Selling Your House Fast When You Need to Move out of State, City, or Abroad in 2021
Even though the information on this web page is provided by a qualified industry expert, it should not be considered as legal, tax, financial or investment advice. Since every individual’s situation is unique, a qualified professional should be consulted before making financial decisions.
In this extensive guide we will discuss different solutions to choose from if you are moving and need to sell your house fast. We will go over situations when you need to sell your house to move either abroad or within the country.
Generally, you have two main options: either to sell your house before moving or after that.
Read on to find the best course of action.
Option 1: Selling Your House and Moving out of State, City, or Abroad
When Is Selling Up and Moving a Better Option?
Selling up and moving abroad, out of state, or city can bring you at least five benefits.
Unless your property is located in a really nice neighborhood with almost non-existent crime rate, there is a chance of it being vandalized or robbed. Of course, this will make it lose part of its value. Even if you have someone who can check on the house once in a while, your property is still at risk. By selling the house and moving, you don’t have to leave it vacant and hope for the best.
If relocating abroad, receiving a lump sum from selling your property can increase your chances for getting a visa with fewer problems. Normally, you are required to provide proof of enough funds to support yourself during a certain period of time in the country of your destination. Check if adding the funds from selling the property to your existing balance will give you an advantage. Sometimes, this can even make you eligible for permanent residence.
Additionally, having more cash after selling your property may let you buy a place in your new country or city of residence right away.
Remember that even when you don’t live in your house, you still have to pay taxes and utility bills. If it’s a considerable amount of money for you, selling the property before relocating may be better than living with a lower monthly budget until the home is sold.
Finally, having your house sold now will give you peace of mind later. You will not have to worry about all the problems of overseeing the selling process from afar and the property’s security. Instead of being tied to your previous life, you will be able to concentrate on sorting out the procedures related to settling in the new place and enjoy living in your new country.
Selling the House Fast to a Real Estate Investor
Who Are Real Estate Investors?
Real estate investors are individuals or companies who buy properties for cash with the purpose of renting them out or selling at a profit.
Investors help homeowners who find themselves in various situations involving either an urgency or another difficulty calling for an alternative to a traditional real estate sale. Notably, they buy houses fast from people who need to relocate or simply get cash as soon as possible.
Unlike a traditional real estate sale, selling your house to an investor doesn’t involve marketing, any upfront expenses, due diligence period, buyer’s mortgage approval, and other factors that delay the closing date. As a result, a house can often be sold to an investor within just a week.
Now, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of selling your house to a real estate investor.
Pros of Selling to a Real Estate Investor
First of all, investors have cash on hand to buy the property fast. This excludes having to wait for your buyer’s mortgage approval, which can last for up to a month. And if your buyer isn’t approved, the deal can fall through, and you will need to start all over again. Having a cash property buyer allows you to bypass these complications and makes your deal more reliable.
Second, they are real estate professionals, so they don’t need formal appraisal and home inspection reports. They can assess the property’s condition and determine its value right away, after one walkaround. In addition to saving time on the mortgage approval process, neither you will need to wait through the lengthy due diligence period that comes with buyers looking for a place to live.
Normally, you can get a cash offer on the spot or within a day after the walkaround. The closing usually follows within a month. Often within a week or two, if the property doesn’t have legal problems attached to it.
The third benefit is that they buy houses As Is. This means you will not be asked to hire a contractor to fix any problems with the physical condition of your property, unlike when hiring a realtor. Investors are happy to buy a house even with major problems — this leaves them more room for adding value to the property by rehabbing it. As a result, they will resell it for a higher price.
Cons of Selling to a Real Estate Investor
The convenience of selling the house fast and easy comes at a price. Be ready to sell your property for under its market value. In order to make profit by reselling homes, real estate investors need to buy them at a lower cost.
How to Find the Right Real Estate Investor
If you feel that the benefits of selling your house to an investor may outweigh the aforementioned drawback, the next step is to find an ethical investor.
There are two ways to find an investor who will help you instead of taking advantage of you having an urgency.
The first one is searching for them online by typing “sell my house fast” plus the name of your location. Choose a few companies and read reviews about them on various review platforms.
Pick a few investors based on reviews, have them look at your house, and make you a cash offer. Choose the best offer and have your home sold fast.
The second option is to request a cash offer from HouseCashin — a platform that connects homeowners with reputable investors. By filling out the form, you will be able to have up to five professionals look at your property and make you obligation-free cash offers.
The advantage of using our platform is saving your time when looking for and comparing various companies. Also, you eliminate the possibility of dealing with a fraudulent or unethical company: all of our investors are vetted and work according to our high standards of service.
If you want to learn more about how real estate investors work, you can also read our in-depth guide “How to Sell Your House to a Real Estate Investor the Right Way”.
Selling the House to a Future Homeowner
Your other option is to sell your property the traditional way to someone who is going to live in it. You can either try to sell your home ‘by owner’ or hire a real estate agent to do it for you.
