Crognali Realty 632 Park Avenue

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If you are considering looking for a new house, and are a current home-owner, then chances are you’re wondering what your strategy should be:  do you wait to find the perfect new home before you put your current home on the market, or do you sell first and then look around?  You have a few options.  Use the following as a guide to explore what might be the best move for you.

 

Sell First:

 

There are several benefits to selling your current house before searching for your next home.  First of all, once you have sold your house, you will know precisely how much money you have to work with.  With a concrete price range, you’ll be able to narrow the pool of houses before you begin looking, and negotiate accordingly.  This will allow you to immediately make firm offers on houses that you are serious about purchasing.  You can be first in line with an unconditional offer you know you can afford, and this will grant even further negotiating leverage as Sellers tend to take unconditional offers more seriously.  When they counter or turn down an offer that’s conditional on the sale of a home, they usually think the Buyer will come back with a better and more firm offer once they have sold their current home.  However, if you make an unconditional offer, the Seller will usually give you more consideration, as they realize you’re probably looking at other properties and will move on if your offer is rejected.  Likewise, if you have already sold you house, you probably do have a wider opportunity to look around, negotiate, and find the best deal and fit for you and your family.

 

The flip side of this scenario, however, is that if you don’t find the right property before the closing date of the house you’ve already sold, you may have to look for temporary housing until you do find what you’re looking for.

 

So, before you opt to sell first, you should determine whether you have alternate, temporary options, in case you have to move from your house before you’ve found a new one. How would you and your family deal with living in a transition home for an undetermined period of time?

 

 

Buy First:

 

Buying a new house without having sold your current home may occur if you are interested in a specific property and will only sell your current home if this property comes on the market.  It may be a matter of timing—grabbing hold of the home before it’s too late.  The same might be said of a property you haven’t had you eye on previously, but that catches your attention due to its uniqueness or unbelievable price.  If buying first means you don’t miss out on the real estate opportunity of a lifetime, it may be the best move.

 

However, be careful. If you buy another property and aren’t able to sell your current home quickly enough, you could end up having to finance both homes and shoulder the extra debt until you sell.  You can get a financial appraisal or market evaluation of a home prior to selling, but this doesn’t guarantee the price you’ll ultimately receive for the home after the negotiation process has run its course.  Since your selling price will be an unknown, jumping into a purchase could be a gamble, particularly if your budget is tight. 

 

Make sure you’re familiar with all aspects of the financial reality this scenario would create before you purchase another home.  You may be faced with owning two homes at once.  What type of financial stress would this bring to your life and how would you deal with it?  Consider the fact that if your current house doesn’t sell quickly enough, you may be forced to sell it off at a reduced price in order align the closing dates of your two properties.  What effect would this have on your financial situation?

 

Conditional Offer:

 

An additional option involves making your offer to purchase conditional upon the sale of your current property within a specified period.  Conditional offers usually include a clause that allows for the Sellers to keep their property on the market and remain open to other offers while you try to sell your home.  If the Sellers receive another attractive offer before you’ve sold your home, they may accept and ask you to either remove your condition and firm up your offer, or to back down from the offer.  A conditional offer forms a kind of middle ground, an area of compromise, for those who are afraid to sell or buy first—but doesn’t hold the advantages of the other two options.

 

One of the drawbacks of the conditional offer is that Sellers tend to take them less seriously.  They definitely give stronger consideration to firm offers.  This leaves you with less negotiating power.  In fact, some Sellers will simply turn down or counter a conditional offer.  Other Sellers will believe the Buyer will come back with a more serious offer when their home has sold.  So, you may end up having to increase your offer in order to have your conditional offer accepted and keep your foot in the door of your desired house. 

 

Even if your conditional offer is accepted, there is no guarantee another Buyer won’t step in and overthrow your offer before you have sold your current home, which would put you back at the starting line.  Also, consider the fact that you cannot withdraw your conditional offer until the end of the period specified in the contract—which means that if a better deal comes along, you will have to wait to jump at it.  

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It’s official:  you’ve signed the papers, dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s—you own a new home!  You’ve almost reached the end of your journey.  However, now, faced with the daunting task of moving, it may seem as though the journey has just begun.  Moving can be a time-consuming and stressful experience if you let yourself be overwhelmed by the job.  Remember, though, having a successful move means taking care of the details, one by one.  If you break the process down into steps and arrange your time accordingly, you can make it manageable.  Use the following checklist to ensure you’re covering all the bases, and you will be well on your way to a successful move!

 

Household

 

  • Arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address.
  • Forward or cease all deliveries to your home, and forward or cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
  • Disconnect or take care of utility, cable and phone services and accounts.
  • Arrange for utilities to be connected at your new house.
  • Cancel pre-authorized bill payments.
  • Begin going through closets and discarding any unnecessary items.

 

Packing

 

  • Plan your packing.  Start by purchasing or acquiring suitable containers.  Most moving companies have specialized containers you can buy.  Also, speak with others who have recently moved—they may be looking to get rid of boxes.  You’ll need the following:  small boxes for heavy items (books, tools, etc.); large boxes for bulky items (bedding, stuffed toys, etc.); medium boxes for bulky but less heavy items (towels, small appliances, etc.).
  • Begin to collect other packing materials.  Decide which items you’ll need from the following checklist:

-White paper

-Tissue paper

-Paper towels

-Newspapers

-Non-printed paper

-Packing tape or twine to seal boxes and containers

-Scissors

-Labels and stickers (available from your moving company)

-Felt marker to label boxes

-Notebook and pen for listing contents

  • Set goals and deadlines for yourself.  Aim, for example, to pack one room per week. 
  • Attach a list of contents to each box.  Separate and label boxes to be placed in storage.
  • Consider holding a garage sale to rid yourself of excess belongings.
  • Begin to use up the food in your pantry and freezer.  Let the food you already have dictate your menus.
  • Have rugs cleaned that are to be moved, then roll and wrap them.
  • Make special arrangements for the moving of plants or pets.
  • Collect all personal items from local services (dry cleaning, storage, photos).
  • Service all appliances you are taking with you.  Note that all gas appliances must be emptied, as it is illegal for movers to carry flammable substances.
  • Take inventory of all the boxes, and contents of the boxes, you have packed.
  • Have your car serviced and tuned up.

 

Community

 

  • Return library books.
  • Clean out your locker at any club you are leaving.
  • Determine how to transfer your children to a new school.
  • Return items you’ve borrowed to friends, and collect any you’ve lent.
  • Mail or e-mail change of address notices to family members, friends, and office contacts.

 

Records

 

  • If needed, transfer medical and dental records, and fill prescriptions.
  • Change the address on your driver’s license.
  • Change the billing address for credit cards.
  • Change the address for banking statements.
  • Leave a record of security codes for new tenants.

 

Insurance and Legal Matters

 

  • Visit your lawyer and ensure all documents are signed.
  • Notify your insurance company well in advance of the move and ask them to review your policy. 
  • Transfer insurance to your new home, or acquire new insurance.
  • Review your moving company’s insurance policy.  If it doesn’t cover as much as you’d like it to, obtain your own.
  • If you are currently renting a house or apartment, give written notice to the landlord.
  • Have all keys to your old home delivered to your lawyer or realtor.

 

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