What I learned when I switched from a Realtor to a Buyer!
As a Burlington, Vermont Realtor since 2000, I have a lot of experience with buying, selling, and moving. I’ve worked with people in all different scenarios and helped them through the entire process of buying and selling a home. I’ve even shared a few moving tips in this blog post!
However, this summer my spouse and I went through our own purchase and move and I experienced the process as a buyer. Big difference!
Being put in those shoes was a good reminder of the magnitude of purchasing and moving into a new home. It was an entirely different experience as I was fully entrenched in all aspects of the sale and move.
All in all, it was a great experience, but I learned a lot and want to share what I learned with you – this time from my perspective as the buyer. So here they are: 8 moving tips from a Realtor who just went through it all!
1. Get your Ducks in a Row – No matter how casually you think you are looking – you may just find your dream house! That’s what happened for us. A casual Saturday “Let’s just start looking” viewing led to us quickly putting a bid in on a home with multiple offers!
Most Realtors and sellers won’t accept an offer if you aren’t pre-approved, especially in a multiple offer situation. So, before you head out to look around, do yourself a favor and make sure you are ready to make an offer. This means figuring out how much you can afford (a simple mortgage calculator will get you in the ballpark). Even if you are sure you can afford it, obtaining a formal pre-approval by a local lender is essential.
Pre-approval is not a complicated process but you should give yourself at least a week to phone your lender, find out what you are approved for, and get a pre-approval letter that you can give to a seller or Realtor.
This simple step can save you a frantic phone call when you’re picturing yourself in your dream home and really want to make an offer!
2. Start Purging Early Even if you think you have time it is never too early to start purging anything you don’t want to move. You do not want to waste time packing boxes and paying someone to move things that you will never use.
We weeded out a lot of things and found that donating worked well for us. Burlington, VT has many places to donate unwanted items, these are a few that we used:
Goodwill – There are Goodwill locations in both Williston and Shelburne, VT. You can bring them almost anything and they are really helpful at drop-off locations. They bring a cart right up to your car and will help you unload your boxes and bags!
ReSource in Burlington, VT is another great spot to donate household goods. This a great option if you have larger items, like appliances, to donate.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore -located in Williston, this is a great place to donate furniture, appliances, or any other household items that are in good condition.
We also listed things on Craigslist – this is an especially good option for things you don’t want to move yourself (like furniture)!
3. Use a moving company – This will save you time, hassle, and worry, not to mention your friendships! It is fine to ask friends for help but, when it comes to moving large and heavy items, leave it to the experts. There are some great local companies in the Burlington area that do a fantastic job:
4. Buy small boxes for packing! Don’t pack in large boxes. They are cumbersome, hard to move, and you will inevitably end up forgoing any sort of thoughtful organizing resulting in a huge box with a haphazard grouping of items (like shoes and a kitchen sponge)!
Small boxes are great for organizing purposes and you can move them around yourself before and after the actual move. It is a small thing but will be a big help!
5. Hire a professional cleaner – If possible, hire a cleaner to come in after you have moved out. Moving is stressful and takes a lot of time and energy. You will want to leave a clean and nice space for whomever is moving in after you, and a cleaner will do the job right.
6. Ask for some help! I do recommend professional movers for the big move but once you are in your new place, ask some friends for some help unpacking. They will be so happy you didn’t ask them to move furniture they will probably say yes!
Friends of ours arrived right after we moved in and volunteered to unpack our kitchen. We half-heartedly refused at first thinking, “How will they know where to put anything?” But, they were good friends and happily unpacked all of our kitchen boxes. A few months have passed and we haven’t moved a thing. It was so nice to have such a necessary room in the house ready and organized so we could eat!
Also, if possible, try to give yourself some time after you close to move. If you were previously renting don’t try to move out on the same day of your closing.
You generally don’t have a mortgage payment your first month so use the extra money to buy yourself a little time and negotiate a few weeks or a month to move out of your old place, it will remove a lot of stress.
Even with friends and small boxes, be prepared to live in a little chaos for a while. We moved in early July and I’m still unpacking boxes!
7. Stay on top of your finances – Your finances are essentially on a freeze while you are going through a mortgage process. Avoid any big purchases or changes while the bank is approving your mortgage – this includes lease payments or deposits for renovations to your new home.
Any major change in your finances could hold up the process and delay your closing. That means purchases and deposits. All bank transactions that happen during your mortgage process need to have a clear paper trail or it can raise questions and delay your closing. Your best bet is to avoid anything beyond your normal expenses until you have closed and everything is signed!
This goes back to getting yourself in order before looking. Make sure you are prepared to lay low for a while, that your bills are all paid, and that you’ve filed your most recent taxes so everything you hand over to the bank is clear and up to date.
8. Take a few days off – This is something I really wish I had done! Take some time off of work before and after your moving day if at all possible.
This is a big event that takes a lot of time, thought, and energy. Taking a few days off of work to focus on your move means things will go more smoothly; and when all is done you might be able to give yourself a few hours to relax and enjoy your new digs!What about you? Do you have any must-dos or great tips to make a move go more smoothly? I’d love to hear from you!
If you have any questions about real estate in the Burlington, VT area give me a call at 802-488-3455, I would love to help!
Thanks for stopping by,