Many events can lead to transferring or relocating to a new city for a job:
- You request the change to accommodate a spouse’s job in a new location
- Changing market conditions compel your company to shift people to a new town
- You desire a lifestyle change and recognize the personal and professional advantages behind such a move
- You just landed your dream job!
Regardless of the reason, relocating homeowners have a big hurdle to clear: selling their house for job relocation. Fortunately, taking a single — but vital — step can make all the difference in the experience.
That step? Making a commitment to selling your house.
Committing to your job transfer means going “all in” on the next exciting chapter of your life. And when you commit to selling your current house for a job relocation, you also commit to less stress and more flexible cash on hand during job relocation.
Rule Out Being a Long-Distance Landlord
It’s tempting to consider holding on to your house and renting it when transferring jobs. Tempting, that is, until you realize:
- The financial drain you face. Will you be keen on keeping up with mortgage interest, property tax, operating expenses, depreciation, and repair costs for deduction purposes? Or when to recognize a security deposit as advance rent? The list goes on and on.
- The tenant nightmares you’ll have to deal with. Sometimes, not having a tenant at all is better than having a bad tenant. Have you heard the horror stories? Bad tenants have been known to leave hundreds of used syringes behind, intentionally flood the building, leave rats — lots of rats— behind, and more.
- The juggling you’ll need to do. Even hiring a property management service won’t solve all of your problems. It only means that instead of worrying about the wrong kind of tenant, you have to worry about the wrong kind of property manager. This manager may not communicate or regularly inspect and repair your property.
The peace of mind that comes from selling your house during a job relocation easily offsets what profits you might eventually see from playing landlord.
Plus, as a long-distance landlord, you’ll be less aware if your tenants are trashing the place.
This is not to say that being a long-distance landlord is all bad. But you need to know what you’re getting into.
Sell Your House to Maximize Cash on Hand
When selling your home for job relocation, if an employer isn’t subsidizing your relocation, being budget conscious is a necessity.
Even in the best circumstances, setting up in a new town can be costly until you determine the shortest commute, most affordable places to eat, reliable service providers, and the like.
If possible, avoid investing more money into your property. You want to hold onto as much of your money as possible for your job transfer move. You’ll likely want to sell quickly, allowing you to pocket the funds you’ll need in the weeks to come to maximize your cash flow when you need it most.
Where you move will also factor into the financial resources you’ll need. Most lenders will refuse to provide a new mortgage to a borrower unable to pay at least 20% of the home’s value upfront, unless the borrower also purchases private mortgage insurance.
Lenders also tend to have rules in place, so homeowners can only have one “primary residence” or home occupied by the owner a majority of the time and for more than one year after purchase.
Selling your home can help in obtaining a primary residence mortgage for a new home. For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires borrowers to hold only one of its mortgages at a time. So if you have an FHA mortgage on your original home, you will not be allowed to obtain another loan for a second home.
Steps to Selling Your House for Job Relocation
Now that you know why selling the home is a crucial step when relocating, let’s break down the steps.
1. Look into Job Relocation Package Options
According to Zillow, around 70% of companies in the United States offer services and support for those who have to deal with their old home during job relocation, and depending on your level in the company, relocation assistance may be negotiable.
Corporate relocation could include:
- Temporary Housing in a destination city
- Professional moving services
- Transportation costs because moving trucks can get expensive on big moves
- Down payment assistance for the purchase of a new home
- Storage fees
- A lump-sum bonus to spend where you need it
In some of the more premium relocation packages, they may even buy your home. So it’s always a good idea to explore what’s available.
2. Take a Look at the Selling Market when Selling a House for Job Relocation
You have a limited time to sell, so market heat matters. Is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? What about your specific neighborhood? Are people moving in or out? Are there lots of homes for sale near you?
In a seller’s market, homes sell fast, and you’ll likely get more than one fair price offer, especially if you have strong curb appeal and the type of market-ready home people want.
In a buyer’s market, there are too many homes on the market, so buyers have options. It may take months to sell a home.
3. Do a Comparative Market Analysis
Looking at comps (comparable sales) in your area helps you understand what homes in your area sell for when you’re preparing to sell a house for job relocation to a different state.
If you have a 1,400 sft, 3BR, 2B ranch built in the ’60s, then comps will be homes with similar features. But watch out.
Many of the home sales prices you see are for market-ready homes that have been repaired or remodeled. If your home isn’t in perfect condition, consider how that affects its value in comparison.
If you’ve decided to sell, let’s take a look at how to prepare your home for market.
4. Get a Pre-Listing Inspection
If you haven’t sold a home in the past 5 years, this one may be new to you. Many home sellers are now getting inspections before they list to reduce the risk of offers falling through.
They can also address any issues before offers start coming in. Getting this out of the way may also be a selling point.
5. Address Curb Appeal
How the home looks from the street can make or break a listing because bad curb appeal cancels out potential buyers before they even see what the house has to offer.
6. Get Rid of Personal Stuff
Too much personal stuff or having pets in the home can significantly decrease both the number of offers and how much they offer. Move most of it into storage to create a cleaner, less cluttered space. And find a safe place for the pets to stay for a little while.
7. Address Major Issues
Is the roof 20 years old and worn? Do you have structural issues or a severely cracked patio? You’ll need to address these kinds of significant issues before you put a home on the market? Most buyers don’t want to buy a home that needs thousands or tens of thousands of dollars of work. You’ll need to take care of this out-of-pocket before putting the home up for sale.
8. Fix the Small Stuff
Even if the home has no major issues, fixing small things makes a home more sellable. So go through the home from the living room to every room, looking for loose, worn, or significantly dated small things you might be able to replace like:
- Ceiling fans
- A new coat of paint
The small stuff can actually add up to a lot of work, depending on your home’s condition and when it was built. If you’re selling a house for a job relocation, you may not ever have time to fix these areas.
9. Clean, Clean, Clean
If you’re not the kind of person who is opposed to a little dust here and there, you may find that when you move your stuff out, you actually have a lot to clean from baseboards to cabinets, to behind the appliances. Yuck! This may take several days, depending on your cleaning habits.
A cleaning service is also an option but can add significant cost to the move.
0: Sell the Home
Now, you’re ready to sell the home. So you need to stage, take pictures, list it, review offers, negotiate, and complete the home sale. If you’re moving out of state, this may require significant travel back to your old home.
And during this time, you may also need to pay an extra mortgage, energy bills, insurance, and security. That last one is important because vacant homes can be vandalized, and you’re not around enough to ward people off.
Skip These Steps and Go Straight to the Sale
Would you like to skip all of these steps to selling your home due to relocating and get on your way to that new dream job? Reach out to St. Louis Realty Advisors! Give us a call at 314-270-1601 today to learn more.