Pros of Selling to a Future Homeowner
In comparison to selling the house to a real estate investor, you basically have one benefit: the chance to sell your house for its market value, if it’s priced, prepared, and marketed correctly.
However, if you are limited in time, you will likely need to underprice your property anyway, to help it sell quicker. How much — depends on your housing market.
If you aren’t experienced in the real estate industry, your realtor will help you price your home accordingly. Don’t forget to deduct about 6% of real estate agent commissions and closing costs from the final price.
To better imagine how much it will cost you to sell your house, take a look at our guide Closing Costs for Home Sellers (3 Options Compared).
Cons of Selling to a Future Homeowner
Selling a house the traditional way has three main disadvantages in comparison to selling it to an investor: time, upfront expenses, and inconveniences. Let’s look at them in more detail.
On average, homes sit on the market from two to six months. If your property is not in the best condition, you should also count the time necessary for repairs.
The need to conduct repairs is another disadvantage of its own. Most buyers are looking for a home ready to move in. Professional real estate agents know this very well, and few of them will agree even to list the property for sale if it has issues.
In case any improvements are required, you will have to pay for them upfront, before the closing day. Other out-of-pocket expenses include:
- HOA fees
- buyer’s request for repairs that come up during the due diligence period
- termite inspection (if you have termites in your state)
- home staging (optional)
Depending on your state, there may be additional upfront costs.
Another thing to consider is that during the marketing process, you will need to show your property to potential buyers. If the house is your residence, be prepared to witness visitors walking throughout your home looking for flaws your property may have. While it’s natural and understandable, for many homeowners this factor poses an unexpected stress, because of the sentimental value the home has.
While a real estate agent helps you sell your property for the highest price, their service isn’t free. As mentioned above, agent commissions are usually about 6% of the final price of the property.
This figure implies 3% for the listing agent (the one who helps you) and another 3% for the buyer’s agent. It’s important to note that most buyers use an agent to help them find their future home. In 2018 their number was 87% against 13% going home hunting themselves, according to the NAR (National Association of Realtors) report from 2018. This means that even when selling your home by owner, it’s very unlikely to avoid agent fees entirely.
Option 2: Moving out of State, City ,or Abroad Before Selling Your House
When Is Moving Before Selling the House a Better Option?
If you have enough cash to start a new life in another place, moving before selling your house can bring you a couple of benefits:
- You don’t have to be in a hurry with selling your home, which likely means lowering the asking price in order to sell it as soon as possible.
- If you know reliable people willing to rent it, you can use it as a rental property until you are ready to sell it remotely. This way you will have rental income as an addition to your job or business income in your new city or country.
However, to sell your house from abroad or another city, you need to take care of a few things.
Before you move, find a reliable real estate agent you can trust or a friend who is experienced in selling houses. This person must provide you with quick communication while handling your property selling process: listing it on the market, qualifying interested buyers, communicating with them, showing them the property, overseeing repairs, renovations, and other buyer’s requests, being present during inspections, dealing with the title company, etc.
There are numerous details that come with selling real estate. You either need a reliable professional you can entrust your house with, and who will be able to sell it for its market value, or it doesn’t make sense to leave before selling your home. If you have to endure the headache of overseeing the process remotely just to have your property sitting on the market for a year and sold cheap, it may be better to sell it to an investor and then relocate with a calm mind.
Whether you are leaving your house with a real estate agent or a friend, they should also regularly check on it to prevent your property from being robbed or vandalized. However, if you are selling a nice house is in a bad neighborhood, it may not be a good idea to leave it unoccupied at all.
If you decide to rent your house out, make sure you are confident in your tenants’ responsible attitude to your property. Ideally, it should be someone you know for enough time. Generally, tenants don’t treat rental homes as their own property. Once they damage your house, you will be having a hard time making them pay for it, especially if you live abroad or in another state.
Finally, if you aren’t renting it out, make sure you can afford paying utility bills and property tax until you manage to sell it. Otherwise, it may be better to sell it now and avoid monthly expenses and headaches coming with selling real estate remotely.
Is Selling the House While Living Abroad or Other City Possible?
Selling your house remotely is possible, though more complicated. This option requires you to have a real estate agent you can trust or another trusted individual who will handle the home selling and marketing process for you.
Handling Out-of-Pocket Expenses
The property selling process typically includes showings, repairs, inspections, negotiations with the buyer and their agent, dealing with a title company, escrow service provider, and handling the paperwork.
Marketing measures such as printing and installing “home for sale” yard signs, as well as renovations and repairs will require upfront expenses. You will need to figure out a way to pay for them from abroad or another city. Ask your agent if they agree to pay for these services and be reimbursed by you via a wire transfer. Or, you will need to pay each bill from abroad.
An alternative option is selling the house to a real estate investor. As mentioned before, this option doesn’t require any out-of-pocket expenses from the seller.
