Avoid Relocation Traps When Selling Your House

By Eric Tyson, Ray Brown

You shouldn’t move and buy a new home before you ask the right questions. Don’t base such a critical decision on assumptions and wishful thinking.

Here are the common pitfalls that ensnare those making relocation decisions so you can avoid falling into them yourself:

  • Equating lower housing costs with a lower cost of living: The cost of housing probably accounts for no more than a third of your spending. So if you don’t consider the other goods and services you spend money on, you neglect the lion’s share of your budget. Research all the major costs of living in an area before you commit to relocating to the area.
  • Not doing an apples-to-apples comparison of housing costs: To a certain extent, you get what you pay for. Housing costs are lower in communities with fewer amenities, inferior schools, poor commuting access, and so on. So if you’re looking at relocating to an area with much lower housing costs, you need to be skeptical instead of thinking that you’ve found the deal of the century. Ask yourself, “What does that area lack that my current area offers? ”
  • Ignoring the overall opportunities in the local job market: Your next job is just that — your next job. You’re probably not going to stay in this job for decades on end. So when you’re contemplating moving to a new area, think bigger than just this “next” job. Unless you enjoy the cost and hassle of relocating frequently, consider your chances for finding your next couple of jobs in a given area. Although it’s impossible for some people to know what they’re going to want to do several years down the road, considering the job market for more than your current job can save you from relocating more than you need to or leaving behind an area you otherwise like.

If you’re married, you also need to consider your spouse’s job prospects in your new community.

  • Taking the place where you live for granted: All too often you appreciate what you liked about a place more after you move away. Maybe, for example, you’re tired of the urban congestion and dream of the relaxed pace of a more rural community. After you make the move, however, you really start missing going to the theater and dining at cosmopolitan restaurants. Pretty soon you find yourself spending a great deal of money to escape the “boondocks,” traveling back into the city to see musicals and eat Indian food.