Relocating for a Job When You Own a House

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Whether your company is relocating you or you’re moving for a great new opportunity, there’s no way around it: relocating for a job as a homeowner is stressful. There are a slew of factors to consider, including finding a new home, selling your current home, and timing the entire process so the transition goes seamlessly.

Remote work has shifted the landscape of relocating for a job. Many remote workers can now move where they want to live, regardless of where their employer is located. This can be especially helpful for employees of companies based in cities with high costs of living who want to live in a more affordable area. In HomeLight’s New Year 2023 Top Agent Insights report, agents we surveyed predicted that remote workers able to relocate to more affordable areas from high-cost areas would continue to do so.

In their search for affordability and space, people are willing to move farther than they were in the past. In the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2022, the median distance between a homebuyer’s previous home and the new home was 50 miles, compared to 15 miles from 2018 to 2021.

Seeking out more affordable areas is especially common among first-time home buyers, who 67% of agents say are most likely to seek out affordable areas to buy in the New Year 2023 report. But of course, these areas can also be the most competitive.

Let’s review what you need to consider before relocating for a job — and how working with top agents can help with both the sale of your current home and with finding a great new home in your new location.

Steps to take when relocating for a job

You’ve decided you want to move – great! The hard decision is done. Now you have to consider several different factors that will play into shaping your buying and selling strategy. First, it’s essential to consider your timeline. Do you have a specific day you need to be moved in by? Do you have lots of time to sell your house, or do you need to sell it quickly? Knowing your timeline in advance can help you shape your strategy and priorities.

Here are several factors to consider when coming up with your timeline and strategy.

1. Find your home’s current worth

If you’re planning on selling your current home (rather than renting it out or gifting it to a child), you should get a good idea of what it’s worth. This can help you determine your budget for your next purchase, as well as the general moving costs.

To find your home’s estimated value, you can use HomeLight’s free Home Value Estimator tool. It uses your home’s location, age, and other factors to give you a good idea of your home’s current value. A real estate agent can later help you set the perfect price.

2. Research home values in your target city

If you know the general area you’re moving to, you should start researching home values in the city or county. If they’re significantly higher or lower than your current area, that’s something to factor into your budget. For example, if you can sell your house for $500,000, but houses in your new area cost a median of $350,000, you could have about $150,000 to spare.

On the other hand, if you’re moving to a more expensive area, it’s good to know now so you can budget accordingly.

Additionally, a real estate agent in your new location can help you pinpoint where exactly you may want to live. Instead of simply searching for the cheapest area or a neighborhood close to your job, an agent can help you find a specific area that fits your needs.

“It’s the worst thing you could do, in my opinion, to move somewhere where you don’t know where you’re going,” says Bethany Brokaw, a  top real estate agent in Michigan. “You just pick it because you like the house but do not look into the location and then you realize, oh, my goodness, I’m an hour from here, and I’m two hours from there. What was I thinking?”

3. Look into days on market

The average days on market is another important factor to consider. Days on market refers to how long a house in your area typically sits on the market before it’s sold. It’s important to know this statistic for both your current area and your target area. Knowing the average days on market for your city can help you estimate how long it’ll take you to sell your house. Thus, you can plan the rest of your move more accurately.

Meanwhile, knowing the average days on market for your target area can help you understand how quickly the local market moves. If houses don’t sit on the market for very long, you might have to keep a more active eye on listings and be ready to make an offer. However, if homes sit on the market for many days, you might have more bargaining power heading into your home purchase.

4. Consider relocation costs

The logistics of moving, including moving all of your belongings to a new place, should also factor into your budget and strategy.

“If they’re going all the way across the nation, and if they don’t have a relocation package from their job, that can be quite expensive, a lot more than what people think moving traditionally is,” Brokaw explained.

Some companies offer their employees relocation packages that offset or cover the cost of moving. Ask your company if you aren’t sure of its offerings. However, if you don’t have a relocation package, it’s either up to you to move your stuff yourself, hire movers, or use some mix of the two.

Depending on the companies and services they offer, you can find some cost-effective offerings. But as Brokaw says, moving is typically more expensive than many people realize.

