Moving Day…What to do and not to do [Quarter Life Crisis]

14 Apr

By Heather Litle
Midland Center for the Arts

I just finished the process of buying and selling my first home. Now, I know you must be thinking, “How is that possible? How could I sell my first home, when I am only just now buying my first home?” Well, I guess technically, we are selling my husband’s first home and buying ‘our’ first home. Having never done this before, I immediately started asking myself a million questions, where do we start? How do we find a realtor? Do we buy first and then sell? Where will we live if we sell our house before we find a new one? All of these questions, and many more, raced through my mind and as a first time buyer I really had to rely on my friends and family for advice. I’d like to share with you some of the advice I received that I found helpful (and some that I found not-so-helpful).

Tip #1: Go with what you know…or who you know
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to finding a realtor. Ask friends and family who they’ve used, who they liked or didn’t like, and the results and communication they received from that person/company. Communication is key. Red flags should start waving if someone mentions, “Oh, I didn’t hear from them for 2 months when I was selling my house” or “they were nice but it was hard to get in touch with them. I was always leaving messages and it’d be days before I got a call back.”

Tip #2: Go the extra mile…you won’t regret it
At the advice of our realtor, my husband and I paid the extra money to get both an appraisal and inspection of our house prior to putting it on the market. This helped us in 2 very beneficial ways. First, everyone has an emotional attachment to their home, especially one in which you brought your first child home to, and therefore you may think it is worth more than it really is. Needless to say, we weren’t overjoyed with the results of the appraisal but because we got that unbiased feedback (yes! your realtor is biased…and should be) we put our house on the market at a more realistic price and it sold within 8 days! Second, an inspection is a contingency on EVERY (see Tip #3) sales agreement and can create quite a bit of stress when trying to sell your home. We fixed all the minor things that turned up on our inspection and when it came time for the buyers to inspect our house, it turned up nothing – and man is that a load off your mind!

Tip #3: Always, always, always add a contingency for a satisfactory inspection to your purchase agreement
When buying a home, it is vital that you include a satisfactory inspection to your purchase agreement. Things go wrong with houses all the time, like a leaky kitchen sink 6 days after you move into a new house – yes this is happening to me right now – but you can seriously lessen the number of things by having a professional come in and look over everything prior to you committing 30 years of your life to a mortgage.

Tip #4: Don’t move when you are pregnant…NOT!
Ok, so this one sounds like a good piece of advice but I found it to be incorrect. My husband and I knew prior to having our first child that we would need a bigger house but we were told that we shouldn’t move while I was pregnant. And therefore, we waited – big mistake. Moving with an 11 month old is NOT fun! She is mobile and into everything! By now, she is aware of her surroundings and a big, empty house that she is not used to was not conducive for a good nights’ sleep for some time. She has adjusted nicely and now loves her new home and playroom but it was definitely an experience that I would have done differently had I known what we were getting into. For many this is unavoidable but for those of us whose timeframes are more flexible it’s something to keep in mind.

Tip #5: Do your research and stick to your guns
This might seem like an obvious piece of advice for many of you. Often; school districts, safety of the area, and distance to/from work, school, hospitals, etc. are factors when purchasing a home but sometimes these things are overlooked when presented with an updated kitchen, walk-in closets or amenities, such as that hot tub you’ve always wanted. Things you need to keep in mind when you start to sway are; why did you put certain things on your need/want list in the first place? What will the resale market look like? And no matter how strongly your family/friends/realtor try to sell you on a place, if it doesn’t feel right…it probably isn’t right.

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