Ask the Agent: Where Do I Live Between Houses

by Danielle Skowronek

How To Line Up Housing When Moving

In today’s “Ask the Real Estate Agent” segment, I’m answering a question we’ve gotten recently and one we’ve had in the past as well from first time homebuyers that are currently renting. And they’re wondering what they should do if they can’t line up the purchase of a new home at the end of their lease agreement. It’s a great question, and there a few common two types of problems. First, they haven’t found the home yet that they like and their lease is coming up. The second issue that we sometimes see is they have found the home that they like, they’re considering going under contract, but they have six months left on their lease, and they can’t push the closing off that far.


You Have Not Found A New Home Yet

In the first scenario you’ve got a couple different options. It depends on the situation, what you’re looking for, how many homes you’re seeing on the market that might fit your criteria. If you’re seeing a bunch of homes, your lease is coming up, and you’re reasonably confident that you’ll find something, a good option in that situation would be to go month to month on your lease or potentially find temporary housing. There are short term stay rentals in the area that we can help put you in touch with that can offer you a furnished place. You can put your stuff in storage. A lot of the moving companies we work with actually will store your stuff for free. They do a two time move as part of their deal, that’s a great way to use that to your advantage and save on labor expenses.

The monthly month to month rentals aren’t that much higher than some of the rates on long term leases. Maybe it would make you move twice or pay slightly higher for a couple of months, but if that’s helping you get a home that you really like and locking in today’s extremely low interest rates, it’s a great deal. Over the long term, you would likely come out ahead. If you’re not seeing a ton of inventory and you’re a little bit nervous about that, talk to your landlord about negotiating maybe a 6 month instead of a 12 month or having the right to cancel with some sort of modest fee.

You Have Found Your Next Home

For the second scenario, if you have found your home and you’ve got a number of months left on the lease, let’s say six months or longer, depending on which jurisdiction you’re in, the terms of your lease there’s different liabilities on how much that you could potentially owe. In Virginia, you’re typically responsible for the whole lease. That said, you do have options, so don’t admit defeat quite yet. You can try and negotiate a separate deal, usually known as a break lease agreement, with your landlord. Another option would be to try and get the seller to buy out your lease. We’ve actually negotiated for buyers before to have sellers buy out the remaining part of their lease. Your third option would be to try to find someone to sublease it to, or take over the lease for the rest of your term plus a number a months. For those in the DC metropolitan region, do know that’s also a service that we provide to homebuyers as well.

Have a Particularly Tricky Scenario? We’d Love to Help

All of these solutions can work, and if you’re working with a great team or agent that is creative and solution-oriented, usually all of these circumstances can be managed. Thanks a lot, and as always, if you have any more questions for our “Ask the Agent” segment, please let us know.

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