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When Should You Move Out If You Are Selling Your Home?

Eric Stewart March 29, 2019

Couple sitting on sofa with their pet dog in their new house.jpeg

When selling your home, you’re the boss when it comes to deciding when to move. Depending on your particular situation, there are three times you can consider vacating your current home – before, during, or after the sale. Like a lot of decisions pertinent to the home sale process, a number of trade-offs can come into play. 

Let’s review each option.

1. Move Out Before the Sale

If a seller can financially swing it, this option is the easiest way to prepare a home for the market. Preparations to get the house ready, such as painting the walls or refinishing hardwood floors, can be done quicker and the seller avoids the headaches of living in the middle of ongoing work. In addition, the seller does not have to continually maintain the house in tip-top shape while living there or be inconvenienced with buyer showings.

Young family moving into new home.jpegIf a seller chooses this option, it’s always wise to leave a few furnishings behind to have some of the rooms staged with furniture. Staged homes, even if sparingly furnished, typically sell more quickly and for a higher price than occupied homes cluttered with the typical family’s possessions or vacant homes with no furniture. Sellers should also make sure to maintain their home’s curb appeal by hiring someone to mow the lawn, rake the leaves or trim bushes and trees as necessary.

The obvious downside to this option is that a seller, if purchasing another home, may have to carry two mortgages until the home sells. If the sale takes unexpectedly longer than anticipated, the cost of two mortgages may outweigh the bump in price the seller might receive for selling an unoccupied house. If you are moving and decide to go with this option, it’s always best to price your current home to the market rather than trying to be overly aggressive so that you minimize the time it takes to go under contract and close. 

Last, If you’re moving early, be sure to review your home insurance policy. Some insurance companies have a limit on how long they will cover a home while it remains vacant.

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2. Move Out During the Sale

Happy young couple getting keys of their new home.jpegIn this second option, the seller moves out right before the settlement date. In this scenario, the seller stays in the house while the home is on the market and through the closing process, including the home inspection and appraisal. As mentioned above, the seller will need to keep the house clean and be able to vacate the house during showings and visits from home inspectors and appraisers.

If sellers chooses this scenario, we recommend that they declutter their home before putting it on the market. Besides putting away personal items and knick-knacks, this could include moving out some furniture or putting some possessions in storage so that rooms look larger, and the home overall shows better. An added benefit is that if you have decluttered in preparation for the home sale, you will have less to do when it comes time to pack up the house for the move.

3. Move Out After the Sale

The third option is to settle the sale and rent back your house from the new owner for as little as a day or two, up to 60 days. Two advantages to renting back include receiving all of your funds and enjoying the freedom from worry that something could happen to your buyer’s ability to settle. Rent backs are typically incorporated into the home sale contract between the buyer and the seller. The rent for the rent-back period can be whatever is negotiated, but typically it is the same as the buyer’s new monthly mortgage payment (or pro-rated amount), which includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI).

Sellers may opt for this option if their new residence will not be ready by the settlement date of the home they are selling. It prevents them from having to move twice in a relatively short amount of time, saving both time and money.

Do you have further questions about potential move-out options or the home selling process in general? Contact the Realtors® at the Eric Stewart Group, who have over 27 years of experience helping residents across the metro area sell their homes for top dollar. For further tips on getting your house market ready, download our FREE Market Ready Guide.

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