Is it better to move out before my home goes on the market?

Asked by Cranberry, Westfield, MA Sat Jul 2, 2011

I am preparing to sell a house I inherited, so I have no mortage. My plan is to move into an apartment as my next home. I've heard that making the house available for showings is key...but I work at home and have a cat. I wonder if I'd be better off moving into an apartment before the house goes on the market - that way my work flow isn't disrupted, my cat and her things are settled, and I won't have to worry about where to take her during showings. I would leave enough furniture in the house so that it isn't totally vacant. The problem is - there's no crystal ball saying how long it will take to sell the house. My realtor showed me 5 comps that sold in 5, 14, 21, 214, and 228 days. Quite a range! I would continue with the upkeep until it sells, and I'd still be paying taxes and insurance until then. I can afford it, but wonder if this is a risky strategy - if it takes 228 days to sell my house, that's a lot of money wasted. Or could this strategy work in my favor?

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6
Cranberry, Home Seller, Westfield, MA
Tue Jul 5, 2011
Thank you, everyone!

Yes, I was satisfied with the prices of the homes that sold quickly. My realtor's suggested listing price is on the lower end of that range. She also suggested that we list it at that price for 2 weeks and then drop it $3,000. So we'll see what happens.

I'd still love to move into an apartment early, but am playing things by ear for now. I still have some painting and floor work to do before it goes on the market.

Interesting that people wouldn't want to look at a home if an animal lived there....but it makes sense. I know people with animals whose houses are...well...gross. I don't think mine is, but I've gotten into the habit of vacuuming every day and will have the carpets professionally cleaned before the house goes on the market. And I've asked friends to honestly tell me whether the house smells like cat - they all said no. My realtor said it didn't smell either. But I can see the concern.

I also talked to a friend who sold a condo a couple of years ago. He said that there were many times on the weekends that he, his wife, and daughter had to leave at a moment's notice so that their place could be shown. (They were at work and school all day during the week, so that was never a problem.)

Oh, decisions, decisions! :)
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Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Sun Jul 3, 2011
the ones that sold quickly are you satisfied with the price they got? If so price yours at or below them and yours will sell quickly and if yours is in better condition will go for close to or above asking.
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Amber Turner, Agent, Abilene, TX
Sun Jul 3, 2011
I agree with what Louis and Dan have stated. Just wanted to throw in there I have had clients not look at homes because of time conflicts getting into the home. Also some buyers will run when the know animal lives in the house. On top of all that, it will be less stressful for you trying to keep it spotless if you where in the home. Price right and hope it sells quick.
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Cranberry, Home Seller, Westfield, MA
Sun Jul 3, 2011
Thank you so much! When I looked at the comparables from my realtor, the two most recent sales were the ones on the market for 200+ days. The others 3 (5, 14, and 21 days) were sold in the summer of 2010. (There aren't that many comparables in my area, it seems).

My realtor said that while there was no way to tell how long it would take to sell a house, she didn't think mine will take anywhere near the 228 day max of the comps.

My gut is telling me to stay put for a little while longer. I've been investigating apartments and am thinking I might be better off going into a condo, which is my eventual plan anyway. The problem is, I've been working part time and I'm self-employed, so the financing is tricky. Still, if I could use the proceeds of my house sale to buy the condo - and not have to deal with the financing part - that would be ideal. (I posted a whole new question on that....so much to think about!)
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Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Sat Jul 2, 2011
Cranberry,
No one can guarantee how quickly your home will sell, but making it readily available will help. Leaving a few furnishings or having it staged will help too, but the most important thing will be to price it well. If you think "greedy" by trying too high, you'll end up taking longer and getting less. When your agent shows you a good Comparative Market Analysis you want to look at the most recently sold comparables and your active competition. If you want a quick sale, price below your best competitor. You'll get more showings and end up with a higher final price than your competition.
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Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Sat Jul 2, 2011
Interesting approach. I like that you want to do everything to sell your home. Based on that approach, I thiink moving out would be good from your work standpoint as well as the cat wont be a diistraction to you or the people looking. My next suggestion is to price your home on the low end what your sellers agent suggest. That way it should get multi offers on day one and you wont be displaced for long. Good luck
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