Moving to Seattle: Should You Rent Before You Buy?

Posted on: January 7, 2017

Relocating to a new city can lead to a great deal of uncertainty. Uprooting your life, leaving your comfort zone, and selling off your assets are all pretty risky. You’re also moving to a new job, which is usually a very intimidating prospect on its own. That’s not to say you shouldn’t capitalize on new opportunities, but you should always ensure that you will be financially protected.

Arguably, the biggest financial aspect of your move is going to be your housing expense. No other cost trumps rent or a mortgage, and that doesn’t even account for the costs that may be associated with moving your old belongings and purchasing new ones when you arrive. So, naturally, your first question should be about the possibility of homeownership. Should you go ahead and buy a home, or should you rent for a while when you first move to a new city?

Many people will tell you that Seattle rent is so high right now that it makes buying a house much more affordable, if you’re thinking only in terms of how much your monthly payment will be. However, this notion ignores the context of moving to a new city. Those of us who work in real estate have found that renting before you buy in your new city is often a smarter option. Let’s look at why you should always rent before you buy.

You Don’t Know the Area.

It’s obvious that you’ll need some time to become acquainted with your new surroundings when you relocate to an unfamiliar city. Why, then, would you settle down in a neighborhood you know nothing about? Renting gives you time to explore your new city’s neighborhoods, and it gives you the opportunity to find a Realtor® you are comfortable with.

If you jump too quickly into purchasing your home, chances are high you’ll soon find another neighborhood that you would rather call home. Remember, you can’t know if the grass is greener across town if you’ve never actually been across town.

Pay attention to the little things, such as:

●       Your potential work commute.

●       Grocery shopping options.

●       Nearby entertainment.

●       The neighborhood vibe (Is this an active community? Pet-friendly? Loud, with high traffic?).

Once you’ve closed on that mortgage, you’re committed, even if another neighborhood feels like home.

Life Changes Quickly.

Settling into your new city takes time. Beyond neighborhood preference, there are some things that you just won’t know until you’re settled.

Many people move only to realize they hate their new job. This is quite the predicament if you’re new home choice was based solely on your job offer. It’s also somewhat common to find out that your significant other can’t find work in your new city.

Personal challenges are another factor that can interfere with your new life. Sick family members could force you back to your old city. Dealing with illness is hard enough, but compounding that with a real estate transaction is an enormous weight that no one should have to bear.

In general, it’s a very smart idea to rent a home while you find an experienced local Realtor® and get to know your new home city. It removes the pressure and allows you to take your time while house hunting. Whether you’re just moving to Seattle or have been a renter here for years, we are ready to help you find the home of your dreams. When you’re ready to begin your Seattle property search, get in touch with us. We can’t wait to show you around!

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