There may be no greater example of multi-tasking than when you’re buying and selling a home simultaneously. It can feel like you went from 0 to 100 in no time flat! Whether you’re chomping at the bit to get settled into your new home or ecstatic about the price you secured for your current home, we know you have plenty of activity to go around.
So take a little time to get organized. Buying and selling a home simultaneously may seem overwhelming, but many people successfully navigate this balancing act not once, but a few times over the course of their adult lives!
1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
You’ve found the home of your dreams and you’re ready to kiss your old digs goodbye. There’s only one problem: your current home needs some work. The last thing you want to do is find yourself under contract to buy a home when your current home is not ready to hit the market.
So start early. Take stock of all the maintenance and repairs that need to be addressed, and get rolling on these ASAP. Remember, too, that markets cool. You may not secure the same price in December as you did in June, which makes timing all the more important when you’re buying and selling a home simultaneously.
2. Find Someone Licensed in Your Area
You may have loved the realtor and lender who helped you buy your current house. Unless you’re looking to move down the street, however, you’ll want to find licensed professionals who work in your desired area. This is especially important if you’re relocating to another state.
On the other hand, if you’re staying in the same area, it can be advantageous to use one realtor and lender when you’re buying and selling a home simultaneously. Professionals who are privy to the timing of both transactions can ensure a smooth transition as you move from one home to another.
3. Have a Backup Plan
Deals fall through. It’s just a fact of life. This can be twice as painful if you’re buying and selling a home simultaneously. Even though it’s not fun, this is the time to think and prepare for worst-case scenarios. Create an emergency fund, call movers and storage units to determine a Plan B for your belongings if you need them to be held temporarily, and make a list of hotels and short-term rentals before you may need to use them.
It always helps to have cash on hand as well. This can assist in smoothing out any last-minute snafus with movers or short-term rental agencies.
4. Temper Expectations
Some people use the funds from their home sale for the down payment on their new home when they’re buying and selling a home simultaneously. This can be done, but you should always keep your home-selling expectations realistic, especially if you’ve already earmarked that money for a new home.
We all know what our homes should be worth, but “should” and “are” are two different things. Your realtor can help you keep expectations in line so you don’t wind up with a down payment that is $30,000 less than you imagined. At the same time, you want to also be prepared in case the market softens and prices drop a bit. It’s best to operate off the assumption your home will sell for less than you expect, that way you have a little cushion if pricing is better than you imagined.
5. Compromise Whenever Possible
It’s easy to feel that we have all the power when we’re on the buying side of the equation. If you're buying and selling a home simultaneously, however, you’re seeing the sale from both sides of the fence.
So try to keep a good perspective. Us buyers can often feel entitled to an extra week of escrow, a few small repairs or some money off if we ask for it. After all, we’re the buyers! But keep in mind that your home also has buyers who may need a little time or a few concessions. Patience goes a long way, especially if you're buying and selling a home simultaneously!
6. Consider Contingencies
A backup plan is one thing; a contingency plan is another. The difference between the two lies in perspective. While a backup plan can handle worst-case scenarios and everything in between, a contingency plan deals with “if this, then that.”
For example, a rent-back contingency can allow you to rent your sold home back from the buyer for 30 to 60 days after closing. A rent-back contingency is typically used when you want to accept an offer on your house but you don’t have your next house lined up. Of course, even with this contingency you want to be mindful that you’re working on a deadline, but these types of agreements can provide some wiggle room if you're buying and selling a home simultaneously.
You can also make a contingency offer. This occurs when you put in an offer on a new home, but closing is contingent on securing a buyer for your current home. A home sale contingency can be great if you're buying and selling a home simultaneously, but it may also cause the seller to consider other offers. Your realtor can provide more guidance on whether this is the right move for you.
7. Review Financing Options
There are a variety of options out there if you're buying and selling a home simultaneously. If you don’t need the funds from your home sale to purchase your new home, then you can move forward with fewer strings attached. That’s not the case for a lot of us, however.
Fortunately, there are options and programs that can help. You can purchase the new home with a HELOC, or home equity line of credit, which lets you borrow against the equity in your current home. Bridge loans are another short-term option that can cover your down payment until your home sale closes. Some people choose to rent out their old homes if they’re not ready to sell, which can offset the mortgage while buying you some time.
Working with more than one home on more than one transaction can make it feel like you’re juggling above your talent level. It doesn’t have to, though. If you align yourself with the right professionals, take some time to prepare and think through the various scenarios and come into these negotiations with an open-mind, you’ve set the stage for a successful home buying and selling process.
We’re happy to help when you’re ready to start. Give us a call today to get the ball rolling.