Getting the better of the relocation blues

There are few things as stressful as moving house – and relocating to a strange town where you don’t have any family or friends is even harder.
However, according to recent research by First National Bank, about one in every five home sales in SA now results in the sellers relocating, not only to another neighbourhood or town, but to a different province.
“For some, this will probably be a one-time occurrence,” says Richard Gray, CEO of the Harcourts Real Estate group, “as there is a growing trend among business people in SA towards ‘semigration’, which generally means moving their family to a permanent new home on the coast or in the countryside while they continue to travel for work.
“However, for many other people, the norm is now a major move every few years as one work contract or posting comes to an end and they and their families need to relocate to take up another. And fortunately there are ways to make these transitions is easier, especially when it comes to the sale of an existing home and the purchase of a new one.”
The first step, he says, is usually to decide whether to buy first or sell first. “If the market in your new hometown is in a buyers’ phase – as most in SA still are – it is definitely better to sell your existing home first and, if possible, before you move. Then, as well as having plenty of choice as regards a new home, you will also know exactly how much you can afford to pay for a new one.
“What is more, if the agent selling your existing home works for a real estate company like Harcourts that has a proper national referral network, he or she will be happy to have a colleague in your new town start looking for suitable properties for you before you even arrive.”
And speaking of agents, Gray says, it is extremely important to select the right one to handle the sale of your existing home.“The agent must have an excellent sales record and experience of dealing with long-distance relocations. And the rapport between you must be excellent, especially if you think you may have to vacate your home before it has been sold. You will be entrusting this agent with keys, access by prospective purchasers and responsibility for regular and comprehensive report backs.”
Leading on from this, he says the third, and probably most important step, is to be honest with your agent about how much time you have available to sell your home. “Many people facing relocation fear being cast in the role of a ‘desperate seller’, and deliberately mislead their agents into believing the move will not take place for six months or a year, when in fact it may take place within a month or two.
“But actually an experienced and committed agent who knows there is a time constraint will readily give your home undivided attention, condensing and intensifying the marketing programme to ensure a successful transaction within a very short while.  And that will certainly smooth the path to your new front door.”

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