Real estate transaction-related documents, such as the buyer’s offer, disclosure form, and others, can be emailed to you. You can print and sign them, and then physically mail back to your real estate agent or other trusted person who is handling the transaction. However, there will be documents that need to be notarized.
If you are moving within the US, you can find a notary in your city. But if you are moving to another country, you can only find a notary working under the US law in the US embassy or consulate.
If the embassy or consulate is far away from where you live, ask your title company and realtor to let you notarize all of the papers at once on the closing day, so you will not need to schedule an appointment with the notary every time you need to notarize another paper.
Power of Attorney
If you are not able to visit the embassy, there is also an option to grant the Limited Power of Attorney to a lawyer or another trusted person in the US. With the Limited Power of Attorney your trusted person (attorney in fact) will be able to sign and notarize all transaction-related papers on your behalf. The Power of Attorney should be composed on a specific form prescribed by your state government.
If you are hiring an attorney for this purpose, signing the Limited Power of Attorney should be done before you move out of your city: normally, lawyers only sign agreements after meeting their client in person.
While this is an option that often works, keep in mind that not every mortgage lender or title company agrees to conduct the closing with an attorney in fact instead of the owner.
Using a Guaranteed Home Buyout Option
What Is a Guaranteed Home Buyout Program and How Does It work?
Different types of companies, such as relocation firms and real estate agencies, offer a guaranteed home buyout program to their clients. It can also be offered by your employer as a part of your relocation assistance package.
A guaranteed buyout offer (GBO) basically means that the company buys your house so that you don’t have to wait for a buyer and manage the marketing and selling process yourself.
Conditions may vary. In some cases you just have your property bought from you. In other cases your house is listed on the market, just like in a traditional real estate sale. If you don’t get an offer by a specified date, the company buys it.
A hybrid option is when the company steps in as soon as you’ve got an offer for your property after listing it yourself or with a real estate agent’s help. The company then completes the remaining details: inspections, buyer’s repair requests, title transfer, etc.
It’s important to note that real estate agencies who offer a guaranteed home buyout, mostly do it for advertisement purposes. Their goal is not to buy the house from you but to hire them for a regular real estate sale. They use the promise to buy the house themselves if it doesn’t sell by a specified date to showcase their confidence in being able to sell it fast.
Be very diligent when reviewing a GBO from an agent, and don’t expect your house to be bought out for its market value. If they agree to buy your house, they want to buy it cheap enough to sell it to someone else.
I’ve actually written an entire article about GBOs titled Selling Your House for Job Relocation: Is a Guaranteed Home Buyout Program a Good Option?, but let’s summarize the pros and cons right here.
Pros of a Guaranteed Home Buyout
The buyout is guaranteed within a defined timeframe. You can be confident that you will get the money in exchange for your house no later than the date specified in the contract. You can relocate fast without going through a full traditional real estate sale.
Cons of a Guaranteed Home Buyout
Normally, the house is bought from you for a below market value: just like real estate investors, companies that offer guaranteed home buyouts hope to resell the property for a higher price. In order to do this, they need to buy the property cheaply.
However, if it’s offered by an employer, especially to a valuable employee, or by a reputable relocation company, it may be done for a market price determined by one or more independent appraisers. Be sure to thoroughly check your guaranteed home buyout contract. You want to make sure that no confusing terms and hidden fees cancel out the attractive offer to buy the property for its market price or other benefits.
Generally, guaranteed home buyouts are only available for relocation within the country, and not internationally.
If you are relocating for a job, look if the contract contains any restrictions for buying a new house. Your employer may not want you to purchase a property that will be difficult for them to resell in future for a profit, when you need to relocate next time. The types of properties that don’t meet an employer’s criteria may include but are not limited to:
- mobile or manufactured houses
- too large properties
- properties with a non-standard amount of land
- properties with problems such as water damage, mold, foundation cracks, etc
- properties containing particular building materials
On one hand, restrictions help ensure that you are not buying a problem house difficult to resell in future. On the other hand, one small problem in the property can make your company prevent you from living in a house that you really like and are willing to fix up if necessary.
The Easiest Option to Sell Your House in Both Cases
Overall, the option that involves minimum headache is selling your house to a real estate investor. The easiest way is to do it before you move, so that you will get cash to start a new life in a new place. You can possibly buy a new property right away after moving and save on renting.
If you are already in another country or city, and someone is helping you with the sale of your house, you should still consider getting an offer from a real estate investor. This will save you from the endless paperwork shipping back and forth and having to control the complicated marketing and sale preparation process from afar. You likely have to deal with other problems relating to setting up a new life.
If selling your house to a real estate investor is something you want to consider, request an obligation-free cash offer from HouseCashin — America’s largest platform connecting motivated home sellers with ethical real estate investors buying houses fast and for cash.
Within 24 hours after visiting your property at the time you choose, an investor will make you an offer for your house. If you accept it, the closing can occur in 3-30 days — no waiting through a due diligence period, mortgage approval, no upfront expenses, or other complications that come with regular buyers.