As Windsor Real Estate agents, we get calls quite frequently from those relocating and needing to sell their house immediately. Of course, we never know what the future holds. Perhaps you have received a job offer that you can’t refuse. Or maybe you have elderly parents that require your constant help. Regardless, you not only need to sell your home, but buy a new one as well.
Let us give you some tips on what to do if you find yourself in this situation:
1. First, research the city to where you will be moving. Perhaps this will take a few trips to visit homes and the surrounding communities. Do you want a larger home? Smaller? Condo? New construction? Do you want to move into the big city or one of the smaller suburbs? What about schools? Home prices? Cost of living? Crime? Amenities? Transportation? There is so much to consider, especially if you don’t know the area at all.
Chances are, if you are relocating for work, your employer will have some sort of relocation package. Study this carefully and write down any questions you have. And make sure the cost of living doesn’t throw you for an unexpected surprise!
2. Make sure you look at your credit score. Because lenders are stricter than they used to be, you want to make sure your score is in good shape to see if you can qualify for a mortgage that is reasonable. Another question to ask yourself: Do you have a down payment?
3. Shop for a mortgage. Get pre-qualified to see what you can afford. Chances are, the home market is different that what you are familiar with here in Windsor. Will you be getting more bang for your buck, or will you need to downsize? Regardless, get a letter from your mortgage company with how much you can afford.
4. Do you need to sell your home first? Whatever you do, don’t buy a property before you sell your old one if that is the case. Too many times I have seen clients trying to cover two mortgages and it ends up where they drop the price of their old home so much, just because they can’t afford to make two house payments. You may want to consider renting your new property. This gives you time to check out the city while you lease and find out what areas you like and where you want to live.
5. Once your home does sell and you have your mortgage pre-approval letter, it’s time to assemble your real estate team to find the best possible home for you and your family. Your agent should be able to recommend appraisers, home inspectors, insurance agents and the like, so make sure you get an agent that is well-respected in the area. You also want to make sure that when you know what neighbourhood you want to live in, that you hire an agent that knows it well. Why? Because they will have all of the inside information on what homes are a good deal, which are overpriced and have been on the market too long. They will tell you what sellers are motivated, and what homes will go fast.
6. When looking at homes, keep your mind open. Maybe you need to downsize because home prices are higher. Or maybe you are getting more house than you are used to. Just make sure you follow your budget and don’t go over. In fact, when you find a house that interests you, make sure you ask how much utilities are each month, how old the appliances are (will you need to fix or replace them sooner rather than later?) and how old the roof is? Other questions: Any water damage? Pest problems? In other words, you want to make sure that you aren’t buying something so close to the maximum of your budget, then find out that monthly expenses far exceed what you planned to spend.
Maybe you are moving from an area where you rarely use an air conditioner, to one where you will use it all of the time. This can be very costly. One client moved to Florida and she couldn’t believe what she was paying in utility costs! It more than tripled and drastically changed her budget. She didn’t think to ask about utility payments and now she wishes she had.
Once you find a home, ask your agent to pull the comps to make sure that you are going to make a fair and reasonable bid. Again, your agent should give you excellent advice based on these comps, how long the property has been on the market and if the seller is motivated or not. Last thing you want to do is pay too much for a property or make such a low offer that the seller will refuse to negotiate.