Most often, a move represents an important step forward for the adults in the family because of a new job, promotion, transfer to a different office, or financial success has allowed them to buy a more comfortable house in a different neighborhood.
Moving from one house to another is seldom easy and enjoyable for adults (who chose to move), and can be especially troubling for children (who prefer to stay where they are). But if parents are mindful of their children’s concerns and needs, they can minimize distress and discomfort.
A Move Affects Children and Adults Differently
People typically live in a house for about five years and then move on as their jobs and incomes allow. Five years is a small percentage of an adult’s life, but it’s half the lifetime of a 10-year old: It includes almost all the years he or she can remember. It may be the only home the child’s ever known, and the place s/he feels most safe and comfortable.
A house is much more than a place to live to children. It’s the center of their world, associated with familiar activities, sights, and sounds. A move threatens a child’s security and leaves something unknown in its place. Their friends, and the familiar streets, schools, shops, trees and parks are gone. The new neighborhood is someone else’s world.
The impact of a move on a child starts about the time he or she first hears about it, and often continues until the new house becomes home. It’s not necessary to tell young children about this big change immediately, although they must hear about it from their parents before someone else tells them.
Expect that your children may be even more distressed after the move. The new house will not be comfortable or beautiful the night the moving van leaves, or for months after. The furniture won’t fit the rooms, and the floor will be covered with half-unpacked boxes. The children won’t know anyone at school and, if you move during the summer, they may have little opportunity to meet others their age. They’ll need your help: Plan ahead to support and comfort them and ease the stress of the move.
Easing the Stress of the Move
Young Children Have Special Needs
Describe the move in a truthful, positive way. Tell upbeat stories about the benefits of the new house and location. Plan together to make the new setting feel like home:
Young children need protection from fear of the unknown. Listen carefully to their concerns and respond quickly to relieve their apprehensions. It’s normal, for instance, for a young child to worry that his or her toy box and shelf of stuffed animals might be left behind. Uncover those anxieties by actively involving your children in the process.
Encourage children to get outside and get to know the people and the neighborhood. Encourage older children to distribute fliers for babysitting, lawn care, or car washing. Encourage them to participate in school activities that appeal to them. Get them on sports teams and into clubs. Throw a housewarming party for yourselves and invite all the adults and children on the block.
Most teenagers see themselves as adult members of the family, and may feel disrespected if they don’t hear about the move early in the process. Also, they’ll need time to work through the ordeal of leaving their friends. Ending relationships and saying goodbyes takes time, and is best done before the move. Some relationships will be extremely difficult to bring to an end, and these will require thoughtful, personalized planning. How, for instance, do you move a 17-year-old a thousand miles from her steady boyfriend?
Even though teens seem more advanced in their social skills, they may worry a lot about making friends and fitting in. Visit their new school and check out local activities and employment opportunities for young people.
Communities have their own culture and way of doing things, and this is often reflected in the way teens dress. How they look is really important to teens. Before spending money on a new school wardrobe, your teen may want to observe what’s “in.” Purchasing a few new outfits can often help a teen feel more comfortable.
It’s particularly important to let teens known that you want to hear about, and respect, their concerns. Blanket assurances may seem to your teen like you’re dismissing his or her feelings. It may help to explain that the move is a type of rehearsal for future changes, like college or a new job.
At any age, get help if emotional problems arise. Ask a teacher for assistance. Consider professional counseling. Don’t let a serious problem slide.
Eventually, the strangeness and temporary discomforts should diminish. New friends will become good friends. The new house may become the family gathering place that your grandchildren will visit on holidays. In the long run, everything will work out fine.
How Much Should I Offer?
Clients often ask, “How much under the listing price should we offer?”
The best way to understand market value is through comparative research. Professional real estate consultants review and study at least 40 to 60 listings, visit 10 to 20, and inspect 5 to10 properties to develop a sense of relative worth for properties in a given area.
Additionally, a professional appraisal factors into determining the fair market value of the home. An appraisal protects you because Lenders want to make sure that you don’t overpay for a home. If the home value does not meet the sale price in the eyes of the appraiser, they’ll let you know. At that time, the Realtor can renegotiate the sale price or void the agreement and refund your earnest money deposit.
There are four basic factors that influence how sellers price their homes.
1. Sellers Get Poor Advice
Some real estate agents inflate the value of the seller’s home in an effort to obtain the listing. There’s a natural tendency on the part of sellers to list with the real estate agent who gives them the promise of the highest selling price.
When homes are overpriced, they
These sellers believe their home is worth every penny of their asking price for personal reasons. Sometimes they lose their objectivity and focus on features that seem more valuable to them (rather than to the buyer). For example, the suede wall-covering in the master bedroom may not appeal to potential buyers.
Additionally, some sellers, anticipating reticence to buy, feel it’s a good idea to leave a little “negotiating” room in the asking price.
3. Sellers Price their Home at Fair Market Value
These sellers carefully and realistically study other homes for sale, and may consult with a real estate professional. They price their home competitively, and it usually sells quickly at (or very near) the asking price.
