If Legos, plush toys and toy cars have taken over your once-sophisticated living room now that you’re a parent, you might find yourself wondering how much you could benefit from a little more space – or maybe even a dedicated toy room.
Not having enough square footage in a current home is just one of the reasons that young families consider moving, and it’s something that Mark Boettcher, founder of Lawyers Realty, knows all about. Boettcher and his wife, who are parents to two young boys, opted to move after they found themselves squeezed out of their condo by their newborn’s accoutrements. “Immediately we started thinking, ‘This is game changer, and we’re going to have to start to look,'” he recalls.
It’s common for parents to make the decision to move, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy choice and it’s often an arduous process. If you’re unsure if it’s the right time for your family to relocate, read on for advice from Boettcher, who is an attorney, Realtor and mortgage broker right here in metro Detroit.
7 signs it’s time to move
1. You’re a renter. Home ownership is a great wealth enhancer, Boettcher says, “and is far and away the most powerful driver of wealth creation in the U.S. economy.” Home equity is one of the largest assets a family has, which is something families can tap into if needed, perhaps to assist their kids with college – and help eliminate student loan debt.
2. You’ve welcomed a family member. Are your baby’s belongings taking over your home (like Boettcher’s did)? Still don’t have a bedroom for your newest addition? If space is limited, it is time to consider more square footage.
3. You’re looking for better schools. Your child’s education is so important, so finding an area with a better school district or even a closer private system is a benefit to your little one’s future.
4. You want to be in close proximity to family. Leave the meddling in-laws mentality behind. Being closer to family, he says, is really being closer to babysitters!
5. You want to be closer to work. With Michigan’s summertime road closures and winter weather, it takes so much additional time to get to work. Choosing a home closer to work cuts down on those hours in the car, which adds up to more time with your kiddos. It’s win-win.
6. Your lifestyle. How much does it matter to you to be able to walk to the store to get a loaf of bread? Do you want a pool in your yard – or space to put in a pool if your current residence doesn’t have one? Do you have ‘grown up’ toys – an RV or boat and need a pole barn? These are just a couple of the things people consider when they are thinking of moving. And when it comes to proximity to amenities like schools, restaurants and grocery stores, Boettcher says there’s an app for that. Visit walkscore.com to type in your address, neighborhood or city to calculate how close you are to things that matter to you. You’ll get a score from 0 to 100 – and this could help you decide what area to move to, depending on your wants and needs.
7. You’re having issues with a neighbor or board. If generally speaking, he says, you’re not really pleased with your neighbors, or your HOA Board is too overbearing, it could be time to move. One caveat, he mentions, is that you don’t know who the new neighbors will be, so moving may not close the book entirely on this issue.
Ready to move?
If you’ve decided your family is ready to move, there are a few things to know about the process – things that Boettcher and the Realtors at Lawyers Realty assist clients with every day.
As a buyer, it starts with a mortgage. “That mortgage pre-approval is the key point,” he says. Listing agents will not accept an offer without the confidence the buyer can close, either with cash or by providing a mortgage pre-approval. We are mortgage brokers as well, working with two-dozen lenders to assist our buyers, so we have this matter covered.”
For families that fear they will need to sell their current home in order to afford the down payment on their new home or for better debt-to-income ratios, Boettcher says first – because he also provides mortgages – he may have a lender willing to make a loan without the need to sell first, so it is worth looking into; otherwise, the goal is to get your current property on the market and pending its sale before putting an offer in on a new one.
Part of making the sale, he says, is timing – but pricing your home at that right price is important. “We do the research and we talk to our clients. Managing their expectations is a priority,” he says when it comes to pricing your home. “The home has to appraise for the buyer. If it doesn’t appraise, many times, the deal falls apart because most buyers do not have the extra cash to complete the purchase.”
And when you’re ready to list, he says to remember two words: think hotel.
“When you walk into a hotel room, everything is neat, everything is tidy, smooth, clean lines; everything is tucked away,” he says. “That’s how you want your home to look when you’ve listed it. This does not mean the closets overflow. We can talk about specifics when you call us, and each home and family are unique.”
For those concerned about selling their home without having another one, Boettcher says, “We can list the house and let buyers know that the seller will be able to lease back the property for one or two months if they don’t have their new home by the closing date.”
That helps to alleviate any stress a family might feel during the selling and purchasing process.
If you actually do have to sell first, once your current home is pending a sale, then the fun of searching for a new home begins. And as soon as you’ve found the perfect home, Boettcher and his team will work with you to get those new house keys in your hands with the least amount of stress.
“Our negotiations, our pricing analysis, our documents, all lead to a better bottom line and transaction for our clients,” Boettcher says. “Simply put, our skill sets as real estate attorneys, our education, and $300 million in real estate deals and financing behind us are unmatched in this business.”
For more information on selling your current home, purchasing and financing a new one – or for more information on Lawyers Realty, call 866-LR-LISTS or visit LawyersRealtyMI.com. And for mortgage loans, Zana Financial at ZanaFinancial.com, (NMLS 138616 and Mr. Boettcher’s NMLS 379753)