My husband, 7 year old son and I live in a small, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home in College Station. We bought this house right after we were married in 2006 and it has been perfect for us! However, my husband works from home 3 days a week, has to use one bedroom as an office and our life circumstances have just changed in a big way. We’re expecting twins in early June! We’re absolutely thrilled – and maybe a little terrified, too. We know that this is going to be a big adjustment for our son, who has been an only child for almost 8 years. We know that we need to sell our home and move to another home, but are worried about the timing. We’d love to go ahead and move in the winter or early Spring so that we can get the nursery and guest bedroom set up (so that my mom can come help us), but we’re concerned about disrupting Mason’s school schedule. We’re worried that if we wait until late April to list our home, I may not be in the condition to help much with the move or the twins could come during the time that we are packing and moving or before we sell the house. If we wait until after they are born, it is going to be hard to keep and show the house while taking care of two newborns. What if our house sells right away and we can’t find a home to buy because we waited until peak selling season?? We’re feeling trapped and nervous and needing some advice! Please help!
Jordan, College Station
Congratulations on your new additions!
We find that when our clients are either upsizing or downsizing, it is often as a result of a life-changing event: marriage, birth, employment changes, death, divorce, retirement, empty nest, etc. All big life events, good or bad, cause stress. Selling a home (and buying a home) can really add to that stress-level. However, there is an option that few sellers and buyers consider that may work well for you.
Based on your description of your home, it sounds like it is probably in a price range that is selling very well right now. Of course, list price, condition, marketing, and negotiations all affect the sales price and time on the market. You may consider interviewing and hiring the Realtor that is the best match for you, preparing your home so that it is in show-ready condition, then having your Realtor market your listing either in the MLS or as a “Pocket Listing” with very particular requirements. For example, the home can only be shown to qualified buyers that will move forward with the purchase of your home and allow you to lease it back through a predetermined date. This would benefit you in two ways: It allows you the luxury of more time to shop for the home that will be a perfect fit for your growing family and it allows you additional time to purchase your new home (you can structure your loan so that you are not making a house payment right away – ex. close in April, but not have a house payment until June) and slowly move everything in over the course of a few months.
Pocket Listing – A pocket listing is a listing that does not appear in the MLS.
A pocket listing may benefit the seller if their home is a highly desirable property. Buyers who feel that they are getting an opportunity to secure a home that few other buyers will see may be willing to pay a higher price to avoid the stress and anxiety of a potential bidding war for a property listed in the MLS.
Potential negative/drawback of a pocket listing: The National Association of Realtors warns: Sellers should be cautioned that restricting a large pool of eligible buyers from knowledge of the sale might reduce the final sale price.
Sellers can minimize the risk of a pocket listing (and maximize the reward) by carefully reviewing all comparable sales for their home and determining what sales price would be acceptable and what would not. Additionally, a timeline should be established to determine when the listing should go “live” in the MLS if the pocket listing is not gaining much interest/traction.
One other suggestion that may help reduce the stress on Mason is to really involve him in the process.
After you have done a thorough needs analysis of what you want in a new home (I suggest making 3 lists: Must Have, Must Not Have, Wish List) and reviewed with your Realtor (or better: created it with your Realtor), ask Mason what he wants in his new home. When you have narrowed down your list of potential homes, bring Mason to see the last few choices and show him where you have incorporated his wishes. We also like to provide paper and crayons for kiddos so that they can draw what their new room will look like. This gives them something to look forward to and takes the focus off of what is familiar and is going away.
You may also want to explain the entire process down to the fact that all of the familiar furniture and belongings in your current home will move with you to the new home. Many children who are moving for the first time consider the furniture, decor and belongings inside of your home to be part of the house. It’s reassuring for them to understand that those comfortable items are moving to the new house with the family.
Hopefully the pocket listing suggestion will work for you and you can enjoy the perfect timeline for your move. If that suggestion does not work, please remember that there are people doing this successfully every day. A moving company (or family and friends) can pack and move an entire home in a few days.
If you find a home that you love before you sell your current home, you can protect yourself by making an offer that is contingent upon the sale of your current home.
There are many strategies to help you with your move. Remember, step 1 is to locate and hire the Realtor that is the best match for you. The right Realtor will have the experience, knowledge and compassion to see you through this journey. We are fortunate to have many such Realtors in the Brazos Valley.
I wish you and your family the very best. You’ll do great!