New Life Crisis.
December 17, 2009 7:01 PM   Subscribe

We are hoping to move in the next six months. When should we put our current house up for sale?

My wife just graduated (yay!) and she is in the running for around six jobs. By in the running I mean in the top 2 or 3 candidates, so things are looking very good. The thing is, several of the potential employers have told her that she will be hired and then expected to relocate there as little as two weeks later, but some will give her a couple months.

One makes their decision in January and expect her by April. One says they'll decide in February and want her there in March.

My main question is when do I put our house up for sale? We are struggling mightily to make ends meet while she looks for a job and if the house happened to sell quickly, we couldn't afford all the deposits (we have 2 dogs too) and first/last months rent etc to get into an apartment.

But, if we didn't sell it and she had to move for the job (any job she takes will have a signing bonus and moving expenses), I don't see how we could afford a new place and the old one on one income, since I most likely will be unemployed when we first move.

I'm so stressed about all of this. My dad could possibly rent out my house as a last resort, but I don't want to dump that responsibility on him. I would appreciate some advice.
posted by CwgrlUp to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
A year ago.

Can't really answer without knowing your location.
posted by pearlybob at 7:07 PM on December 17, 2009

Put it up for sale now, and make sure the realty you list it with has a rental department. Talk to them about being able to rent something short term if your house sells quickly.

I have seen this done by more than one company here locally (one of which I was working for at the time.) Many times these companies have rental homes just sitting around that they would be delighted to have a warm body in temporarily. Plus it is to their benefit to help you-they want your listing, after all.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:14 PM on December 17, 2009

(oh, and worst case scenario, such a company could put your home up for rent if you have to move before it sells.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:15 PM on December 17, 2009

Response by poster: Not that it will tell you much, but I'm in western Arkansas. Population around 100K.
posted by CwgrlUp at 7:51 PM on December 17, 2009

First, find a great realtor. Hopefully you have friends in the area who know someone, or you loved the realtor who helped you find this house in the first place.

Next, talk to that realtor, who is hopefully very smart and very knowledgeable about your area. Get a sense of how quickly, or slowly, things are moving in your neighborhood. And be honest about this work/moving/renting conflict. The realtor may suggest putting your place on the market, and then if/when it sells, trying to rent it back from the new owners for a couple of months, depending on your scenario.

Also, depending on where you live, look into corporate housing or longer-term hotels like Residence Inn. Those types of places cater to people in exactly your situation.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:52 PM on December 17, 2009

Think of it this way. If you live in a sort of town where people can graduate from (aka a college town) you're going to be able to find short term housing if your house sells too quickly. Best case - it sells the day before you leave. Ok case - it sells before you leave and you live in most-likely-easy-to-find-temp housing for a bit. Worst case - you wait a while to put it on the market for fear of being homeless and you're stuck moving out of an unsold house. Moral: put it on the market today.
posted by kthxbi at 7:52 PM on December 17, 2009

You may be able to sell with a "rent back agreement" where you essentially agree to rent the house from the buyers for a specific amount of time.
posted by zombiedance at 9:43 PM on December 17, 2009

Depending on where you are in that part of the state will have an enormous difference on the ease of selling the house. Basically, the farther north you are, the higher the unsold housing inventory.

On my old block in Springdale, there are a couple of foreclosures that haven't sold in the last 8 months. However, there was a house on that block that sold maybe 6 months ago after 4 or 5 months on the market.

I haven't looked at the rental market recently, so I can't really say how likely you are to be able to rent it in the event you can't sell it as quickly as you'd like.
posted by wierdo at 10:27 PM on December 17, 2009

As soon as you've cleared it of 70% of your stuff and scrubbed it from top to bottom. And I'd recommend doing that immediately. Just closing on a sale can take 2-3 months now, because of difficulty getting financing paperwork right, and getting the sale is pretty tough in most market.
posted by Capri at 7:35 AM on December 18, 2009

posted by craven_morhead at 9:01 AM on December 18, 2009

You might also think about how long you would be willing to be a long-distance couple. Suppose you wait to put the house on the market until closer to her decision point. Then you stay in the house and keep your job while the house is on the market. Once it sells, you give your 2 weeks notice and follow her to the new location.

This has a lot of potential to backfire if the house takes a long time to sell or if you don't want to be a long-distance couple, but I thought I would throw it out as an option.
posted by CathyG at 9:19 AM on December 18, 2009

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