4. Sellers are Motivated to Sell
When sellers want a fast sale, they price their home below fair market value. These homes usually sell right away, at or above the listed price. There are usually competing offers.
Sooner or later, most homeowners will be in a position to sell their home. This report summarizes the top five mistakes that home sellers make, simply because the experience is new to them.
Mistake #1. Using a Real Estate Agent Instead Of a Realtor When you’re looking for help buying or selling property, it’s important to remember that the terms “real estate agent” and “Realtor” are not synonymous.
To be a Realtor, you must be a member in good standing of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The equivalent organization in Canada is the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Both are non-profit trade organizations that promote real estate information, education and professional standards.
NAR and CREA members adhere to a strict code of ethics founded on the principle of providing fair and honest service to all consumers. Realtor business practices are monitored at local levels. Arbitration and disciplinary systems are in place to address complaints from the public or board members. This local monitoring keeps Realtors directly accountable to the individual consumers they serve.
The National Association of Realtors also has earned a strong reputation for actively championing private property rights and working to make home ownership affordable and accessible.
Mistake #2. Failing to Maximize the “Curb Appeal” of Your Home When you’re preparing your house for sale, remember the importance of first impressions. A buyer’s first impression can determine whether they’ll choose to look inside. It’s estimated that more than 50 percent of shoppers decide to purchase a home even before they get out of their car. With that in mind, be sure to stand outside your home and take a realistic “fresh look.” Then ask yourself (and your Realtor) what you can do to enhance the “curb appeal.” It could make a significant difference in your final sales price as well as the speed of your sale. Mistake #3. Not Appreciating the Buyer’s Point of View
Unreasonable though it may be, a prospective buyer would like to see a perfect home from top to bottom and inside and out. To improve the likelihood of an easy, fast and profitable home sale, we suggest that you attend to the following items:
On the outside
On the inside
Mistake #4. Thinking You Need To be In the Home to Provide Details to Prospective Buyers Allow your Realtor to do his or her job without you on site. Most potential buyers feel more comfortable if they can speak freely to the real estate professional without the owner present. If people unaccompanied by an agent would like to see your property, refer them to your real estate professional for an appointment. Mistake #5. Over-Pricing Your Home Perhaps the most challenging aspect of selling a home is listing it at the correct price. It’s one of several areas where the assistance of a skilled real estate consultant can pay for itself versus trying to sell your home yourself.
If the listing price is too high, you’ll miss out on a percentage of buyers looking in the range where your home should be priced. Some people think that if they leave some “wiggle room” in the price, they’ll always have the opportunity to negotiate and accept a lower offer. However, chances are the offers won’t even come in, because the buyers who would be most interested in your home have been scared off by the price, and won’t even take the time to consider it. By the time you correct the price, you’ve already missed exposure to a group of potential buyers.
The listing price becomes even trickier to set when prices are quickly rising or falling. It’s critical to be aware of where and how fast the market is moving – both when setting the price and when negotiating an offer. An experienced, well-trained real estate consultant is always in touch with market trends – often even to a greater extent than appraisers, who typically focus on what a property is worth if sold as is, right now.
If you’ve always rented a place to live, buying a home can seem like a monumental undertaking. This report breaks down this home buying process into clear steps.
Seven Steps to Transition from Renter to Homeowner
Step One: Identify Your Needs and Wants
Begin your search by considering the kind of home you need and want. Write down your specific requirements, such as the number of bedrooms, size of yard, floor plan, location, schools, etc.
Step Two: Determine How Much You Can Realistically Afford
Consider your budget and financial obligations. Decide what monthly house payment you can really afford. Most mortgage consultants advise limiting your payment to no more than one-third of your net monthly income. If you’re unsure, contact your mortgage consultant to assist with the calculations.
Step Three: Get Pre-Approved By a Mortgage Consultant
When you know in advance the amount of loan you can obtain, you can focus on searching for houses in your targeted price range. This can save you time when you find that perfect home, because sellers favor buyers who are pre-approved.
Experienced mortgage consultants can let you know what specific loan programs are best for you. By taking a look at your financial situation and credit history, a mortgage consultant will tell you if you can qualify for the home you want and will find a loan that best suits your needs.
For the approval process, you and your mortgage consultant will complete the required documentation and submit it to an underwriter. A pre-approval is an actual loan commitment from a mortgage consultant or lending institution. This means that you definitely qualify for a loan. Talk to your mortgage consultant about the costs and time involved to secure pre- approval.
Step Four: Work With an Experienced Real Estate Consultant
You can learn a lot about consultants by talking to them about their experience. In a short time, you’ll be able to determine if they’re the right person to meet your needs.
Questions for Agents:
Step Five: Tips for Successful House Hunting
Step Six: Make a Purchase Offer
Work with your real estate consultant to determine the most appropriate purchase offer. Your consultant will present the offer on your behalf.
Step Seven: Save on Your Initial Investment and Monthly Payments
There are only two major investments to consider when buying a home. These are the initial investment, which includes the down payment and closing costs, and the monthly payment, which includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance. Here are some things to consider.