Sell First, Buy First or Park on Your Driveway and Wait? A Move-Up Buyer's Dilemma

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Charlemagne International Properties BRE# 01147470

The move-up buyers are dipping their toes in the spring market waters.  The familiar question of which action to take first is often the first major decision the dual client (one who is both a buyer and a seller) must make  There are pros and cons to both actions, both dependent upon the successful execution of the other.

Writing an offer contingent upon the sale of your home is a self-limiting approach.  Your offer will fall to the bottom of the multiple offer stack.  Short sale and foreclosure properties will reject your offer based on the contingency.  It also negates your negotiating power.  Asking a seller to tie up his property on a "maybe sale"  means he is less likely to give you a favorable price. Therefore, my advice is to sell first and buy later.

 On the other hand, placing your home on the market contingent upon finding a suitable replacement property is not without risk and inconvenience.  You will need to find a buyer that is willing to wait while you identify and secure your upleg purchase.  Each property will need to appraise at a price that will allow you to complete both transactions. Inspections must be negotiated and loans obtained.

 Often there are other transactions hinging on the successful completion of the move-up buyer's transactions.  The upleg owners must move to a new home and the buyers of the move-up client's home may have a property to sell.  It is a symbiotic sale process and it is not for the faint of heart.

The successful completion requires patience, persistence and the guidance of knowledgeable professionals.


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zeta cross
Smart Green Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Getting Greener Makes Your home worth more!

The old wisdom is that you make money on the buy side. That is what I try to tell my move-up buyers. For a very few more weeks now, Move Up buyers have a chance to get DEALS. Interest rates are so low! Why aren't they shopping??? It is confounding. You can make an offer on a bigger, better house, get a discount and lock it up with one of the lowest interest rates in history! It is very scary to sell your house if you do not have a place to go. But right now, it is dumb not to--even if you have to price your current house to sell...even if you have to write a small check back to the bank to get it sold. There is a lot of inventory out there. Buyers should be able to find something they love. But very soon, that same house will cost more and it will be harder to sell their present house. My buyers are scared and reluctant and they are missing the boat. I keep saying that it is about to set said and no one seems to get it.

Feb 27, 2010 03:05 AM #1
Bob Willis
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Orange, CA
Orange County & L.A. County Real Estate Agent

There are too many disadvantages to selling a home on contingency that the seller find a replacement property.  It is much better for sellers and buyers for the seller to find a place to rent for a few months and move into the rental.  Another alternative would be for the seller to buy their next home and move into it before selling their current home.  Of course, they will need to have the funds to make that purchase.

Feb 27, 2010 03:37 AM #2
Kim Sellers
Lake Arrowhead, CA Coldwell Banker - Lake Arrowhead, CA
Lake Arrowhead Realtor - BRE#01412099 - Lake Arrow

Love it Norma, a great article to really spell out that waiting isn't always the best thing to do.

Feb 27, 2010 06:33 AM #3
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