Sudden Relocation: What to Do With Your Home for a Quick Move

Designing for the Future Now

Relocating to a new city is a major decision. Sometimes, you have little to do with it — it’s made for you. You could find yourself promoted, laid off, or faced with a family situation where your presence is required in another city. While it could be nice to have the luxury of an extended period of time to work out how to make the change, sometimes, this is simply impossible. Military families often face the challenge of having to quickly get moving when there is an unexpected deployment.

The basic question to answer: do you sell your home or rent it out?

The decision of what to do with your home shouldn’t come down to questions of emotional investment; most families simply cannot afford to think with their hearts when it comes to the highest value asset that they possess. Your decision, rather, should be all about what you have financially invested in the home. A couple of considerations apply to the decision that you take.

Think about your equity in your home: Selling your home to take out the equity that you have in it is usually the lowest possible risk. Property values tend to fluctuate, and hanging on to a home may or may not work out if you are unable to pay close attention to the way the market behaves in the neighborhood.

In many cases, though, selling turns out to not be a viable option. For instance, if home values are depressed in your neighborhood, selling would yield little, especially if the price that you would get would barely cover repaying the mortgage. In such a case, you’ll have the choice made for you: you’ll need to find tenants.

Thinking about the state of the rental market: It isn’t just a home’s market value that is likely to fluctuate from one month to the next. Rental values change, as well. It can be good idea to speak to a lettings agent in your neighborhood to find out what kind of rental income you can look forward to, and how hard it might be to find a tenant. You need to make sure that the rent covers the property tax, general upkeep and mortgage payments. If the rent that you get doesn’t appear capable of supporting these expenses, it could be good idea to sell.

You do need to take into account the fact that you won’t be around to take care of tenant installation and maintenance. You’ll need to use a lettings agent, and factor in commissions and management fees. In most cases, an online calculator tends to be helpful.

Whichever way you lean, you need to act quickly

If you decide to sell, it makes sense to sign up with a trusted real estate agency (find more information at Palmer Snell) to take care of preparation work to put the home up for sale, and to take care of the actual showings, open house events and other formalities.

Whether or not you plan to find a real estate agent, it’s usually important for at least one spouse to stay behind, to take care of all formalities. If it’s a rental, though, you can usually completely leave the deal to the agency. It doesn’t make sense to simply install a tenant in your home and leave. Homes tend to need repair, and tenants tend to come and go. You will need active management before long.

Consider pricing your home higher than average

If you’re in a hurry to sell, it makes a lot of sense to price your home a little higher than other homes in the area. According to astudy published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, homes priced 10% or so higher than comparable properties in the area are perceived to offer greater value. They actually sell more quickly, because potential buyers believe that the higher asking price must come from higher quality in some way.

Isabel Parkes has helped to sell plenty of homes in her career and she enjoys sharing her insights on how to get the best results with an online audience. Isabel is a regular writer for a number of different property-related websites.