Relocation Made Easy: The Ultimate Guide to Buying, Selling, and Moving
People relocate for a variety of reasons. The most common ones include:
A new job
The cost of living
No matter what your personal reason for relocating is, you’ll have to work out many details—but don’t worry. This guide is here to help by covering the ins and outs of a major relocation topic: your living situation. If you currently own real estate, you’ll need to decide how you want to manage it. Planning to buy a new home in your new location? We’ll cover that too. Let’s go.
Relocating for a job? Ask about a relocation package.
If you’re in the process of accepting a job offer, or even if you’ve already accepted one, you should ask if your company offers relocation assistance.
What’s relocation assistance? It’s “a business benefit where a company offers an employee help in moving to a new city or state in order to work for that company” (Brandi Dye). This can be an upfront lump sum, or it can come in the form of reimbursement. Common items covered by a relocation package include:
the cost of breaking a lease
a real estate agent to sell your home
a house-hunting trip to the new location
utility transfer fees
What’s included in a relocation package varies widely by industry, company, and position, so be sure to ask your company what’s available for you.
Should you sell before or after you move?
In an ideal world, the timing of your move would coincide perfectly with the timing of your home sale—but real estate timelines can be unpredictable. One thing to keep in mind is that most people need the equity from the sale of their old home to fund the purchase of their new one—and if this is the case for you, you’ll either need to sell before you buy your new home, or you’ll need to include a home sale contingency in your offer.
A home sale contingency is a clause that makes the purchase of your new home contingent on the sale of your previous home. It means if your previous home doesn’t sell in time, you can back out of the transaction.
Either way, here’s how to go about selling your home when you relocate.
If you sell before you move…
Some people prefer to sell their homes before they move to a new city. Why? Because selling before you go ensures that you get to be 100% focused on your new life in your new location. You don’t have to keep one foot in the city you left behind while you try to coordinate a home sale and all the details that go into it.
If you want to sell before you move, start as soon as possible. Contact your real estate agent, get your home cleaned and staged, and list right away. Low inventory in most markets means that sellers have an advantage, but high mortgage rates and high home values have priced many buyers out of the market—so the timeline may be unpredictable depending on where you’re selling. Starting right away will give you the most time with the least stress.
Many people who sell before they move opt to rent a home in their new city instead of trying to buy and sell at the same time. This strategy gives you plenty of time to get to know your new area, figure out which neighborhoods you like the best, and take your time to find the perfect home before you buy. It’s a great choice if you want to buy your new place without rushing, and it means the timeline of your sale won’t influence your new place to live. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about your offer when you do want to buy being declined due to a home sale contingency.
However, renting in your new city comes with a few downsides. If you’re planning to buy soon, it means you’re going to move twice in a short amount of time. It also means you’re going to spend more—including rental application fees, rent, any non-refundable deposits, and additional moving costs.
Not sure which path is right for you? Get in touch with your local real estate agent to discuss your unique situation.
If you sell after you move…
While selling your home after you’ve moved might seem tough, some people who relocate prefer this route. Usually these are people who aren’t positive that their move will be permanent, and they’re those in a financial situation that can handle two homes without excessive strain. Unless this applies to you, it’s highly recommended that you sell before you move.
If you find yourself needing to sell after you move for any reason, it’s critical that you work with an expert local real estate agent with great reviews. You need someone you can trust to handle the details without constant check-ins from you—who will work with your best interests at heart and sell your home for what it’s worth.
Buying a home in a brand new place
When it’s time to find a new home in your new city, here are some ideas to consider.
Try to make trips ahead of time
Before you move, make a trip or two. Get a feel for the city, and look for neighborhoods and areas where you can imagine yourself living. Consider factors like lifestyle, commute, cost, and proximity to desirable amenities.
Decide if you want to rent
Renting for a few months will give you time to find not only the perfect location, but also the right real estate agent and lender. Most lenders want to see two years of employment in the same industry—so keep this in mind if you’re relocating for a job.
Work with a local expert agent
The importance of this can’t be overstated. Whether you decide to rent for a while before buying or not, it’s likely that you won’t know this new city as well as you know your hometown. To make sure you’re finding the home that’s perfect for you, look for a real estate agent that’s been in business in this location for years. That way, you can be sure they know the local market and every residential neighborhood. You can feel confident when you pass along your list of must-haves and must-not-haves that your agent will know how to deliver.
Tips & tricks to make long distance moves easy
Once you’ve found a new place to live in your new city, you have to get from Point A to Point B. Long-distance moves can be tricky, so here are some tips.
Go with a moving company
If you hire a good moving company, you’ll be able to fly to your destination with minimal worry. While this option is usually more costly than driving your own moving truck, many people prefer hiring movers because of the convenience. Long-distance moves can be stressful enough without adding a long trip across state lines, and letting the professionals handle some of the details can remove a lot of weight from your shoulders. Some companies include packing services, while others require that you pack while they cover transportation. Check out options between your two cities and then decide which is right for you.
Consider shipping your belongings
Sometimes it makes most sense to rent a shipping container and use it to get your belongings to their new location. The cost can vary widely depending on how much stuff you want to move, how much it weighs, and how far you want to move it—but the average cost for a long-distance shipping container move in 2023 is around $3,000.
Buy new stuff
While there will be many personal items that you want to move with you to your new home, sometimes it makes more sense to sell larger, heavier items like furniture and buy replacements when you get to your destination. For many, this option is more convenient and can actually end up saving you money depending on the items and the distance of the move. Another bonus? This strategy allows you to start fresh in your new home with new energy and a new aesthetic.
We’ve got your back.
Moving here? Welcome. We can’t wait to fill you in on all the local details you need to find the perfect place for you. Your dream home is a phone call away.
Heading out? We understand the intricacies of selling a home when you’re between two places, and we’ll sell your home on your timeline to make moving a breeze.