Jun 15 2010

Rent before buying a house in a new city?



I had this question buried somewhere in my last post, but I wanted to have more discussion on it:

If you’re moving to a new city where you aren’t completely familiar with the area, do you jump right in do you jump right in and buy a house and hope for the best, or do you rent for the short-term while you figure out all your options?

It does take a little while to find a house and have it inspected and deal with closing n’at. So you’ll have to live somewhere and a hotel probably ain’t gunna cut it.

Last year, we moved to an apartment across town for a few reasons. It was cheaper, it had a washer/dryer, and it was in an area that we thought we might want to buy someday. We wanted to give the area a test drive.

Sure, we could make the trip across a few rivers (Pittsburghers, gasp with me!) to visit, but that’s annoying.

Turns out, we love this part of the city. It’s really nice and has a lot to offer. It’s also really expensive. Bummer.

Whenever we move to Indianapolis, we will almost certainly need to rent a place for at least a short time, if not a year or more. The only way I see that not happening is if one of our relatives will be vacationing somewhere exotic and will want us to housesit. Heh! Not likely.

So I want to hear from you. If you’ve picked up and moved to a new city, did you buy a house right away? Did you get a rental for awhile?

OH AND STAY TUNED: Later this afternoon I will be posting a 24-hour giveaway. It’s a gift card — who doesn’t love the flexibility with that?

11 Responses to “Rent before buying a house in a new city?”

  1. Moving sounds very complicated. I think you should just stay in Pittsburgh! ;)

  2. We move alot because we are a military family so our situations are different and we don’t want to buy a house just so we can sell in in say 3-4 years.
    BUT I think its very important to rent before you buy just so you know what part of town really is the best part for you. An area can look really great on paper but suck in person. Ya know?
    Good luck on your move to Indianapolis. Thats exciting!

  3. I’ve talked with so many people who have bought in a hurry or have waited and found out important things about the area they wanted to move to (often changing their minds, like you!), so our plan, when we move to a new state when Adrian starts teaching, is to rent for a year before buying. Sure, it means another move, but we think it will be worth taking the buying process slower and as much as I hate looking for rental options long-distance, I’d rather do that than look for purchase options long-distance!
    .-= Susan´s last blog .. =-.

  4. Rented first – had to find out where things were located, how difficult rush hour traffic REALLY was, and how accessible schools, parks, transit, etc. was. I liked where we were, but the ease of accessing transit also brought a lot of congestion. We moved to a newer area, which lacks developed schools and transit, but is closer to work & shopping.

  5. It really does seem like unless you know the area very well, it couldn’t hurt to rent at first. Yeah, that’s one extra move and that’s a pain.

    But slowing down and taking your time with what will be one BIG purchase, that’s a good thing. And it’s extra time to save some more money.

    If we’re able to find a decent rental house that has similar amenities to what we want in a house purchase, then maybe we could rent for even longer and keep on padding our savings account.

    As always, thanks for sharing your insights and experiences!

  6. We’ve never moved with the intentions of buying, but if we did we’d rent first, there’s no real way to honestly know the good and bad parts of town unless you live there.

    My sister is moving from Maine to New Jersey in a few months and they are going to live in their popup at a campground for a while until they find a house. That sounds like a good idea to me because then you don’t have to worry about a lease! and I know how much you love camping. :)
    .-= Jes´s last blog ..Vacation, part 1 =-.

  7. We moved to a new town/state but the town we moved to is very small so we felt comfortable working with our agent and talking to a few people who were from the area, to help us buy a house before we moved here. My husband had housing provided to him while he was in training for his new job so he was able to stay there during all of the pre-closing time, while me and the kids stayed back at our old house (which was unsold at the time) until things were ready for us to also make the move.

  8. Well, I don’t know much about buying, but as far as my experiences renting go, I think it’s good to hold off a bit until you can get a feel for the neighborhoods and make an informed decision about which is best for you; one area might offer you the closest commute, but might be lacking in other luxuries like groceries, restaurants, etc. (I’ve found this to be true of my current neighborhood. It offers me a closer commute, but I think I would’ve liked other slightly further away areas better because my hood is pretty empty other than a WalMart).

    I’m actually quite glad that when I go to HK, the company is going to put me up in a hotel for two weeks. It’s not a whole lot of time, but I’m hoping it will at least give me a little bit to get a feel for some of the different neighborhoods and decide which is best for me. Hopefully you guys can do the same when you go to Indy!
    .-= Brittany´s last blog ..Happy Dragon Boating! =-.

  9. I would rent first. 4 years ago I sold my house sight unseen for a pretty penny to a couple from Washington State (I live in Michigan) that thought they would love it and the area. Too bad from them, they were dead wrong and that mistake cost them thousands. Within a year they ended up moving into an apt in a nearby college town that had just the atmosphere they were looking for.
    .-= Trixie´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday =-.

  10. We *might* be moving a new city, soon, and we will definitely be renting at first. We just need time to learn our way around the new town and figure out what we like best. I think that’s worth a year of renting. Plus, no property taxes for the year!
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Another Great AIO Diaper: Twinkletoes! (GIVEAWAY!!!) =-.

  11. Finding the right tenants for any property is never easy, but it’s a critical part of your job as a real estate investor.

    Many investors see their tenants as partners, and the more time and energy they invest in finding and qualifying good tenants, the more dividends it pays throughout the rental term, in the way of fewer headaches, well maintained property and rent paid on time.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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