How to Sell Your Home While Buying Another House (Realtor Advice)
"Help! I have to sell my current house before I buy another one. Where do I start?" This is a question I get all the time, so get ready for all my best advice.
Remember when you purchased your first home? All you had to worry about was being a buyer in that transaction. Now that you're on your second, third, or fourth home - you're in a position where you're both a buyer AND seller. In order to pay for the next house, you need the equity from the current property. Now the stress is multiplied! Add to that a cross country move to a city you don't know very well and it can be quite the challenge.
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TIP #1 - UNDERSTAND YOUR FINANCES
There's a difference between NEEDING to sell your current home in order to qualify for the loan on your next house and WANTING to sell your current home. If you fall into the category of wanting to sell, you have more freedom to make offers on listings because you won't have as many contingencies attached, which gives you a leg up on negotiations. This is super important in areas that are a seller's market.
If you need to sell your home in order to qualify for a new mortgage, you will likely be asking sellers to accept your offer with an additional contingency that other offers may not have - the sale is conditional upon the sale of your current home. When your offer is the only one and the rest of the terms are good, most sellers are fine with it. It does get tricky in multiple offer situations, so set your expectations accordingly.
TIP #2 - DON’T PUT THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE
The card in this scenario is your next house, while the horse is your current home. If you can't buy the next house before selling your current one, then most of your focus needs to be on the sale. Don't get overwhelmed about the move and a new house. Spend time preparing your house for sale - decluttering, making repairs, and consulting with your listing real estate agent.
TIP #3 - FIND A NEW REALTOR
Start reaching out to real estate agents in your new city well in advance of your move. Some of you might have relocation companies providing a Realtor, and you do have a say in who represents you. All agents are not created equal, so do your due diligence. If you have a Realtor you love in your current city, ask if they have a referral partner in your new city. You can also check with future co-workers if they have recommendations. Heck, feel free to contact me regardless of the city you're moving to and I'll do my best to find you someone.
TIP #4 - VISITING WITH A PURPOSE
If you have enough time to take multiple trips to your new hometown, take advantage of it! Your first trip should be an introduction trip, not necessarily a house hunting trip. Tour neighborhoods, talk with builders, get a feel for areas you're considering moving to.
TIP #5 - MAKING OFFERS
When you start putting in offers, your current house should already be under contract. Remember what I said earlier about the contingency if your offer is conditional upon the sale of your own home first. Most builders are okay with this, so keep new construction in mind as you house hunt. If your current home is through the inspection period and/or the appraisal, that makes your contingency less risky so be sure your agent communicates this to the listing agent.
TIP #6 - NAVIGATING THE MOVE
Try and negotiate a longer escrow period of 45-60 days to give yourself more time. This gives you a chance to come down to your new city, find a house and get it under contract with enough time to process your mortgage loan. Consult with a moving company to get an estimate on how long it will take to get your belongings from A to B. Same day closings are doable, but there are potential snags that could hold up transactions.
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Melanie is a Tampa Bay area Realtor with Smith & Associates. She loves Tampa Bay area area, houses, and helping clients buy and sell real estate. She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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