R.E.S.T. Real Estate Straight Talk – WTF is an HHT?
R.E.S.T. Series – WTF is an HHT
Hey Everyone and welcome to our series where we talk about the career that we love… real estate.
What does R.E.S.T. stand for? real estate straight talk – where we give you the heads up, the real deal, real scenarios, myths and myth busting, the rules, the ethics, the process, the expectations – what you really need to know. Let’s dive in to today’s episode.
WTF is an HHT? This term will be very familiar to anyone of our listeners that is with the Canadian Armed Forces or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. HHT stands for House Hunting Trip – don’t google it though because you will come up with 1.5 million hits for
Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia and what we are talking about is not that!!
Anytime someone is relocated to a new city, there will be some form of House Hunting Trip. For the purposes of this episode, we are going to concentrate on the style and type of HHT that our military and RCMP families have to deal with.
Picking up and moving yourself, you family and your pets is a pretty stressful and anxious event. There is so much to coordinate!
Whether this is your first, last or somewhere in between posting we want to give you an idea of what you NEED to expect from a REALTOR® and what a good relocation REALTOR® expects from you. We will focus on both sides – selling you home to go on an HHT and then actually going on your HHT.
For anyone coming from overseas or a PMQ this first part won’t affect you as you only have to pack and move.
Selling your home to relocate:
Step #1 – GET IN TOUCH AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE!
Selling your home in anticipation of a posting is a time sensitive event. As REALTORS® that have moved hundreds of families, relocation specialists want to hear from you the second you even THINK you may be posted. It is never too early to get the process rolling. Even in the event the posting doesn’t come through, you will have an idea of what would be required to sell you home.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
A REALTOR® with experience in relocating families usually has many many contacts. Often they have created relationships with similar REALTORS® in your destination city who will provide you with the same exceptional service. Also ask your colleagues – they may have had a great experience with someone that you can reach out to. This may save you a lot of headaches moving forward.
In both the selling and buying scenario make sure the REALTOR® is experienced in relocations! Ask how many relocations they do every year and if they have references or testimonials they can provide from CAF or RCMP members. They should also (at the time of this blog) be approved suppliers on the lists of both BGRS and the RCMP.
When you do get your posting or release message (in Ottawa you can not list your home for sale without one) then the REALTOR® you pick needs to provide you with the following at a minimum
MARKET ANALYSIS / PRICING REPORTS
It’s important to provide you and the relocation company with a completed market analysis of your current home’s value. We are familiar with all the forms and will make sure they are sent to you or directly to your consultant / representative. It is important that the REALTOR® you pick gives you pinpoint pricing and has a strategy for the market and the “what ifs” of your timeline.
Your job – arrange for a property appraisal for your relocation file – a good relocation REALTOR® will know of a few that are experienced and on the relocation company’s approved supplier list.
LISTING YOUR HOME
Make sure the REALTOR® you choose has a great marketing plan – from photography to feature sheets to social media plans. You want to be in as many places and in front of as many faces as possible.
ON THE MARKET
Just because there is a sign on the lawn and pictures on the internet doesn’t mean it is time for the REALTOR® to disappear – Every showing should get Feedback and that feedback should be given at least once a week, with a market update. Your REALTOR® should also make sure the relocation company or relocation division has their updated market reports and recommendations when required. NONE of this should have to be solicited by you – a really good relocation REALTOR® will have all this scheduled and part of their SOP (standard operating procedure)
Your job in all this – keep your home clean and show ready and make every effort to leave the house when a showing is booked. (Much harder than it sounds 😉)
DON’T GO ON AN HHT WITHOUT SELLING YOUR HOME FIRST
Relocation companies/divisions won’t tell you that you can’t. But it isn’t wise. Unless the bank tells you you can carry two homes, two mortgages, then don’t put yourself under that kind of stress. In addition, if you came and found a house and even IF the seller allows you a condition in which time is allocated to sell yours, there is a chance someone else can buy the house in the meantime and that results in a failed HHT and you may not be covered for a second one.
BUYING AND THE ACTUAL HHT
So now on to the other end and the actual HHT. Again, and we can’t recommend this strongly enough – get in touch, ask for recommendations, google research and interview REALTORS® the moment you get a whiff that you are going to be posted/relocated. The earlier the process can begin, the more confident and less stressed you will feel when you actually hit ground in your destination city.
