Selling One Home and Buying Another

One of the most difficult aspects to any transaction (and one that is rarely ever covered enough before listing a property) is how to get from home A to home B. Most sellers cannot afford to move into their new home before the old one is sold, and rarely can you find a property to buy where the seller is willing to accept a contingent offer and “wait” for your home to sell. He’d just as soon leave his own home on the market and take the chance on his selling first.

Many brand new homes have a 3 to 6 month waiting period and may accept “contingent” offers, but the builder will expect you to spring for your upgrades in advance. That way if you don’t end up purchasing the property the builder isn’t out any money, but you, of course, have lost big.

Our advice to most sellers is, put your property on the market and get it sold before you even look at purchasing another home. Not that you can’t window shop, but why make a major commitment you’re not certain to be able to perform on? Why make a stressful time even more stressful? Most seasoned sellers will tell you it is much easier to move into an apartment for a short time (if necessary) than it is to make two house payments.

If you are planning on purchasing a resale property usually it is fairly easy to negotiate a longer escrow period with your buyer in order to give you some time to purchase another home. Then you can do a concurrent (same day) closing on both homes and move directly from one to the other. Sometimes it is even possible to close on your current home and lease it back from your buyer for 30 days after the closing. That gives you your funds in your pocket in plenty of time for the closing on your new home.

If you are planning on purchasing a new home, plan on moving twice. Not only is it almost impossible to find a buyer willing to wait the length of time required to build a new home, but it is impossible to plan on that home being definitely completed on a certain date. There are certain to be delays from any number of reasons, including material shortages, labor strikes and broken or damaged cabinets and windows which have to be re-ordered.

If you do need to move twice you can usually find temporary apartment rentals that will allow month to month leases. You may pay a bit more monthly, but it is still cheaper than a long term lease. Most cities offer apartment finding services for temporary rentals. It may be wise to find a furnished place and put your belongings in storage rather than moving heavy furniture around.

Article by Diann E. Tonnesen, RealtorĀ®

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