Relocating to San Diego–or Denver?

Moving and relocation can be the best of times–and the worst as well.
It’s a time of new beginnings, new chapters and fresh starts. It may also involves sad farewells to friends, neighborhoods and streets well-known.  Kristal Kraft, a wonderful friend and fine Denver Realtor, is an invaluable resource when it comes to Denver relocation and real estate. In fact, when we have San Diego real estate clients considering a move to Colorado, we have them call Kristal–who is our star guest blogger this week.
(Please don’t let Kristal Kraft’s luscious photography lure you away from San Diego! She’s a pro–just check out her Denver Photo Blog 🙂
Please welcome Kristal to San Diego as our guest writer of the week!

Relocating? Embrace the Challenge!

The challenges of moving to a new area are universal.  It hardly matters if one is moving within the state to a new city or across the country to a new time zone, both types of relocation bring with it the same kind of planning, research and considerations.

Feeling overwhelmed at first is natural, there are so many concerns; cost of living comparisons, state and property taxes, quality of education, commute times, etc.  Most transferees (the lucky ones who are employed) plan around work and their lifestyle.

They look at a map, mark the employers address then draw a circle to determine their commute zone.  If they are lucky their housing budget and all the amenities they desire will be found within that zone!

Telecommuters and road warriors who aren’t tied to a  physical location have the whole world open to them.  Their main considerations may be finding a home that delivers the lifestyle they enjoy.

Relocation First Steps

Once the decision is made to move, start collecting information, dig-in, gather data on neighborhoods, schools, transportation options and commute times.  Ask friends in the area what they like about where they live.  Of course advice may or may not be helpful or relevant!

Where would you live?

As a specialist in Denver Relocation, I have the pleasure of working with many people who have relocated to Metro Denver.  I always enjoy hearing about the areas people suggest to their friends.  Typically friends want their friends to be close to them.  Other times they rattle off areas that they’ve heard are good.

Well-meaning friends have little or no idea of budget constraints or other really important factors to consider.

Once I had a client who told me his friend said he had to live in Cherry Hills Village because it was the best neighborhood.  Well this is a lovely area, but 95% of the population cannot afford to live there, including my client.  Despite my polite response, he insisted upon looking for a home in this neighborhood because his friend told him too!

Well we never did find one, but we did find another very nice neighborhood that suited his needs perfectly.  He purchased it.  I always wonder if the friend misunderstood the question or wanted to make his buddy feel bad.

Relocation Considerations

In addition to the obvious, budget, school, drive times, one should think about location.  Everyone knows the 3 most important rules in real estate are location, location, location.  Home buyers should consider more than just the house.

Amenities such as parks, shopping, recreation are very important.  One factor many miss is the orientation of the house.  In Colorado, like San Diego we get lots of sunshine (300 days a year).  Think about how you would like to enjoy that sunshine.  Are you a morning person or an afternoon evening person?

Do you like to Bar-be-que  in the sun or the shade?  Do you like to wake up early with the sun shining on your face?  Do you prefer the coolness of a north-facing home.  There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.  The right answer is the one that makes you happy.

Future Forecasting

Many people make the mistake of buying a home that fits them right now.  Young couples don’t think about how quickly the cute bungalow can get small in about 9-months.  Seniors fail to consider their legs might object to stairs.  Since most homeowners purchase and hold for over 7-years visualizing and planning ahead is wise.

The Exit Plan

Seldom do excited new homeowners (particularly first-timers) consider their exit plan.  Yes, this part of buying a home is extremely important.  Nothing is forever (unless you are planning to deed it to your heirs!) so be sure to take a look at values and future values.  Of course no one has the power to predict, but there are elements that aid in the prediction based on historical data.  Some of those factors are:

  • a good school district or proximity to private schools
  • a good floor plan (this is very local!)
  • a minimum requirement on size for the area (also very local, neighborhood to neighborhood)
  • no offensive busy freeways in the back yard, street lights blinking in the bedroom windows, etc.

Be Sensitive to Local Knowledge

My list of resale factors will vary from area to area.  For example I bet in San Diego or Carlsbad they won’t care which side of the house your driveway is on.  In Colorado I will simply ask, “do you like to get your exercise shoveling snow?”  (big smile on face)  Based on the answer received, I get out my compass to verify the driveway direction at every house we visit, because only south-facing driveways enjoy solar-powered snow removal!

This example is just one of many that validate the importance of hiring a professional who knows the territory.  Even as a REALTOR® for over 27 years, I would never attempt to make a long distance move and not consult an authority in the area.  A local REALTOR® brings insider knowledge to the transaction, without proper guidance one risks making an innocent mistake.

Relocation can be a fun and enjoyable experience when you approach it with logical good sense and someone who will illustrate both the good and the bad.  When you have all the information you and only you can make that important decision with confidence and it will feel, oh so good!

Yes, moving to a new area can be fun. I hope  you enjoy the journey!

Kristal Kraft
Denver Real Estate and Relocation