Congratulations on the new job! Seattle will be sorry to see you go. And don’t worry, the rain will still be here when you come back for a visit.
If you are a Seattle homeowner faced with the daunting task of relocating for work, it’s time to… get to work! There are so many important decisions to be made as you prepare to move out and move on with your life. Here’s a big picture look at what you need to know.
To Rent Or To Buy
Most people who consider selling the home they’ll be leaving behind will also consider buying a new one. That means figuring out how to win as a buyer before listing as a seller. Not everyone is victorious.
What is the state of the market where you will be relocating? If you are moving to an expensive area, you may only be able to afford to buy a one bedroom apartment (compared to, say, the 3:2 you have now). Is that worth your investment? Keep in mind that qualifying for a mortgage in a new market isn’t automatic. You will need to disclose the details of your situation to the new lender including expected earnings. Changing jobs does not qualify you as “stable” in the eyes of most underwriters. Be prepared to verify the terms of your transition. That may mean showing a job offer letter, a contract of work or pay stubs.
If you sell your house without securing a place to live first, renting may be your only alternative to hotel rooms and Airbnbs.
The decision to rent or buy may hinge on how permanent you anticipate the move to be? Is there a contract guaranteeing you a good five or ten years of work? Are you confident that things will pan out for that long? Moving to pursue a job with a new company or a new career always carries the risk that you won’t be happy with it once you get there. Of course, making any big change (and relocating because of it) involves a lot of unknowns. Especially if you are NOT guaranteed a permanent position, your best bet is to consider all the “what-ifs” and alternatives beforehand. Backup plans help.
What are rental prices like in the destination city? The margin between buying and renting varies from city to city. Sometimes renting is considerably cheaper, even in the longer short-term (a year or a couple of years).
Renting in the new state also gives you time to make a more informed decision to buy a house there. Many people need a few months to acquaint themselves with an area and shop around for a new home and neighborhood.
The Decision To Sell
Moving on and starting over means cutting ties with a lot of commitments. If being a Seattle homeowner is among them, you’ll want to know your options for selling.
If you have equity in your Seattle home, you might be tempted to cash out. Don’t just guess. Double-check your math and make sure it is substantial equity, enough to get you to your new location.
Beginning with the potential market value of your home (calculated through Competitive Market Analysis, usually performed by an agent) you’ll need to subtract selling, closing and moving costs and then add in any savings you have to put toward your next home. If leaves you with 20% towards the purchase of a new place (or, if you plan to rent, enough to make first, last, and a few months rent plus security deposit) you may be in good shape to take the money and move on.
Selling the conventional way, expect to fork over 6 and 10 percent of the sales price to cover sales commissions (if working with a real estate agent), transfer taxes and fees, title insurance (which sellers often provide), and other costs. The list goes on to include moving-out expenses (storage, transportation, etc.) and move-in costs associated the new place whether it’s a purchase or a rental (furniture, security deposit, etc.).
Sounds easy, right? Not so fast. Selling a home the conventional way can be complicated and unpredictable. Listing with a real estate agent can take some pressure off your shoulders. Agents help sellers determine a price and begin generating leads. Keep in mind that the cleaning, repairing and preparing a home to sell is ultimately up to you. Also that, even in a hot market there is no promise for a quick turnaround. Immediate offers do not safeguard you from months to a year of waiting for the right buyer.
And that’s just the selling part! Because you are trying to establish your life elsewhere, the process of selling to relocate demands your attention to plenty of other things in the meantime.
A Better Budget
If you don’t have a budget one, you cannot make financially sound decisions about selling and moving. The tricky part is that sometimes you just don’t know what your budget will allow.
Start tracking your expenses right now. Better still, start a backlog of expenditures and income going back a few months to get a broader better perspective of your situation. Mint.com is an money management tool that helps you create budgets, track spending and stay on top of your financial goals.
Having a big picture look at thing can help you identify areas of opportunity, such as things you can be cutting back on to save more. Moving out and moving on depends on a budget. Knowing the boundaries of your budget allows you to move out and move on within your means.
Relocate Without The Hassle
The time, effort, costs and stress add up. Just remember you are not the first or last person to go through it. And you will get through it.
Some Seattle homeowners decide that selling is a good idea but don’t have the funds to cover the costs of doing so. Or, their new job demands relocating fast leaving them no time to oversee a traditional home sale. If you want to sell your Seattle home quickly, working with professional cash buyers is always an option. You will avoid the hassles of home inspection, fixing and cleaning and expect a cash offer within weeks or days. That can be a tremendous help if you need some extra money towards moving not to mention time better spent preparing for your big move.
Relocating should be exciting! Don’t let the home selling process get you down. We pay cash for homes in the Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Olympia, Spokane and beyond. And we’d love to have a look at yours! Selling a home can be complicated but we make it easy for homeowners to sell quickly and move on with their lives!