Living in Limbo: What to do Between Houses

Tips on how to live between selling and buying a home.

Every home buyer and seller would love a seamless transition from the old home to the new one.
Every home buyer and seller would love a seamless transition from the old home to the new one.

Minnesota housing inventory is at a record low, meaning houses are selling quickly as buyers struggle to compete for homes. Sellers are continuing to discover it takes less time than anticipated to sell their home. The average number of days between when a property is listed and when an offer is accepted is 96 days.  This is a 12.7 percent decrease from March 2012 to March 2013. Sellers are satisfied, but are being left in an awkward stage of homelessness as finding their new home becomes a struggle. How do you live if you have to move out before you can move in? The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® provides some options to continue living your life despite being left in limbo.

  • Post-possession agreement. If you’re working with flexible buyers, you may be able to negotiate staying in the home for a short period after the closing date. If you can convince the buyer to agree, typically you will pay the interest on the buyer’s mortgage, the utilities and the taxes up until the day you vacate the premises.
  • Apartment. Investigate opportunities for units with short-term leases or sublet opportunities. You’ll have to manage two separate moves, but, will have the advantages of on-site maintenance and the likely luxuries of pools and other apartment amenities. You will likely need to rent a storage unit to accommodate all of your belongings.
  • Extended-stay hotels. Roomier than a standard hotel room, this option has the upside of housekeeping. For a family however, this can become close quarters quickly. You do have the advantage of no lease agreements and can leave when it is convenient.
  • Storage options. No matter which temporary solution you choose, you won’t want to be constantly carting and toting personal objects back and forth. Store what you won’t need immediately. If you’re without a home for only a few days, use the moving truck as your storage on wheels. An on-site container removes bulky objects, but allows you to access whenever needed. At PODS, it costs about $215 per month to rent a 16-foot container — a size that holds about three or four rooms’ worth of stuff — plus about $90 for delivery and fuel, including taxes, as of press time.

Have you lived in limbo? What did you find helpful when you were between houses?

The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.

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