In the information age, most of us are aware of new opportunities as soon as they come up. People are more open than ever to moving across borders in search of the next step in their career and development.

But relocating isn’t easy. It requires a change in lifestyle and a level of commitment. It can also take significant resources. Housing prices are rising on a national level. In Utah, with its growing economy and population, the demand for affordable housing is high across the region. Many residents even resort to longer commutes, living, and working in different municipalities.

When you’re moving, there are many factors to consider. But the most decisive – and limiting – is probably your budget. Although the cost of rent has also risen along with housing, it remains a substantially cheaper option. Depending on where you’re headed, finding a place to rent may still be the only reasonable option.

Check housing statistics

If you have more financial wiggle room, the appeal of buying a house can be considerable. Owning a house and settling down has always been part of the concept of the American dream.

The availability of affordable housing is an issue in Utah. You may already have a good idea of how much you can afford to pay in monthly mortgage payments. Most locations have housing statistics available online, which not only cover median costs, but break down housing by type and neighborhood, and provide comparison versus rental and nationwide averages.

Neighborhood housing income diversity also matters and is something you can research into before ringing up a realtor. You may be able to better target affordable places in a city like Taylorsville, which has over 16% more owner-occupied homes in the affordable-to-low-income range when compared to the average for Salt Lake County.

Knowing what you can afford and narrowing down your options to feasible neighborhoods can significantly speed up your process of looking for a new home.

Other considerations

Couple looking at a houseWhen buying a home, there are some other things to consider which only you can decide on. Are you looking to stay long term, or are you planning on moving and reselling the property after several years? Is it a place where you see yourself settling down and even investing in when it comes to remodeling or expanding?

These might not be easy questions to answer, and you may not know with certainty in the present. What’s important is to have a realistic view of your options. Financial experts suggest that, contrary to conventional wisdom, treating your home as an investment isn’t a sound idea. When you consider the costs of loan payments, taxes and insurance, and regular maintenance, the fact is most homes appreciate over time largely due to inflation – and the costs more or less break even with appreciation in the long run.

If you are looking for some return on investment from your home, consider renting out an extra room or two, or the adjacent unit for a duplex. This way you still have a place to live, but you also have tenants subsidizing your monthly upkeep. You’ll also gain experience as a landlord, which can be valuable if you decide to enter the real estate market later on.

Even though increasing numbers of the younger generations today value the mobility and financial flexibility of renting a place to live, you may be ready to take the next step and buy a house. It may well be the biggest purchase you make in your life, so know everything you can, including your reasons, to make the smart decision.