We started off easy in part 1 by making a list of bills paid monthly, terminated or moved all of these services and changed addresses if the new address is known.
Now we are stuck with the more difficult step of figuring out what to do with the soon-to-be-ex-home. This can be super easy or very hard depending on your personal circumstances – so lets get to it:
If you rent your home now is the time to dig out that contract you signed. Got it? Good. Residential leases are often standard contracts so the information you are looking for should be easy enough to find. First, find the terms of your lease, which should be one of the first sections. If it’s month-to-month great! Just check how long in advance you need to give notice to you landlord so the lease won’t renew and how you are expected to do so (probably a written notice).
If you have signed a yearly lease and it is not about to expire find the section titled Termination of Lease, Security Deposit or possibly Opt-out Clause. Also, make sure you check the Lease Renewal section – some contracts require a new lease to be signed every year or they turn into a month-to-month kind of lease. So you might get lucky and your landlord missed the opportunity to lock your business in for another year.
The law for breaking a lease changes from state to state but they all have one thing in common: unless you have a more than wonderful landlord or live in a very crappy home that is in violation with the state’s health code, you will owe money!! My best advice is to display your best diplomatic skills and speak to your landlord. The sooner the better! Losing your security deposit is annoying but better than having to pay the remainder of your lease. If your landlord is insisting on you paying everything you owe there is a little bit of hope left: the law requires the landlord to actively seek a new tenant and once the new person moves in you do not need to continue paying your rent. You are also allowed to help in the search for your replacement, which adds more to your to-do-list but might save you lots! Good luck!!
If you own your home you need to decide if you want to sell or keep your property. There is so much to consider here as this is a very important decision… first off: can you afford to keep your property in case you do not manage to rent it out right away while having to pay rent yourself for the home you are moving into? This largely depends if you have to pay a mortgage or your property is fully paid. Are you planning on buying at your destination? If so, do you qualify for and can you afford two mortgages? Renting your property is great for many reasons but it also comes with a lot of things to do: Is your home ready to be rented out? Is there any work to be done (not only to get the highest rent possible for your property but also because most counties require you to pass a rental certificate in order to lease it out)? Are you going to use a property management company to help you find a tenant and take care of your contract, maintenance, rental income? That decision should also be based on the question how far away you will be and if you have a strong support system to help you out while you’re away. If you decide to use a management company – chose wisely! Their fees come in all shapes and sizes and their professionalism (or lack thereof) will affect you and wallet a lot!
If you tend towards selling you property you need to figure out what the current market is like. Is this a good time to sell? Hopefully you know a realtor that you trust, there are so many of them out there but they are not all the same...! Friend’s and family’s recommendations are super helpful to find the one that’s right for you. Even better, contact me- I know some really, really good ones!! Your perfect realtor will be more than happy to come to your home and share professional advice. They will be able to recommend a strategy to be followed, next steps to be taken and home improvements to be done – your place might look so awesome you won’t want to move anymore… hah!
Decisions, decisions. Don’t give up, take a deep breath and contact me – I am always here to chat things through with you!