When the decision to move house has been made then the next consideration must be "should I move out before selling house?" The answer to this question is "it depends."
The factors to be taken into consideration regarding the two options are outlined below.
Should I Move Out Before Selling the House?
Moving out before selling house will depend on a number of factors, many of which will depend on the individual vendors' circumstances.
Having or not having a property to move into
Being able to afford the cost of two mortgages during the sale period
- Being able to find self-storage units if needed.
The pros of selling an unoccupied property
Easier for the agent to take potential buyers to view an unoccupied property at short notice due to not having to make an appointment.
Potential buyers are not distracted by existing furniture or 'clutter' particularly where households may include small children or pets.
The owners life is not disrupted by agents showing potential buyers around the property which would mean them having to vacate the premises during the showing.
The cons of selling an unoccupied property
An unoccupied property can feel 'cold' and uninviting to a potential purchaser, particularly if some items of furniture are not left in place.
An unoccupied property has the potential to suffer damage caused by criminals breaking in to steal or vandals. In some cases, squatters have moved into unoccupied properties and left behind considerable damage when they are eventually forced to leave.
Extra, expensive insurance may be required when leaving a property unoccupied.
Real estate agents recommend that some items of furniture be left in an unoccupied property, or even have some rooms 'staged' by a stylist, to give potential buyers a feeling of 'scale' regarding their own ideas for furnishing the house. It is also considered important to keep both the interior and the exterior of the property 'tidy', meaning cleaning areas where furnishing has been removed from and keeping the grass cut and plants, bushes trimmed in the garden.
The Pros and Cons of Moving Out After Selling House
As with the situation regarding selling an unoccupied property, the circumstances of the individual vendor will dictate if this is the best strategy. The pros and cons of this strategy are indicated below.
The pros of moving out after selling
An occupied house with furniture will feel 'warmer' and more 'homely' to a potential buyer.
While occupied, a house will have all utilities, including electricity, connected making it easier for evening viewing by prospective purchasers.
Furnished rooms give purchasers a sense of perspective with regard to what can be successfully installed in a particular room.
As the property is occupied it will continue to be cleaned and garden, grounds etc. will be well maintained.
An occupied property is less likely to suffer from vandalism or be invaded by squatters.
The cons of moving out after selling
You may lose an opportunity to purchase a new property if your existing house is slow to sell.
The real estate agent may require that the house be vacated during showing to prospective purchasers.
Moving Guide: What Do You Leave When Selling a House?
What can be taken with you when moving house and what should be left behind can be discussed between the purchaser and the vendor. Overall, permanent fixtures and fittings such as light fittings should be left, unless you agree, in the contract, that you will take the 'crystal chandelier' from the entrance hall with you.
Things that should be left when moving
Fitted furniture such as built in wardrobes, kitchen counters
Light fittings and switches
Some of the above may seem obvious but it has been known for people moving out of a property to even take the lightbulbs!
Some very important things to remember when moving house are often overlooked. Do not forget to pay for mail redirection at the local post office. Inform internet, telephone, cable TV and utility companies of the move. Update any drivers licences with the new address.
When making the move between properties it would be wise to remember that movable furniture should be wrapped by moving specific blankets from a moving company as it is becoming increasingly popular for a family to 'self-move' by hiring a van and transport the contents of their home themselves. However, if employing the services of a professional moving company, the whole process can be left in their hands.