You’ve done your home selling research. You’ve got a fairly good idea about what your home is worth. You’ve even found a neighborhood you’d love to live in, and the numbers work. But, how do you get from here to there? Your Realtor has told you that not all sellers are willing to take a sales contingency – and by the way, your Realtor is right! So where does that leave you? Homeless? Quickly buying a home that you might not be happy with? Renting between your sale and purchase and having to move twice? Or finding the perfect home and closing within your allotted escrow period, needing only one move.
Here are some tips to help put this puzzle together, as you begin down the Sell/Buy road. Our assumption is that you can’t buy the next home until you sell the current one. And remember the goal should be finding the home you want.
Tip #1: Determine your worst case sell/buy scenario and decide if you can live with that. That worst case scenario may be that you close escrow on your home but you haven’t found the right home to buy so you will need to live in rental/apartment/family for a few months, or longer. That’s a double move, but believe it or not it has strong advantages. If you can swallow the worst case, then list your home and get ready for the ride.
Tip #2: When you’re negotiating your current home sale, try for a longer close. If the buyer wants 30-45 days to close, ask for 60. This can provide you a solid month or thereabouts to find the right home. And get yourself pre-approved with a good lender. This will go a long way in your new home negotiations.
Real World: The chances are way stacked against you that you will find a willing seller who will allow a contingency sale without you having your home in escrow. Even then, they will want to know how well seasoned the escrow is, like have the buyer and seller already negotiated inspection repair requests? Has the home been appraised? Other contingencies? (By the way, the caveat to the willing home seller is family, friends, or some new home builders)
Tip #3: Once your current home is in escrow, and you’re through the inspection process, now you can make an offer contingent on the close of escrow of your home. Most sellers will consider this type of contingency. Your Realtor and lender must be ready to make a strong documented case of your ability to close the next home. In other words, they need to “sell” the seller and seller’s agent.
Tip #4: Be willing to rent or move in with family. Renting, although a pain to have to move twice can put you in a strong negotiation position of not having a contingency. If you can find a month to month or short term lease, or a family member to temporarily live with after you close your current home, this will greatly enhance your chances of getting the right house at the right price. If possible avoid a long term lease.
Real World Example: We just closed on this very situation. A family of four had outgrown their home and were looking for a new one in 85254. When we sat down to go over their options, they mentioned that they were prepared to live with relatives nearby if need be. Well we quickly got their home under contract and through the inspection period. Then, an unbelievable home came on the market for a smoking price and they jumped for it. Because they were ready and gave a strong offer to the seller, the deal went together. They did need to move twice, but because the new home needed carpet and paint they had the luxury of being able to wait a few weeks to move in while it is being done. They couldn’t be happier.
And at the end of the day, getting the right home is the final piece of the puzzle.