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Move first, sell later

Unconventional strategy makes sense for some

Created date

September 20th, 2010

Packing up before you list your home may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but it can be a smart move, says Ginger Hopper, an Erickson Realty and Moving Services preferred real estate agent based in Katy, Tex. When a seller has lived in a home for 30, 40, or 50 years, it s unsettling to be uprooted for showings at all times of the day, says Hopper. In some cases, it works out best for sellers to move first, so the home can be staged and kept showready. Jack Cinque has firsthand experience with this selling strategy. The retired chemical engineer had his sights set on a two-bedroom, two-bathroom corner apartment at Eagle s Trace, an Erickson Living community in west Houston. The hold-up? Cinque s spacious two-story home in Missouri City, filled with a lifetime of memories and memorabilia.

Decades of stuff

When I joined the priority list a year and a half ago, I told Blaga [Blaga Bayer, personal moving consultant at Eagle s Trace] that I wasn t ready to move yet because I had this great big house with an accumulation of 60 years worth of stuff in it. I thought it would take at least a year to clear it out. Then, in April, Cinque attended an Erickson Realty and Moving Services informational meeting. Blaga called me after the event and asked how I was doing, says Cinque. I told her the truth. At the rate I was going, I d only need 25 more years to get the job done. Bayer s response? Let us help you. I told her I was going to take the weekend to think about it, says Cinque, and the following week I was going to call her and tell hereither Let s go, or Forget it, I m not going to move. But I knew the way I was procrastinating wasn t going to lead anywhere. Once Cinque made the call indicating he was ready to move forward, things started happening.  Bayer put him in touch with Hopper, who listed the home in late July but deferred showings until after Cinque moved out. Susan Gaze, owner of Tender Transitions and another Erickson Living preferred moving specialist, organized an estate sale and oversaw the move. My daughter taught school in Sugarland, says Cinque. Once she was out for the summer, she came over to my house and worked like mad trying to get rid of things. Then we talked to Susan and she told us not to throw anything away. There s no telling what people will buy at an estate sale.

All settled in

Once Cinque was settled in his new apartment home at Eagle s Trace, Hopper made the home available for showings. As with any selling strategy, there s risk involved with moving before you list your house, says Hopper. The key is to price it competitively and play up the home s positive features. In Cinque s case, his home s cul-de-sac location and large lot backing up to a golf course caught the eye of several potential buyers. Cinque received two offers within the first week. Mentally, I had prepared myself to wait two, three, four months for an offer because that s what I saw happening in my neighborhood, says Cinque. I was thrilled to get a contract so quickly. Moving first had an additional benefit for Cinque. The buyers wanted a quick closing, and with his move already complete, he was free to sign the papers anytime. Now, unburdened of the monumental task that faced him a year ago, Cinque is enjoying his carefree life at Eagle s Trace. With the experience I had over the past year, I knew it wasn t going to work the other way, says Cinque. I was never going to get to the point where the house was cleaned up, made presentable, put on the market and sold. That s what I struggled with during my weekend of contemplation. I knew it was either go and then sell or not go at all. That s what it came down to.