When you find the REALTOR® you want to work with in your destination city an enormous multi-faceted conversation begins and it should start with the following;
Needs & Wants – it is important for us as REALTORS® to know what is absolutely critical to you and your family and what is just a “wish”. From the number of bedrooms, to garages, to schools, parks, amenities and budget, your relocation specialist much be able to tell you 1. If what you want is possible and 2. Give you an idea of where and at what price those types of homes are. What you don’t want to hear are our two most hated words in real estate – NO PROBLEM!
Expectations need to be set, realities explained with some good, honest back and forth. Any REALTOR® can put you on an automated search, but to give you the straight talk, not all will give you a running commentary on the pros and cons of each home and each area. This organic and on-going part of the HHT is critical to your success. If you have never been to your destination city, then you need guidance – and that can take time.
We totally understand when last minute postings happen and there is little time to finesse the communication – but the earlier you can get in touch, the better!
THE most important piece for you to have in place before coming on your HHT is your mortgage pre-approval. By having this done, you can comfortably search for a home knowing it is within the budget. If you already have a mortgage on the home you are selling, then you need to make sure it is portable and there will be no penalties when you move and bring it with you, or that you can pay it outright and get a new mortgage with your home purchase. If there are penalties – you need to know if they are covered under your relocation package. No one likes surprises!
If you aren’t sure where to start – then an experienced relocation REALTOR® will have some recommendations of financial experts that are accustomed to military and RCMP moves.
BOOKING HHT DATES
The moment you have an idea of the dates you will take for your HHT, make sure to run them by your REALTOR® in your destination city – it now becomes a team effort and you want to make sure 1. Your REALTOR® isn’t already booked (or has backup) and 2. There isn’t something going on in the city that will limit your house hunting ability. A good relocation REALTOR® will be booking that entire timeframe to work with you and your family so make sure it works for both of you.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR HHT
REALTORS® that specialize and excel in military and RCMP relocations are a rare and different breed. They are like professional athletes as they zone out all other distractions until your HHT is successful. They have HHT’s down to an art form. Here is what to expect;
Depending on your arrival time, your REALTOR® will pick you up and begin by showing you the top 3-5 homes you have identified from all that communication prior to your HHT. By viewing your top homes you get to finally see what you have been scrolling through for days/weeks/months – sometimes they aren’t what you expected – but it gives both you and your REALTOR® time to get to know each other and for your REALTOR® to listen to your thought process. By the end of the first round of showings, your REALTOR® should be honing in on exactly what you like and don’t like. It helps set up the schedule for the proper first day.
If you arrive late on that travel day, then your REALTOR® would likely incorporate your top 3-5 into the full list of homes you will see on your proper first day. Don’t be surprised how long this first day gets – there is a mission that has to be accomplished and a good relocation REALTOR® is looking to have your new home secured no later than day 3, as you need the rest of the time to have the inspection(s) done, scout out work, schools and the 100 other things on the list.
On that note – a good relocation REALTOR® will have lined up the inspector already for day 4/5 and have all your approved suppliers lined up. (lawyer/other inspectors for rural properties/mortgage broker/banker)
IMPORTANT STRAIGHT TALK – if your REALTOR® is not pointing out pros & cons for each home, and talking about the resale value of the home ad nauseum – be worried. For ANY client, our single biggest value to you is in the investment/resale value of a home. For all of you CAF and RCMP members this is CRUCIAL. Whether you get posted out in 6months, 6 years or never, the resale potential for your home is of paramount importance.
WHAT TO BRING ON AN HHT
Proof of employment and income. Often a pay statement is all that is required; however, the bank will also need a letter confirming employment and salary from your pay office. (If you haven’t provided that in advance in the PRE-HHT work)
Proof of down payment (photocopy bonds, bank passbook or statement from accounts).
Your cheque book / money in the bank – A deposit will be required once you have successfully completed your Agreement, usually between $2,000 and $10,000. Also a cheque for the inspector(s) should you not be able to bill or estimate for BGRS or the RCMP. ($450-$600 for a house, $600 each for well and septic inspections). This is the only money that will change hands prior to closing.
The name, phone number and email of your BGRS or RCMP consultant (if available) and your DND or RCMP file number (DND/RCMP 20151234).
Slip on shoes – when you see 15 houses or more in one day, laces can get a bit cumbersome.
Definitely bring a sense of humour – if you have found the right REALTOR® it should be a lot of fun too!
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