At a certain point, it's time. Whether you've gotten another dog, had another child, or just can't stand the thought of opening up that overly cramped hall closet, moving into a house is the perfect next step when your apartment just doesn't cut it anymore.
Though buying or renting a first house can often feel daunting, it's a great way to start over and enter the next chapter of your life and career with a new sense of energy, comfort, and ambition. Here are some things to consider before and after making the decision.
By "looking around," we mean looking at your current apartment, the options in the areas where you might be moving, and even at yourself.
A first house is a major commitment, one you'll most likely want to take on with your partner. If you're looking around your apartment and suddenly feel like it's time for more space, consider whether a bigger apartment, instead of a house, is the most logical next step. Where are you in your careers? Are you planning on having children, and if so, do you know where you might want them to grow up? Long-term questions like these will be sure to help you figure out whether now's the time for a house.
If your answers to these and other questions aren't totally solid, there's nothing wrong with that! And if you raise these questions with your partner, and their answers aren't too solid either, that's even better. This is a sign that you might not be ready for a house but that a bigger apartment might be the ideal place in which to figure out the answers together.
If you and your partner's answers line up perfectly, and you've been thinking about branching out from the city for a while, then congrats! A house may really be on the docket, and in that case, you can start using sites like Zillow to learn more about the markets in the states, towns, and neighborhoods you've got your eyes on.
Above all, considering moving into a house is a perfect opportunity to take stock and regroup. What do you want the next five, ten, or twenty years to look like? Before committing, be mindful of the environment around you and the vibes within you to figure out where you think your path should lead.
Once you've committed to spreading out to a house, start the planning process! We've written about it extensively on this blog. Click here to learn more about avoiding common moving mistakes, and here to get 9 tips for making move day the best day ever.
The planning process does become a bit more complicated when you're moving into a house. You'll likely be moving way more stuff than you would be into an apartment, and you and your partner might even be pulling things from storage you haven't thought about for years. When moving huge quantities, it's important to keep an even more detailed inventory and think about move day itself with even more precision. What will each room in your new place be used for? What belongs where? Who'll be helping, and who'll be able to carry what? All these questions still apply when moving into a house, and because the moving project is so much bigger, they're arguably more important to keep in mind than when moving into an apartment.
Spreading out doesn't mean getting messy. If your apartment began to feel cramped in part because you've never been too tidy, moving into a house is a great opportunity to start using space more wisely. Soon, you'll find that even your house can feel too small! So, here's a...
Right now, at the beginning of this process, commit to a system of organizing, cleaning, and storing in your new space.
A major factor to consider when looking for your first house, and even after you've moved in, is that you'll likely be further away from family and friends. Some of them might be planning to move out of the city at some point, but even if they do, they won't be able to move in right across the hall like they used to.
This can be tough to adjust to, but you should know you're not alone in feeling conflicted about moving to a slightly more distant place. Remember, though, that once you settle in, it won't feel distant or isolated at all! You'll find a community wherever you go, and you'll always be able to host friends and family when they come to visit.
Staying close here also means staying close to yourself. When you decided to commit to a house, you knew it was the right path for you. But once you're there, how will you stay on a path you can be excited about day after day? Whether this consists of getting involved in your local community or creating a space of your own for hobbies in your new house, it's crucial to stay close to who you are and want to be, wherever you happen to be living.
Never forget that you're on a team and that collaborating whenever possible will make the journey endlessly more enjoyable. Your partner is almost certainly going through the same process of learning how to handle change, and if you open up to them, you'll both be able to guide each other through the move.