When two people fall in love and decide to get married, where they are going to live together becomes a top priority. Often, both have primary residences which are two small to blend households into one. Even if one home is large enough to accommodate both spouses’ belongings, what was right for each when single, may not be right together.
Therefore, there are many pieces of the puzzle to put together when getting married. Today, I’m going to discuss with you the top questions you should be able to answer before you sell and buy your new marital home.
10 Questions to Answer Before Selling and Buying Your New Marital Home
1. How much time do we have before the wedding?
What is the wedding date and do you need to sell two homes simultaneously or do you have time to spread out all of these sales and the new purchase over time? After all, getting married is exciting but planning a wedding has a huge to do list. Are you really ready to take on 3 real estate transactions at the same time? To know the answer to this question, we analyze days on market for each home which will vary depending upon price, location and style and we analyze time needed from under contract to close on multiple homes. Most importantly, we help you fully understand all that will be added to your physical and emotional state to prepare you for being able to carry the bride over the threshold of your home together.
2. Does becoming an investor now make financial and emotional sense?
Another exploration would be looking at the possibility of not selling your present homes but keeping one or both homes as an investment. This may be a wonderful time in your life to start building your financial future through owning real estate as an investment. The wealthiest people in the world own real estate as an investment and know the power of having a tenant pay off your mortgages to create future cash flow for retirement.
If this is an option you wish to consider, the consultation would include education on budgeting for landlords and a close look at mortgage qualification. We would analyze rental rates for you area, prepare you for the downside of this long term investment and take a close look at your qualification for originating a new mortgage in which to purchase your marital home. The worst thing you could do is sign a lease on both of your homes thinking you could then buy a new one together and find out you no longer qualify for a third mortgage. Now your homeless and searching for another house to rent instead of buy together.
Many mortgage lenders will not count investment rental income on new landlord/investors until you are “seasoned.” Renting your houses out could push you out of a new mortgage for a year or two until you gain experience and financial proof of managing vacancy and repair cost on your investment properties. Your income, debt and cash flow has to all line up with your emotional tolerance for being a landlord. So if your heart says “Yes” to being an investor in real estate we would refer you to an experienced mortgage lender to assess if this is a financial option for the two of you. Lining up the head and heart is a must do in marriage and investing in real estate too.
3. Which home has the highest probability of selling first?
A market analysis of both homes will show which house has the greatest odds of selling first. We would study past sales in your area, days on market and current absorption rates to help answer who is most likely to need to move first. Getting married is a countdown that works backwards in the timeline and so is selling a house and moving. Knowing the timing of each sale measured against the ultimate goal of having a home to share together after the honeymoon is important information to know up front in your planning. This is one of the many things we help you understand during our consultation.
4. Which home has the Highest Probability of netting the most cash flow?
A market analysis will also determine the cash flow from each home to be used for the purchase of the new home. Many times one property will net more cash from the sale than the other one. Depending upon the financial analysis provided in the consultation along with your mortgage qualification we can work closely with your lender to determine if the cash from one home sold is enough to purchase a new home or if you will need to keep waiting before reaching your goal of a new home together.
Caution: if you are financially able to purchase a new home together without the sale of both homes you may not want to jump into this too soon. If you do buy after selling only one of the two houses you may end up caring two mortgages for a while. With all of the cost associated with a wedding we do not recommend couples begin a new marriage with extra expenses of two houses. Even if you are qualified by a lender to do so it may not make the best financial and emotional sense to start life together still owning two houses and covering the expense of both homes.
Bringing your most recent mortgage balance statement for each property to the consultation is a must to begin the exploration of what each home may net and if you wish to move forward with a purchase after one sale or it is best to wait for both.
5. Should we do all-in or one at a time?
When two houses must be sold before a new home can be purchased we have two choices. Put both houses on the market at the same time so the process does not take as long or take more time by selling each of them one at a time. Some couple decide to sell one now and then take their time on the next sale. This could be a very good decision given the huge to do list required for a wedding however, it would also be wise to look at the pros and cons of market timing and future interest rates. If your wedding is well organized and almost on cruise control until the big day you can probably handle All-In. Both houses are listed for sale at the same time.
6. What should we do about temporary living arrangements and storage
So you have two houses to sell and the first one just got a contract. Where are you going? Let’s reduce stress and plan that in the consultation too.
