Is it time to move?

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Is it time to move?

You received that job promotion that you worked so hard for.  Or maybe you want to be closer to the grandchildren.  We move from one city to another for a host of different reasons, but often we start the process at the same place:  selling your house.  Where do you start this journey?  For most of us, our house is the largest financial decision that we have made, so the idea of selling it brings some trepidation to even the calmest of nerves.  Here are a few items to consider:

  • How much will you net from the sale of your house?  This is an important number.  Not only will you have to cover any outstanding mortgage balance, but there are other costs associated with the sale that should be accounted for (pro-rated property taxes, title fees, doc stamps on the deed, municipal lien search, realtor commissions, just to mention a few).  Does your current mortgage have an early-payment penalty?  A real estate professional can provide you with both a value of your home in today’s market, as well as an estimate of closing costs.  Now you will have an estimate of what you will net from the sale of your house. 
  • When and where are you moving?  This becomes important if the purchase and move to your next house is contingent on the sale of your current home.  What will you do if you sell your current house before finding your next one?  Is temporary housing an option in your new city?  Or should you buy first, then sell your current home?  Coldwell Banker have helped countless families move from one community to another, and we know that it is not a “one size fits all” solution.  Temporary housing, short-term rentals, lease to own are just a few options that may assist your transition.  What is important here is to get information about possible solutions, so you can feel confident that the best decision has been made for you and your family. 
  • A home warranty plan.  Murphy’s Law has been around for decades:  if something can go wrong, you know it just might! What will you do if your air conditioning system stops working the morning of your Open House? Unfortunately this type of situation happens from time to time.  Having a home warranty plan for the period of time that your home is for sale will make sure that any unplanned events such as these are addressed timely and for a minimum cost.  We also find that sellers that offer this coverage to prospective buyers sell their house quicker and for more money.  This policy gives new buyers confidence that they are protected for unseen events.
  • Before the For Sale sign goes up in your front yard:
    • Pre-planning time is invaluable.  Where will you go when prospective buyers are walking through your home?  If you have pets, where do they go during the Open House?  If you are on vacation when an offer is received, how will your realtor contact you?  There will be questions that you have to answer, and considering them in advance will help.
    • Do you remember the first time you previewed your current house?  You walked in the door and looked at everything in detail.  Did a room need painted?  Were any of the light switch covers missing?  Any water stains on the ceiling?  Put your buyer “hat” on and walk around your house like you did that first time.  What do you see? Chances are buyers will be thinking the same thoughts as they walk through your house.  Any quick-fix items should be addressed before buyers start visiting.
    • Knick knacks.  Minimize them.  Let your buyer audience envision their home, not yours.  One book left open on the coffee table is a nice touch.  A library of every novel you have ever read in the family room is too much!
  • Once your home is on the market for sale your realtor will talk with you about an Open House and buyer showings.  Both are important to this process. 
    • Open House:  the target audience for an Open House is not just prospective buyers from around the community.  The Open House will trigger conversation with your neighbors about their family and friends that may want to move to this neighborhood.  A successful marketing plan will look for buyers from any avenue, including the Smiths who live across the street.  Talk to people and let them know your plans.
    • Buyer showings:  The more flexibility you have about when showings can occur, the better opportunity there is for the right buyer to find your house and place an offer.  Your realtor will give guidelines for this to prospective buyers (for example, two hours advance notice before arriving), so you have time for any last-minute spruce up around the house before they arrive. 
  • Contract negotiations:  if your home is priced and marketed correctly to prospective buyers, this should be your next step in the process.  Buyers always want to negotiate, and are looking for a “good deal”.  Don’t be offended if the offer is significantly under what you believe is fair.  It is common for the negotiation process to go back and forth, as both parties try to negotiate for the outcome they desire. 
  • After the contract is signed, there is still some work to do by both parties.  The buyer will pay for a home inspection.  This typically occurs within the first week after you have agreed on contract terms.  If there are items that the third-party home inspection identifies, they become negotiation points between you and your buyer.  If the buyer requires financing for the purchase of your home, this is also occurring during this time.  Their lender will require an appraisal to ensure that the price you have agreed to with the buyer is consistent with the local market.
  • Emotions!  Be prepared for something to not go as planned.  In a perfect world, everyone is on time, well-prepared and has all of the information needed to make decisions at the right time.  We all know this does not happen every time. What we find is that even if much pre-planning has been done, something will not happen as you want.  What will you do if your movers show up late, which postpones the final walk through?  A few deep breaths and continued dialogue with your realtor will keep the train moving forward.  Keep thinking about how much you will enjoy that first Saturday morning in your new home!

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Questions?  Feel free to reach out to Bruce at (407) 405-6666