Renting Short Term Before Buying in a Particular Neighborhood
I can’t tell you how many families I spoke with over the last few decades that are moving to the Seattle area or surrounding cities such as Mercer Island or Bellevue or other areas that choose to rent before they buy. And this is a pretty smart move. Consider this; if you’re moving to an area that you’ve never lived in before, find a home that you want to buy and then decide after you’ve lived there a couple of months at this really wasn’t the best neighborhood, school district, etc., it can be very difficult to list the house again and find another place to live. You’ll probably lose out on some equity and chances are most people will simply settle and live in the area that they don’t like for quite some time. This is why renting before you buy make such good sense.
I recently spoke with a young family that due to a job relocation moved to the Seattle area. They have talked to me about buying a home but because they had never lived here before they were unsure of which area would be the best for their needs. They had one small child, a five-year-old girl, so they weren’t really looking at school districts yet, but they knew that it was coming up within the next year or two.
Even though I am well-versed in a lot of different neighborhoods and communities throughout the Puget Sound area, it’s really up to them whether or not they like the neighborhood and the area. Regardless of how I feel about a particular neighborhood, only living there will you be able to tell if the neighbor’s dogs keep you up at night, there’s a stagnant pond behind your house that breeds frogs and mosquitoes, or you realize that the commute to work takes far longer than expected.
This family chose to rent for about six months in order to find the right property. Now, while this can be a hassle, moving, unpacking, storing items and then packing up and moving again in six months, we were all convinced that this was the right decision for them.
We made sure that the owner of the small house they rented was lenient enough to agree to a six-month lease and then month to month thereafter. The homeowner knew exactly what the family was doing and there were no surprises when it came time for them to give notice.
However, in the meantime, the family and I researched dozens of different homes in different neighborhoods. The father got a good sense of how far away his new job was in different commute routes from a variety of starting points.
The mother also got a good sense of the layout of the area; where markets were, shopping, restaurants, schools etc. She was able to find a different neighborhood that had a park right down the street from the house they fell in love with. Because they were renting, there was really no rush to sell a house and move out quickly. We were able to take our time, put in a solid offer, appeal to the seller with their closing costs and many of their needs since we were not on a tight time schedule, and have an offer accepted fairly quickly. Even though the family had to move twice when they relocated, they did so at their own pace and was able to find a home that they lost in the right neighborhood.
Read More: Is Mercer Island a Good Choice?
I urge anyone relocating to the Seattle area or any new city for that matter, to take the time and consider renting a home or an apartment before buying a house. If you’d like more information about the Seattle area, the neighborhoods or towns surrounding our fantastic city, contact my office today.