Let’s face it, selling and buying a house at the same time can be very overwhelming and usually involves some element of risk. However, it is pretty common for people to have to buy and sell at the same time. Per the National Association of Realtors, 71% of repeat home buyers still owned their previous residences, which means it’s highly likely that most of them were both buyers and sellers.
If you are lucky enough to time it right, you may hit that perfect “sweet spot” where you sell your house, make a profit that can be used for a down payment, and then find your next dream home, in that order. But chances are, things might not go as planned and hoped for.
Let’s look at some common challenges you might face, different avenues that might work better for you, and tips for getting through the process with your mental health intact.
Financial Issues – Chances are you might not have the amount of cash on hand that it takes to make a down payment on a house unless you sell your current home first. If you have found your new dream home and don’t want to risk losing it while waiting to sell, you have some options. You could do a cash out refinance on your current home, take out a home equity line of credit, or maybe sell some investments. But keep in mind that these options have costs and might not work for everyone.
Logistics – With all the details and decisions that have to be made when both buying and selling a home, the logistics of doing both at the same time can be complicated. You have to think about the timing of the purchase and sale and negotiating with both the sellers of your new home and the buyers of your current home; all while trying to organize and pack for your move. An experienced Realtor is vital to help you navigate this process.
- Risk of Losing New Home to Non-Contingent Buyer – Buying and selling at the same time comes with risks, one of which is moving forward with a purchase before you have sold your current home. To minimize this risk, many homeowners choose to make their offer on a house contingent upon the sale of their current home. But this brings about another risk, because there is a possibility that your offer may get turned down in favor of a buyer who has made a non-contingent offer. At that point you may have to decide whether or not you can remove the contingency, which may not be financially possible.
Now let’s look at some tips to help you navigate the buying-while-selling process:
- Determine Financial Feasibility – It’s time to take a good hard look at your monthly disposable income and to ask yourself these questions:
- Can you afford paying both mortgages?
- How long will you be able to afford doing so?
- Do you have enough available cash for a down payment?
- Will you have enough available for down payment after paying both mortgages for a “worst-case scenario” period of time?
If you are living paycheck to paycheck, buying and selling at the same time is not a good option for you, but if you have a steady, dependable income and low monthly debts, you may be able to get through the process relatively unscathed. Talking to a trusted lender is a good idea at this stage because they can help you determine what you can afford to do.
Consider a Bridge Loan – If you do not have enough for a down payment, you may want to consider a bridge loan. A bridge loan is a short-term loan that uses the equity from your current home to get the necessary down payment to complete your purchase. But you must keep in mind that this is only an option if you are ok with taking on two mortgage payments for up to six months to a year; the typical term for a bridge loan.
Make Satisfying Offers to Both Seller and Buyer – If the thought of two mortgage payments is too much, as mentioned before, you can make an offer contingent upon selling your current home. With that contingency, your contract states that you won’t lose your earnest money if your house doesn’t sell. This eliminates your financial risk, but weakens your offer. If another buyer makes a cash offer with no contingencies, sellers will go after the cash offer every time. Today’s market of low inventory and high demand means that a contingent offer is not as likely to be accepted. One way you can have a better shot at getting your new house is to offer significant non-refundable earnest money, in hopes that the seller will be willing to wait longer for your current house to sell.
- Look For a Cash Buyer – If you’ve already decided to buy your next home and sell your current home later, you definitely will want it to sell as quickly as possible. So, as a seller, a cash sale with no contingencies is the way to go if you can. You may want to seek out an instant homebuyer or a local real estate investment company to initiate a cash sale; typically a much faster process than a traditional listing process. The downside is that the offers you may receive might be significantly less than what you might get on the open market. If your Realtor can help you find a cash buyer on the open market, all the better!
While the idea of buying and selling at the same time is definitely a little scary, the experienced, professional Realtors on Sandra Nickel's team can help you through the process.
If you are in the market to buy or sell a home (or both), let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs! Call them today at 334-834-1500 and check out https://www.homesforsaleinmontgomeryalabama.com for more information!
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