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Is now the right time to move? Your essential checklist

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No matter what stage of life you're at, a move can be a great thing.

Sponsored by Bankwest. If you're thinking about refinancing, Bankwest can help. Learn more about our variable rates and loan features today.

People move house for a ton of different reasons.

Lifestyle changes, new job opportunities, or even just a desire for change can mean that you need to make a move.

But is the time right for you?

πŸ‘‹ Hey there! Since we've partnered with Bankwest, we'll be using its home loans as an example throughout this article. However, you should always do your own research and seek professional advice that takes into account your financial needs and objectives when deciding what's best for you.

❑ Are you upgrading to your dream home?

Discovered your dream home in a listing or you're planning to build it yourself?

It's an exciting journey to be on. It opens up a huge range of possibilities for yourself and your loved ones.

But taking the next step can sometimes still be as daunting as when you were purchasing your first.

There are a few points worth considering before you make your next move:

  • How much you can borrow, in addition to your current mortgage
  • Your disposable income
  • Rate rises
  • Increased cost of living.

All of them are significant considerations in their own right. After all, you don't want your dream home to turn into a nightmare!

But by talking these factors over with professionals, you should be able to put them into context and plan accordingly.

For example, Bankwest offers conditional pre-approval (valid for 90 days) – which in turn means you'll have a clearer idea of how much you're able to borrow before you start shopping for your dream property.

You can also access unlimited free property reports which give you information about the property and suburb so you can buy with confidence.

Couple renovating their home

❑ Are you turning your first home into an investment property?

Your first home might not be your forever home. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to sell it, either.

One way that many people can fund their second – or even dream – home is by using their first home as an investment property.

This enables them to keep multiple feet on the property ladder, leverage the equity in the existing property and also potentially offset the costs from a second mortgage.

So before making your next move, consider whether it's worth hanging on to your existing property.

❑ Are you expanding your family?

Whether you've already got kids or are just in the planning stages, you might feel that your current place is a little small.

Maybe you're looking for a bigger backyard, you need an extra bedroom or two, or the need for a second bathroom is hitting critical mass. You may even be considering moving to a new area to get into a specific school zone.

This can be a great time to move, as it's an easy upgrade that doesn't involve the hassles that can come with renovating your current place.

Leveraging the equity in your existing home can be extremely handy in these situations.

Unlocking equity in your property can help to get you to finance your next home.

You can work out if you've built equity by calculating the remaining home loan balance from the value of the house.

This way, you'll have a clearer idea of the sort of funds you'll have available when you approach a lender and start the hunt for your next home.

Father & son in new home

❑ Are you downsizing?

People downsize for a variety of different reasons. The upkeep on a large home can be quite expensive, whether it's council rates, power bills or just the cleaning.

Larger homes can also be prone to clutter. Downsizing represents a great opportunity to cull back on excess belongings and streamline your lifestyle.

Downsizing can also make moving to a desired city or suburb more affordable, too. A four-bedroom house might not be feasible in a fashionable suburb, but an apartment might be.

Additionally, retirement is also a very common period for downsizing. If your kids have moved out and you're done with work for good, there isn't always a need for a full-scale family home anymore.

❑ Have you had a shift in finances?

Whether you've had a recent windfall or are looking for ways to tighten your belt, finances can be a huge driver for relocating.

What's important is that you don't overextend yourself. Make sure that you're making informed decisions, rather than snap judgement calls.

Tools like Bankwest's Refinance Calculator can be helpful in making decisions.

Couple unboxing in their new home

A few reasons to stick with your current place

Moving's often the right choice -- but there are times when it's better to stay put.

If you're unsure, here are some points to consider.

  • Sometimes the urge to move is just itchy feet after a number of years in the same place. Which, of course, is not necessarily a reason to uproot from your current locale!
  • If your current place is large (or small) enough for your family, within easy distance of work and has all the facilities you need – well, staying might be the best option.
  • You may also be waiting for property values to rise before you sell, or to dip in your preferred location.
  • If you haven't quite built enough equity in your home to cover the cost of a deposit on your next home, it can make sense to stay put and build more equity to put yourself in a better position in a couple of years.
  • Similarly, issues with your current home may be able to be rectified with renovations rather than moving house.

Moving always has to be the right time for you – regardless of external factors. It may also be a good idea to speak to a financial advisor before making a move, too.

Get the home loan you need

No matter why, when or where you're moving, you need to have the right home loan.

Now, the temptation might be to jump on whichever loan has the lowest interest rate. But a low interest rate in and of itself doesn't necessarily mean you're getting the best deal.

You need to take a closer look at the other features included in the home loan. Compare the reference rates and make sure you consider the fees for any extras, like offsets and credit cards.

To point to one example, Bankwest's Complete Home Loan package includes a number of other features – such as flexible repayments, an optional credit card, plus the ability to have up to 9 offset accounts so you can bucket your money and save on home loan interest.

Everyone's needs are different, so it's always worth investigating a number of different options.

But what's important is that your loan provider offers a competitive rate and a range of features that can service you throughout the lifetime of your loan.

Discover more about Bankwest home loans

Sponsored by Bankwest. If you're thinking about refinancing, Bankwest can help. Learn more about our variable rates and loan features today.

Image: @Monkey Business Images via Canva.com Image: Getty Images
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