The idea of moving can be daunting, to say the least. Add to the mix that you have a home to sell and you can either quickly talk yourself out of it, or prepare to take the plunge. Fortunately, the housing market is in recovery from the bubble burst of 2008 and moving is a viable option again.
The timing of selling and buying simultaneously is very tricky to coordinate and you have to learn to live with flexibility until it all pans out. People buy and sell homes every day, and here are some tips to help you make the process as smooth as possible.
Make sure your financing is in order. As early as you can, check your credit report to make sure there are no surprises waiting for you. You should get a copy of your credit report every year and check it over for any inaccuracies. There’s no need to pay for a credit report. You can get a free copy from each of the three credit agencies—TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax—once a year. Visit annualcreditreport.com to check your report for accuracy. After double checking your credit, get your paperwork in order to begin the mortgage process. Decide which lender you will use and get the ball rolling. Start the process of prequalifying and preapproval for your new mortgage loan.
Be prepared for quick decisions. Do your research ahead of time so when the ball starts rolling, you will be prepared to make quick decisions. Stay ahead of the game by preparing as much as you can as early as you can, but be ready to deal with changes that weren’t part of your original plan. Be ready to hit road blocks and make concessions, if necessary. Keep the big picture in mind.
Get your current home in order. Not just literally. Know the fair market value of your current home. A real estate professional or appraiser can help you assess your current home’s fair market value. Anticipate repairs and updates that need to be made before it goes on the market. Be one step ahead of your buyer. Look at your current home with critical eyes to see what potential buyers could critique.
Do your homework. For your new purchase, decide what neighborhood you would love to live in. Research school districts and narrow down which areas make your wish list. Even if you do not have children – consider the school district. Future buyers from you will surely be considering it. Do not underestimate the importance of location or school district. Houses can be changed, location and school district can’t.
Set some realistic expectations for the timing. If your current home sells very quickly, you could find yourself in a pinch if you haven’t done your research on where you’re moving. You may be able to work out an arrangement with your buyers to stretch out the closing date to accommodate your timing. You also might be able to rent your current home from the new owners until your new home is ready to move into. If you are building, go with an experienced builder that can confidently give you a closing date on the new construction. Cooperate in the process by having your selections made on time.
Come up with a down payment for your next home. If you are relying on the sale of your current home in order to by the new home, this can be tricky if you are trying to sell and buy simultaneously. Putting the cart before the horse can bring unnecessary stress into your life. Sell your current home, move into temporary housing, and then purchase the new home. Not only does that make sense, it alleviates the juggling of two closing dates.
If moving into a new home simply can’t wait, consider bridge financing, which will help you own two homes while you “bridge” from one home to the next. You will take out a short-term home equity loan on your current house and use it for a down payment on your new home. You will pay off the bridge loan as soon as your current home sells. Qualifying for a bridge loan can be tricky, since you’re paying two mortgages for as long as it takes to sell your current home.
Plan your move. Literally. How will you move all of your stuff? Research and budget for the expensive process of moving all your belongings. Look into the cost of movers, renting pods and storing your belongings until you are ready to move in to the new house, or possibly even renting a truck and doing it all in one day.
No matter how much you plan or prepare, moving is always a stressful endeavor. It’s all worth it when you reach the goal of living in your new home.
Overstreet Builders has an in-house real estate broker that can help you answer some important questions, as well as sell your existing home. Call us at 630-226-0460 or visit us online at overstreetbuilders.com.