Moving a 2-3 bedroom home 1,000 miles can cost between $3,145-$5,958, according to Prices depend on the cost of fuel, tolls, and labor. It also costs more to hire full-service movers who pack up your belongings in addition to moving them. Additional costs like storage and insurance can also jack up your price.

It’s also worth noting if the house you’re buying comes with everything you saw in it such as appliances and window coverings, Brokaw shares. In some areas, it’s commonplace to leave these items with the house, while it’s not in others. Having to buy new appliances could also impact your budget.

Lastly, relocating sometimes means having to change your transportation methods. Brokaw says that when people move north to Michigan, they sometimes are not prepared for the snow and ice the winter can bring.

“It’s very traditional for people to have all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles here,” she explained. “I have had clients actually have to switch their car just because they moved.”

5. Factor in the costs of selling your home

You should also consider how much it’ll cost you to sell your home. In addition to prepping your house for sale, which can include painting, professional cleaning, and staging, you also need to pay a commission and some closing costs. Altogether, this can be up to 10% of the home sale.

So when you’re budgeting for your next purchase, make sure you don’t add the entirety of your home sale into your budget. And although you can work with low-commission agents or sell your house “by owner,” you’ll usually get more money out of the transaction by working with a professional and seasoned agent.

It’s really imperative, if they are working with two Realtors® in different areas, that those Realtors® speak with each other. High communication will allow the client to have a successful transitional move. If they’re completely on their own in both different areas, sometimes there tends to be problems.
  • Bethany Brokaw
    Bethany Brokaw Real Estate Agent
    Bethany Brokaw
    Bethany Brokaw Real Estate Agent at The Brokaw Group
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    Currently accepting new clients
    • Years of Experience 13
    • Transactions 660
    • Average Price Point $155k
    • Single Family Homes 616

Connect with a top agent to assist

To make your home sale and purchase as easy as possible, connect with top agents for both of your transactions. It’s best to hire two agents: one where you live now to handle the home sale, and one where you’re planning to move to handle the home purchase. Brokaw encourages anyone relocating to introduce the two agents to each other so they can communicate about timelines and strategies.

“It’s really imperative, if they are working with two Realtors® in different areas, that those Realtors® speak with each other. High communication will allow the client to have a successful transitional move,” Brokaw explained. “If they’re completely on their own in both different areas, sometimes there tends to be problems.”

Relocating for a Job? Work With a Top Agent.

Packing up and moving for a new job is a big move. To help make the sale of your old home and quick and profitable as possible, work with a top real estate agent in your area. Likewise, finding a great agent in your new location can help you settle into a home and neighborhood that best meets your and your family’s needs.

Working with top real estate agents can help you get the most money out of your home sale and purchase the right home in an area you don’t yet know. Local agents have an impressive knowledge of their areas and can help you find the perfect neighborhood for you based on your priorities.

Agents can also help you figure out all the factors noted above. How those factors play into your priorities for the move will help shape a strategy they can help you execute. There are also many complexities when it comes to selling a house while buying a new one. Brokaw explains she can help clients write contingencies into their contracts or use bridge loan products to get their new house.

Some companies might buy your house off of you, sell it for you, and give you the profits to make your move easier. Additionally, some relocation packages include the services of a real estate agent.

Brokaw encourages people who are relocating to seek out alternatives to their company-assigned real estate agent, as you’re always allowed to hire your own agent.

“You can go to HomeLight and pick your agent. You do not have to use someone that’s automatically assigned to you,” she explained. “They tend to be newer [agents] that are given quite substantial referral fees. You’re allowed to choose someone that has experience and has helped people before with relocation before.”

If you need to sell fast, consider a cash offer

If your relocation needs to happen sooner rather than later, you may benefit from a cash offer. While it’s possible to sell your house very quickly, there’s no guarantee of how long it can take. A cash offer allows you to complete an all-cash transaction and walk away from your house in less time than a traditional sale.

Homelight Simple Sale allows you to see what your house might get in a cash sale from local investors in your area without any commitment. You can even get paid in as few as 10 days.

Sell Fast With an All-Cash Offer

If your new job needs you ASAP, getting a great cash offer on your home can be much faster for a traditional sale, freeing up your home’s equity so you can get a jump start on putting down roots in your new location.

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