1. Research- Whether you’re ending your lease or selling your home, your first step is to do your research. ·
If you are a Renting: you must give 60 days notice prior to the end of your 1 year lease, or before your intended move out date if your lease is month to month (or less depending on your lease terms). Its also important to understand what the new rental prices are in your preferred area & what changes in prices for transport, parking or other fees you’ll face with your new home.
If you are a Selling: it is essential to understand market conditions, what your current house may be worth & what it will cost where you are looking to buy. Its also important to estimate what your closing costs will look like so you can factor them into your moving budget.
2. Always Hire a Good Realtor- Regardless of how you feel about Real Estate Agents, it is always the best bet if you’re looking for a new lease or home to buy.
If You are Renting: When you search for your new place you will probably jump on a 3rd party site like Kijiji, Facebook Market Place or Zumper & sure, some people will have limited success with this, but a lot of prospective tenants will talk about the downside. Ghosting, out-of-date listings & just downright sketchy situations are just some of the complaints a lot of would-be DIY searchers will tell you.
Why not Hire a Realtor for FREE ? Incase you didn’t know a Realtor can work their butt off for you and when you get the keys, you don’t owe them a thing. Realtors get their commissions from the landlord: the landlord is essentially paying them a fee to find them Good Tenants that have reasonable jobs, credit & won’t cause any headaches during their lease. Sound like you? Well go save yourself some time and a lot of disappointment by hiring a free Realtor to help you with searches, show you properties, then submit your application & documents on the place you like. They will guide you from start to finish and deal with messy and complicated things; such as contracts, lease terms and exchanging monies. There is just no real advantage to doing it by yourself & also you may just find yourself a “Speed-dial Agent” to help you in the future with buying!
If you are a Selling: One of the biggest transactions in your life deserves an expert, and a Good Realtor is worth their weight. You wouldn’t let a discount doctor perform surgery on you, or you wouldn’t use a cheap, online lawyer to fight a murder case you’re involved in; so why wouldn’t you use an Expert Realtor for the biggest financial transaction you’ll likely make in your life? The confusing message out there is that you can sell your home for much cheaper than you used to or Do It Yourself. Sure they seem attractive, but there is more to it you should know.
For starters, Doing It Yourself is Tough: studies will tell you, ForSaleByOwners (FSBOs) are less likely to attract enough buyers, will take much longer to sell and will yield much less profit by sale price. Put simply, there is a reason Realtors dedicate a lot of time & money into staging, marketing the house, showing it & ultimately attracting the best buyer with the best price. Many Realtors also offer to cover these expenses for your peace of mind. In the end, sure you may be paying them $15k-$30k+ with closing costs (depending on the sale value), but the best realtors can fetch between $10K-$100K Over Asking Price or more in the right market. The age old saying applies here: “You have to use money to make money”. Even if you’re prepared to DIY, if an Agent brings a buyer to you, you’ll still have to pay a standard commission. For anything less than standard most agents won’t bother. So You just cut your potential buyer market in half! Not to mention you’re missing out on the Power of MLS, which is essential these days.
If you’re thinking of using a discount or flat fee Agent: for similar reasons above this will most certainly yield a worse result for you. The truth of the matter is, for the price you’re paying them they just cant afford to do the best job possible. Its like asking a dentist to replace that crown without anaesthetic, in your garage and without the proper tools. Sure they may be able to wing it, but is it worth the risk, and how much is it going to cost you in the long run? As mentioned above, when you’re paying a good Realtor a good commission they are worth their weight in gold: Decluttering, Staging, Organising signs & lock boxes for showings, online- marketing, networking and door knocking are just a few of the things that are essential to sell in today’s market. Some realtors even do Unique Videos, Virtual Walkthroughs & buyer events to attract the best buyers.
3. Plan your moving date: Planning you date can save a lot of pain & make the move the most efficient.
If you’re renting: Most leases end and start at the end and start of the month. The smartest thing to do (if possible) Is try to get the keys the day before (some agents will allow this). If the unit is vacant, you may be able to get the keys even earlier (Be Nice!) or you can just pro-rate a few days to a week & add that to your deposit. Sure its more money but moving over a few days instead of one saves a lot of stress.
If you’re selling: In the process of selling, both parties have to agree on a closing date. Most closings are 60-90 days but if you’ve already bought a new house and its vacant you can close and move in 30 days or less in some cases. If you need time to buy you can set a longer close; but either way always talk to your Realtor about a suitable time frame as It will usually depend on many factors including the market & your position.
4. Get your papers in order: There are plenty of infrastructural things to think about when moving and you should always make sure to get your ducks in a row.
If you’re renting: You should organize the transfer of accounts asap. Remember that some accounts such as hydro will be behind in reading and collection of your bills, so always budget for an extra payment or so after you’ve moved. Make sure to redirect your mail with Canada Post at least for a few months. Or if you don’t want to spend the money try making friends with the new tenants so they can collect it for you! Otherwise If you’re efficient and Environmentally conscious like me go through all you Cell, Bank and internet accounts etc. and Go Paperless! Most providers nowadays offer E-mail or notifications in place of traditional mail.
If you’re selling: To accompany to above mentioned advice, As Soon as you know your new address go through Tax accounts, Insurances & lawyers, brokers etc. and let them know. There may be confidential or sensitive information that you may not see in time or ends up in the hands of the new owners of your previous address. Again, try to maintain a good relationship with old place’s new owners. It may save a call to the city or 2!
5. Have a Garage Sale/ Get a Yard Bin: Whether you own or rent the best time to declutter and start fresh is when you move. Nothing is more satisfying than when you’ve moved in and all the old junk is long gone, all that will remain is organization and Cleanliness (until it builds up again of course). Be ruthless. If you haven’t used it in the last 10 years or so and you can’t sell it, toss it (recycle when you can)! You’ll be surprised how little amount of things you actually need to live. If you’re able to, have a garage sale. Its old school, fun & a great way to keep in touch with your neighbours. No yard? Throw it all up on Facebook Market Place (because we all know how Kijiji is). Facebook Market place is a lot more credible and reliable. Accounts can easily be analyzed to see if they’re scammy, Plus there’s tonnes of nifty features to chat and help sell your items. You’ll still get lowball offers & please be smart/safe when meeting up with buyers, but remember: its worth nothing sitting in your living room & it costs a lot more for someone to pick up the junk you can’t sell!
6. On Moving Day: Hopefully you’ve already packed ? Hopefully you’ve already decluttered. Here’s your new best friend; Hard-Top Plastic Bins. These durable, stackable, easy to carry workhorses should be your go to. You don’t even have to fill them neatly, as long as the lid snaps on your’e good to go. Get yourself a trolley and your golden. Use the sheets and pillows to pack the fragile stuff. Mix this in with an affordable U-Haul van and you’re there. Of course if you have a big house and a lot of stuff get some movers to help, or just get them to do everything. You can shop around for a good rate these days and its definitely worth their weight in gold. Because lets face it, moving sucks!
7. Get it cleaned! The new house may need it or even your old house & Its an excellent way to stay on good terms with your old place’s new owners, (see Mail collection).
8. Reach out to your friends: Tell them you’ve moved. If your Realtor cares they will take a photo in front of the new house and send a postcard to your family and friends. The best realtors will even help you organize an open house. If you like ‘em, let ‘em! Sure they are trying to grow business but the best realtors deal in good relationships not just a database. If they are good enough to refer you may have just become the favourite new cousin or relative.
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