The Cart before the Horse…Timing Your Next Move!

What comes first, selling and moving, selling then finding your new home, or finding your new home then selling???

There are so many factors running through your mind as you enter the thought of changing where you live. Sometimes it seems so overwhelming you just give up the idea of moving and move those thoughts to the back of your mind for another day…and another day! Don’t worry, you are human. You are following your inner guardian who protects you from harm. We are all programmed to move away from fear and uncertainty and drift towards protection and normalcy. Changing your environment is a major disruption to your psyche as well as your familiarity with your surroundings.

It is critical that you begin to assess your goals and your personality at the same time. So often you move into a project or a new idea and then find you jumped the gun…ready, fire, aim! It is so important to dream and improve your life by making new connections with people as well as altering your surroundings to match who you are today, not the person you were when you first bought your home. The question is how to go about a change in location without making the mistake of either moving too soon or too late. You want to avoid make a major decision that cannot be reversed. Let’s move on to some solutions!

First, know thyself. That is critical to any important decision you make in your life. If you are going to move to your new community or condominium, think about how you will approach this process. I find the most successful moves were accomplished by my clients gathering information about the options available as well as how to begin downsizing and preparing their homes. The first step I would recommend is to have a Senior Real Estate Specialist stop over, at no cost to you, and evaluate the home you will sell. They will suggest inspections if needed such as basement or roof examinations to determine if you have any structural defects.

Preparation cosmetically is critical these days to attracting a satisfactory price. The specialist will recommend decluttering and some minor updates such as carpet, paint, etc. They will let you know the value of your home in today’s ever changing market so you understand the asset you will have to add to your portfolio. Now that you have that piece of the puzzle in your possession, it is time to go out and look at the options available. If you are going to purchase a new home or condominium, this same Realtor can give you a list of properties that match your needs for location and price range. If you are considering a senior community or apartment, there is a great magazine called Senior Resources which is online. Get a copy and check out the communities and apartments which match your budget, physical needs, and location. Go out and drive by these homes or communities so you get a feel as to what you can afford as well as where you want to live. If you are going to a senior community or apartment, check out the models. Find out what services are provided. Get a feel for the activity level and services provided.

Once you have gathered that information you will know what you can afford as well as how you are going to move forward. If you have enough assets to move first and then sell…do it! Moving first is the easiest move you can make. That way, you take what you want, move, then have the contractors make any repairs or upgrades without the chaos of dust and noise while you are living there. When on the market you won’t have to leave every time there is a showing. One caveat; know thyself as I said earlier. You may have the financial means to move first and then sell, but if you are the worrier type and can’t mentally handle the thought of your home not selling right away or it being vacant, then take a step back and re-think the process. You don’t want to be in a situation where you take any offer just to get it done and over. If you are the type that moves right into fear when confronted with something like a home sale, maybe you should sell first, then move.

If you decide to sell first then move, start with downsizing. Hire a company to help with this project. There are many excellent companies that will pack, sort, bring a dumpster, have an estate sale and take items for donation. They will even draw a picture of your new home and help you to decide what you can take that will fit that new apartment or condominium. The next step is to have a painter do some touch up if needed, repair any defects, and settle on a price based on how your property will show to a perspective buyer. Your Realtor will help with that decision. Next, make a commitment to wherever you are moving. If you are selling first, try to have your first payment in two months ahead, so you have time to sell and close your home sale. This way you can easily coordinate the timing with your new buyer. You can even work out a rent back when you sell your home. Example; if you put your home on the market in June, you have a move in date for September. Your home sells in two weeks (assuming you listened to your agent on pricing) and you decide when it will close and when you will move. It takes about 45 days to close. Let’s say your closing is in August, but you want to stay until you get your apartment in September. No problem! You put a clause in the contract where you can stay as a renter in your own home for the extra month. Now the pressure is off. You can take your time, close your transaction and then move.

There are so many different scenarios when thinking of making that move to your new home. The key is to educate yourself by attending seminars, talking to your financial advisor or trusted friends and family, as well as having a Senior Real Estate Specialist visit with you. The more you know, the less you will move to fear and procrastination. By taking this advice you will move from ready, fire, aim to ready, aim, and fire away to your new home because you took the time to know yourself, get the facts and then time your move based on who you are and what you have learned from the professionals out there who are ready to help. Now you can move in the right direction!