Our home will be mortgage free in April and we seriously need to downsize. We have our eye on a retirement village where the units sell very quickly, and would like to purchase outright with the sale of our home. When a unit becomes available, should we contact a Realtor first, or put in an offer and then have a Realtor list our home? – DILEMMA
DEAR DILEMMA: Congratulations on being (nearly) mortgage free! When I have a client who is ready to downsize as you are, we start preparations well in advance. It’s common for homes in retirement communities to move quickly, as there tend to be a lot of people looking (welcome to the Baby Boomer generation). I like to start the process by making sure that your current home is ready to go. A quick walk-through is often all it takes to identify items that should top the “to-do” list.
When it comes to downsizing, I strongly believe that finding your next home is an important place to start. You need somewhere to go, and many people find the transition much easier when they can look forward to where they are headed. Because you have a specific complex in mind, we would need to be ready to act as soon as a suitable property becomes available. Because you intend to buy your new home outright, it’s also important that you establish the value of your current home, to ensure that you can remain mortgage-free.
While you can think of the buying and selling processes working in parallel, you’ll need to be ready when the right property becomes available. I always set up an automatic search for my clients, so they are notified the moment a property pops up on the market. That way, we can make arrangements to see it, often before anyone else.
Pro Tip: Whether buying or selling, navigating the offer process should always be left to a professional as there are many contingencies to consider.
Our house has been on the market for 45 days without a single offer. Is it just a slow time of year? – WAITING IT OUT
DEAR WAITING: Your results so far must be very disappointing, as I’m sure you were hoping to have your house sold in a timely manner. Traditionally, the months of December and January each comprise slightly over 4 percent of our annual sales. It’s a slower time of year, but houses still sell. In our Region, inventory levels are currently sitting at about 40 percent less than we would typically expect at this time of year. Because of this, many homes are generating multiple offers, typically in about a week.
When your house has been sitting, there are two things that need to be reviewed: presentation and price. Does your property present beautifully? (Pro tip: Does it pass the sniff test?) If so, it most often comes down to price. Over the last decade or so, statistics have shown that about 40 percent of houses don’t sell with their first listing. Commonly, this is because the seller’s expectations may not be in line with what the market is willing to support. #AskDavid