Homeowners who have outgrown their first house and are looking for their second house often feel stuck. They don’t even know how to start thinking about selling and buying simultaneously. Should they look at houses first, then get theirs ready to sell? Or is that putting the horse before the cart?
One of the most common situations we find is that people want to move one time and use all their buying power. That means they need the debt of the first mortgage to be off their credit and they want to use the equity in their current house as a down payment for the new house. Sounds tricky, and yet it happens every day. The only caveat in this situation is that you have a limited amount of time to identify the second house.
From the time we got an offer on our old home, we had about three weeks to get a contract on our new one….
Read below to see how the Fantozzi Family seamlessly navigated this tricky timeline. The key to their success was a killer buyer’s agent (yes, we are a little biased) and fair amount of educational “touring” up front.
In their own words…
When my husband and I moved to St. Louis in 2006, we knew we wanted to live in the city. We found a great little starter home in Carondelet, just north of the RecPlex. As our family grew over the following eight years, we felt a desire to move into a bigger space. Not only were we considering a bigger home to host friends and family, but we were thinking about the city vs. county, about our kids’ education, etc. Lots of things came into play. Finally, we concluded that everything we loved/did/frequented was in the city, so why leave? We wanted to stay (and there were indeed good education options — shout out & big thanks to stlcityschools.org!).
We chose the Dawn Griffin Group because Dawn knew the city; how to sell and buy in this great town and how to do it under our constraints. We wanted to close on both of our homes (old and new) the same day. The next question was – how? As Dawn helped us prepare our home to put on the market, she partnered us with Lance, the Buyer’s Specialist on her team. He listened to our list of ‘wants’ and our preferred neighborhoods and he got us on our way to figuring out where the next house would be. Dawn and Lance helped us calculate the time table – from the time we got an offer on our old home, we had about three weeks to get a contract on our new one. Here is what our order of events looked like:
Prep Work for Packing/Moving/Housing Hunting
- Purged. Anything kept that we could live without went into a storage unit.
- Our Carondelet home hit the market.
- Started scouting potential neighborhoods and homes with Lance. We knew we couldn’t set our hearts on anything specific, until we had a contract on our Carondelet house. But in order to be ready for the true house hunt, Lance took us on several educational tours so that we could get a feel for what we wanted and a sense of the market. During that educational phase, we realized that the market was moving quickly and once we found the right place we needed to be ready to pull the trigger.
Once Our Home Was Under Contract We Could Begin to Line Up the Dominos
- Showing Bonanza with Lance—Urgent!
- Ordered POD. We scheduled it to be delivered to our Carondelet home one week prior closing and pre-arranged for it to be moved to the new house on moving day.
Finding Our New House
Shout out to Lance! He made sure we got into the new house the first day it hit the market. Within two hours he helped us write the offer. It was a multi-offer situation that he navigated well. We had some contingency items on the old house that had to be wrapped up within 48 hours to make the new house happen. Dawn made some magic happen with the buyers of our old home so everything worked out perfectly. Contract secured on our new home!
Planning the Move
- POD arrived one week prior to closing. We started loading a little each day.
- U-Haul ordered for day before closing.
Day Before Closing
- Kids/dog/plants went on a sleepover to Grandma’s and friend’s.
- Packed first-night essentials in the car (beds, toilet paper, etc).
- Picked up the U-Haul and bribed strong friends with beer and pizza.
- Set up camp chairs and air mattress inside for our last night in the house.
- Parked one of our cars outside the new house.
- Put last items on the truck, hugged the neighbors, cried a few good-bye tears and drove the U-Haul and one personal vehicle to closing.
- Headed to the title company for closing.
- Lance was able to negotiate with the seller for us to use our five ‘homeless’ hours (while final processing and funding took place) to enter the new house and clean.
- Kids/dog/plants came to the new house and unpacking commenced.
- Unloaded the U-Haul first.
- The following day we emptied the storage unit and returned the U-Haul. Pod was emptied slowly over the next couple days.
Allow plenty of time
We took off work two days before and two days after closing. I think that’s the minimum. You’ll always need more time than you think. And packing up the old house has more time constraints than moving into the new place.
Schedule a housewarming party
We scheduled a housewarming party because it set a target for having a reasonable amount of unpacking and set up completed ant it was a chance to properly thank people who helped with the move. We planned it in advance so we would have cash to support it—moving can be a cash-strapped time, so you need to plan.
PODs (and similar) are rented per month. There is an additional fee for each additional move. St. Louis City has a one week limit for ‘street parking’ for a POD. Follow the first in/last out principle. Make sure nothing too important is buried in the back of the POD.