On my drive to show property to buyer clients in my western suburbs of Northern VA today, I listened to WTOP news radio to get caught up on recent events. As a busy Western Prince William County Real Estate Agent, I can tell you that crawling out from underneath the mound of work can be tough. This afternoon's rode trip was just the ticket to sit back and listen in.
When the anchor teased a story about buying and selling homes at the same time, my interest was peaked. Then came the story. Ugh. Let's just say, if you are buying and selling in the western suburbs, the advice is completely unrealistic. They quoted an agent from my own very large brokerage. I had never heard of him before, so that meant he probably knew nothing of my local market in Western Prince William County, and other points west. His advice was to get a sixty day settlement date when negotiating to sell and a sixty day rent back. During that time frame, I suppose, you are to find your home. It was inferred, maybe edited out for time. This agent made it sound super easy to get all your way, stay in your home for four months and then move on. It doesn't work that well in the western 'burbs.
For starters, any one-sided negotiation that dictates a seller won't be out of their home for four months from the time you come to an agreement and ratify a contract is pie in the sky. Buyers looking for homes in Bristow, Gainesville and points west generally expect to be settled in their next home in two months. SHORT rent backs are more normal, but not rent backs of two months.
Sellers, who are also buyers, should get their exisiting homes under contract first, THEN go find their home. Home sale contingencies are not well accepted in the marketplace right now. The reason is that there are plenty of buyers that don't have a home they have to sell to buy. So get yours under contract first if you can.
If you can't find a home you love, or can't get a rent back from your buyer, the name of the game is flexibility. Short term housing becomes key. Anything shorter than six months in the Gainesville area and you'll need to look at extended stays coupled with storage. But having sold your existing home gives you the leverage you need to make acceptable offers to sellers.
Just because you can hear WTOP's broadcast, doesn't mean the advice they are giving about real estate is meaningful to you. All real estate is local. And yes, Bristow and Gainesville are vastly different markets than points inside the beltway like Arlington or even across the river to Maryland. In this case, the agent they were quoting sells NO Virginia real estate...or at least none that I could see in the last twelve months. His advice would be from his own experiences in D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland.
Want advice on buying and selling at the same time in Bristow and Gainesville? Give me a call. This is my marketplace and I know it well.