When the first house sells the owner may decide to move back home with mom and dad for a while, roommate with a friend, or move in with your future spouse. Combining two households into one usually means too much “stuff” squeezed into one house. If that one house is overcrowded it will cause the home to not show as well which usually means longer to sell and at a lower price too. A storage building is most likely going to be needed because houses that show crowded and small will never bring top dollar and you need every penny to pay for the wedding and buy a new home together.
Weighing the pros and cons of storage cost verses sales price will be discussed thoroughly in the consultation. Alternative storage and staging options within the current home that just became more crowded will also be discussed. And, best of all well priced good storage companies will be shared and you can use our moving truck for FREE.
7. How do we prepare the homes to be sold?
There is a true saying that goes like this: “the way we live in a home and the way we show it when we are trying to sell for top dollar are very different”. So a question every home seller seeks an answers to is, what do I need to do to prepare my home for selling? Our stager will visit both homes and prepare a plan for how to use the two homes together to maximize buyer appeal and your sales price. She may suggest storing of some items or moving some items from house to house to enhance each one. Sort of like joining the two of you in marriage makes you one together, many times joining certain furnishing and decorating items can make both homes enriched too. Our stager is a master at this and you can use our moving truck for FREE.
Here are 10 top selling tips to begin your preparation now.
8. How much money are we qualified to borrow together for a new home?
This is really an important step that many home buyers skip. They start by looking at homes on the Internet or driving around call when they see a for sale sign instead of begging with a budget and a prequalification. It is sort of like the old saying; “getting the cart before the horse”. When we meet with new home buyers for a consultation of the home buying process and in this case, the selling process too, we always refer our clients to the best mortgage lenders (link) in the area to get prequalified. It is important to know how much money they will lend to you, what the closing cost are for the new mortgage and how long they will need to process your mortgage and close. The last thing you want is a lender that can’t deliver on time. Imagine your house is packed up, you must move out to give it to the new buyer and you have nowhere to move because your loan is not approved and at the attorney’s office on time to close. Our lenders have great rates, low fees and know they must deliver on time to insure future referrals from our Team.
9. What is important to each of us in our first home together?
This is where the fun really begins. Just as you have dreamed about your wedding day it is now time to dream about your first home together. Here are some things to chat about over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Take your time. Think them through but, don’t forget to call us for a consultation. We have walked beside over 6,000 home buyers and we will offer you more things to consider that we have learned from other couples like you.
- A. How long will you keep your first home together
- B. What is important to each of you in the new home? Don’t worry if the list does not match perfectly. You are just normal. Welcome to marriage and opposites attract. Expect your list to vary
- C. What do we really need and what do we want? Go ahead whoever is the most organized and create a list of each.
- D. Consider carefully the combining of pets, blended families and commute time of each.
10. How can we begin our new home search and start budgeting for our new life together?
Now that you have all the information you need to make a good business decision on selling it is time to get started looking for your new home. Because of the 9 steps taken before this you can approach shopping for the right home with confidence. You have a solid plan and you know what you need to know about selling, buying and what both of you really feel is important in your first home together. Because of the previous 9 steps you know how long will it take for your homes to sell, what you will net from the sale to use for the purchase of a new home, your budget is set for moving cost and closing cost, the interim move and storage is figured out and you know the price range to shop in that will give you a mortgage payment you can afford. Peace of mind and confidence in a solid plan is yours. So let’s go shopping!
First place to begin your home search is www.lindacraft.com this local website has accurate, real time information on the local market. Avoid all national sites such as Zillow and Truila. Their information is more wrong than right on those sites. Remember, they exist to sell advertising not homes.
When you see a home or two that peaks your interest call your (video link -Exclusive Buyer Agent to preview the property. If your houses are not sold do not spend too much time looking at houses because you can’t buy yet and it will only increase your anxiety and frustration. In North Carolina it is almost impossible to get a seller to hold a house for you until your homes are sold. Our state does not offer contingencies with first right of refusal as other states do. The only way to have a seller hold a house is if you are willing to lose thousands of dollars for a short holding period. We do not advise this.
Finding the right home is a faith walk. You must trust that when you are ready to purchase the right home will appear. It always does.
When an offer comes in on your single homes the closing date can be negotiated to give you more time to shop for the right home. Don’t stress we have a plan to put all the pieces together to make sure the two of you end with a home that you will truly love and enjoy together.