Buying and selling in age of COVID
August 29, 2020 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone give us advice in selling and buying their house in the age of COVID - cross country?

We own a home in (state on the west coast). The plan is to buy in upstate NY. Whoever, we are very confused as to how this works during COVID.

Do we sell in (state on the west coast) first, then find a home in NY?
Do we find a house in NY then sell in (state on the west coast) once we have it?
We're very confused. We feel that time is ticking as we have a family member who is terminal in NY and want to spend as much time with them as possible before they pass away.
We currently have a realtor in (state on the west coast) and can probably sell, very fast as the market is so hot, but the next part - getting the new home in NY is the sticking point. We have recommendations for new agents in the new city in NY, so that isn't a problem.

Finding a decent rental might be an option, but they seem to go very fast, like within an hour or we are told they have 10 people in line so that seems unlikely we will get the rental from across the US.

Anyone recently go through a cross country move and can tell us what you experienced?
posted by gregjunior to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If it were me, I'd sell first so I had the money in-hand for the NY purchase.

So: sell current house, use a shipping container/"pod" type of service to pack everything, ship the containers to NY, put the shipping containers into storage near the final destination, then move to temporary accommodations (even an Extended Stay America type of hotel if I had to), find local agent, buy new property, request possessions from the freight terminal and move in.

...but please note, this is the process I'd use when moving anywhere in the US; I have no specific knowledge regarding NY real estate purchasing or (horrors!) NY moving/storage regulations (in some states you can get royally screwed if you're not careful).

Also note, I did NOT do the above when I recently moved from the Midwest to the West Coast because I was unable to get the Midwest property sold before I needed to be on the West Coast. Everything else was the same as I outlined above, just without the initial sale, and then including an extended time losing money on a now-unoccupied place in the Midwest. This is why I say sell first if at all possible, unless you've got money to burn.
posted by aramaic at 5:25 PM on August 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you have never lived in upstate New York, I'd recommend renting when you move there. Buying the wrong house will ultimately be expensive in the end and if you don't know the local area, it's easy to end up someplace you don't want to spend the next 5+ years. If your plan is to get local jobs, knowing what your commute will be like will be important.

And it's much less stressfull to try to sell a house and rent an apartment than it is to be timing buying and selling at the same time, especially during a pandemic.
posted by Candleman at 5:34 PM on August 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I would consider renting an Airbnb for as long as it takes to find either a rental or a house to buy.
posted by pinochiette at 5:58 PM on August 29, 2020

Best answer: I agree with everyone saying to sell now, then rent, then buy later when you are certain of what and where you want.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:03 PM on August 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I agree with those who say to go ahead and sell the West Coast home and wait to buy the new one until you have time to find what you really want.

You want to prioritize your time with your loved one so (1) let your West coast agent earn their commission and take charge of everything that needs to be done to get your home sold, (2) pack everything you need to stay in a rental for a couple of months (3) hire movers to pack everything else, move it for you and put it in storage at the other side. (Actually you will probably want to pack some fragile and valuables things yourself but you get the idea.)

In the meanwhile, I would go ahead and move out of your house asap to get your self to New York. If you can't get a short term rental, plan on an AirBnB or Residence Inn type place and then look for a rental once you are there. Do some diligence about the cleanliness of the place but if you are staying there for a while, it is easy to clean when you arrive and then minimize any COVID concerns. It is also easy to arrange for the moving company (or POD type shipping) to store your things until you are ready. The only challenge is pack carefully so you don't find that the things you need are inaccessibly in storage.

It is much easier to get a house quickly ready for sale when it is empty and it will be easier to show it when your agent doesn't have to worry about working around your schedule. Your agent should be able to organize everything in your absence - all you have to do is write the checks for the workmen as needed. (Just make sure the agent truly understands your budget for fixing up the house) We had a house that needed a fair bit of minor fix-ups as well as the usual new carpets and fresh paint and our agent got it on the market in less than five weeks from the day we told her we wanted to sell. Since this stuff is home maintenance, I believe that all of the services that will be needed are permitted under the COVID rules in California.
posted by metahawk at 8:57 PM on August 29, 2020

Best answer: When I moved to Ottawa, I booked an Airbnb for a month and then just stayed there for two years. After the first month we came to an agreement off of Airbnb and I signed a regular rental agreement with the landlord and stayed for two years until I finally worked up the energy to move. Airbnb hosts are getting killed right now anyway, so unless you are headed for a very small town there is a good chance that you can find someone who is renting on Airbnb and who would be amenable to you staying for a few months at much less than the per night rate.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:54 AM on August 30, 2020

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