows with ownership and establishment of one’s own community.

An easy way to find what groups, activities and community resources are available in any town is to go to the “.gov” web address for any city and browse the tabs. Here is an example for the City of Tucson, AZ. There is a wealth of all kinds of information that can help you get active and really join in the community — even if you choose not to participate, it’s good to know what things are going on in your new city!

All of the following resource sites offer valuable insight into great neighborhoods, local happenings within the communities, anticipated appreciation of the properties, what’s nearby with maps and directions, guidelines for comparable housing values, and historical data regarding any neighborhood. Give them a shot! And we hope we’ve helped make your house hunting a happy (and less stressful) task!

Information

Apartments

  • Apartmentlist.com lists available houses and apartments with rent amounts, bedroom count and pictures. Easy navigation and filters help locate target cities and nearby option to help fit your needs.
  • Apartmentguide.com also offers screening for requirements, filtering for areas of interest and ranges of prices within the neighborhoods, along with floor plans and a host of other options. Again – a national site that can help just about anywhere.
  • Apartmentfinder.com is probably the most well-known of the National online websites for finding apartment housing. Again, they list not only apartments, but also condos and houses for rent – in a variety of optional neighborhoods.
  • Rent.com also helps identify available apartments and housing nationally. Apart from finding an apartment or house to rent, they also offer assistance with moving, listing or selling your old apartment, condo or house, and have a blog for sharing experiences and knowledge about renting, moving or buying housing across the U.S.

Houses
Three of the biggest, most widely used and recommended online sites for everything housing are

  • Zillow.com – all kinds of housing for rent, for sale and foreclosures are listed here along with great neighborhood resource material.
  • Realtor.com – wonderful resources for selecting appropriate housing, remodeling, style ideas and more.
  • Trulia.com – Not just a real estate site, this is a data-rich portal with overviews and specifics on almost every neighborhood in the U.S.

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