If you were guaranteed a job, what city would top your list for places to settle down? When choosing a place to live, affordability tops the list for Americans. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to do to upgrade to your dream home, in addition to the top five places, according to U.S. News & World Report, to settle down and call home.
Perhaps you’re looking for a change in scenery, a fresh start somewhere new, or you’ve outgrown your current home. Whatever the case may be, you know that a new home is on the horizon. So, before we get to the top places to live in the United States, let’s take a look at what all home buyers need to know when upgrading from starter homes.
Determine your budget
For a large percentage of Americans, money is an object when considering upgrading to a larger home, which is why affordability and quality of living go hand-in-hand when choosing a place to live. Jot down your current needs in a home and then begin drafting a budget.
When budgeting for a new home, it’s helpful to know the fair market value of your current home so that you have an idea of how much you will be rolling into your new home. Will you make a profit from the sale of your home, or will you need to spend more time saving for a down payment? For the most accurate figure, work with a local real estate agent who can pull comparable properties in your area and give you a number.
Check your credit
It’s good to know where your credit stands if you’re planning on financing your new home purchase, as it will affect mortgage eligibility and interest rates. Run a credit report and take care of any issues you may have. The goal here is to make sure your credit score is as high as possible, so if it’s already there, keep doing what you’re doing.
If there’s room for improvement, work on paying down some existing debt or continuing to make revolving payments on credit cards, car loans, or your mortgage to build your score. It may take some time to build a rock-solid credit score, but the wait will be worth it when you finance your dream home with a low-interest rate!
Make a list of must-haves
You’re upgrading to your dream home, which means you likely have a vision in mind. Begin with locations. If you’re planning on staying in your area, what are your preferred neighborhoods? If you have children, in which school district do you want to reside?
Once you have a location down, you can begin making a list of physical attributes for your dream home and property, such as a large yard or a wraparound porch. Having your vision down on paper will help your real estate agent find you the home of your dreams and give you an idea of where you will be with your budget.
Where to settle down
When it comes to ideal places to live, every survey has a different metric for determination. Financial comfortability and affordability were the driving forces between U.S. News & World Report’s, “The 25 Best Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. in 2019.” U.S. News & World Report devised their list by weighing the percentage of income spent on living expenses. Thus, those cities with the lowest percentages spent on living expenses topped the list. Without further adieu, here are the top five affordable places to live, in ascending order:
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (21.5 percent of income spent on living expenses)
- Fayetteville, Arkansas (20.44 percent of income spent on living expenses)
- Des Moines, Iowa (20.11 percent of income spent on living expenses)
- Fort Wayne, Indiana (19.57 percent of income spent on living expenses)
- Huntsville, Alabama (19.3 percent of income spent on living expenses)