In this Buyer & Seller Insights post, we'll be talking to Meg about her family's experience with a high-stress, cross-country double contingency sale - and if that description didn't give it away, I can confirm that this one is a doozy. Moving across the country is never easy - especially with a two-year-old and a two-month deadline. So did the Hensleys sell in time to buy before the clock ran out?
Here's their story:
Two years into our marriage, my husband and I were living in Minnesota and we decided it was time to stop wasting money on rent and invest in our first home. We bought a great starter home and absolutely loved it. We lived there for a little over three years. Then, after the birth of our first baby, we decided that we wanted to be closer to family. As luck would have it, my husband had a great job opportunity come up in Nebraska – close to both our families - and we decided it was time to take the plunge, so we started the process of buying… and selling.
Our home buying experience was pretty stressful due to the fact that we were living in Minnesota and shopping for our new home in Nebraska – which was not easy.
As soon as we decided the move was officially happening, we contacted the agent we had originally purchased the home from to help us sell it.
We de-cluttered and staged our house – then decided on a price and put it on the market. Within two weeks, we had an offer. We were incredibly excited – then we found out the offer was contingent on the potential buyers selling their current home. We accepted the offer, but we kept our house on the market so we could still accept other non-contingent offers.
Meanwhile, we didn’t have any agent referrals for the city we were moving to so I turned to Google to do some research. I ended up choosing the company that seemed like the biggest and most popular and chose an agent who had gone to school where we were currently living (which seemed like a good sign). We sent her an email with our budget, wish list and preferred part of town and she found a list of houses and sent them our way.
Traveling back and forth between Minnesota and Nebraska with a two-year-old boy isn’t easy – so we wanted to keep the trips to a minimum. Once we had a few houses picked out that we were interested in, my son and I flew out to view the homes and either rule them out or add them to a “must see” list for our second (and final) trip with my husband.
The next week, my husband, son and I flew back to Nebraska to find our house.
We needed to decide on a house and make an offer that weekend since we were only two months from our move date – so we looked at houses all day Saturday and found two that we really liked.
House one was close to work, 15 years old, at the low end of our budget and was quite big. House two was on the opposite side of the city, smaller, a bit over our budget and brand new. After talking over dinner, we decided on the older home that was close to work - then we talked with our agent and put in a contingency offer.
At this point, the whole process got very stressful because we were still waiting on our potential buyer’s contingency sale to go through so our contingency could go through (and so we'd have the money to move forward on the purchase of our new home). And the clock was ticking...
A few days later, literally minutes before we finalized our on the Nebraska house, we got a call from our selling agent. The people who wanted to buy our house had just sold their home! That meant our Minnesota house was officially sold and we could make a regular offer on the home we were buying in Nebraska. That was a huge relief. So we closed on the house and got ready for our cross-country move!
We’ve lived in our house for two years now and it turns out that extra space came in handy when we welcomed our daughter Hannah to the family.
In our time here, we have found a few pitfalls that will definitely be bigger considerations in our next home purchase - but considering that we literally found a house in a day – I’d say we did alright.
Buyer / Seller & Agent Takeaways:
Our Nebraska agent had a lack of timeliness, and it was frustrating to deal with. We were under a lot of pressure and in a hurry to find a home so when she didn’t show up on time to showings, closing and other meetings on time, it seemed disrespectful and unprofessional.
- Agent Takeaway:
Your time is not more important than your client's time. Be respectful and don't cause undue stress - especially when dealing with clients who are already working on a tight timeline.
We realized that moving to a small town means you have fewer options – so without time on your side, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to have to settle on certain things. I had to constantly remind myself to look past cosmetic details because those can be easily changed.
- Agent Takeaway:
When you're aware of a buyer's tight deadline and you're facing a low inventory situation, set proper expectations with your buyer and let them know that the house hunt may result in a need to compromise.
When we moved in to our new house, there were still things in the kitchen drawers, the floors were dirty and it was not move-in ready – which was incredibly frustrating after a long cross-country moving process with a two year old. If you’re selling your house - make sure you leave it clean and if you don’t have time to clean, hire cleaners.
- Agent Takeaway:
If you are a seller's agent - make sure your client is prepared to leave their house presentable for the new owners. They wouldn't want to walk into a mess and they shouldn't leave a mess for the people who just spent several hundred thousand dollars on the property.
- Bonus Real Estate Marketing Tip: Learn How to Best Support Out of Town Home Shoppers
Cater your real estate services to out of town buyers to add a niche service to your list of expertise.