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How to Buy a House While Selling Your Current One

Bill Gassett's picture
Buying and Selling a House at The Same Time Frame

What to Know About Buying and Selling a Home Simultaneously

When it comes to buying a home, timing is everything. If you are buying a house while selling the one that you are living in, that timing can be even trickier.

Selling and buying a house at the same time can be challenging to say the least.

There’s no one formula of how to orchestrate it all so that you can move out and move in seamlessly. A lot depends on the market where you are buying and selling, your finances, and other unforeseeable events that might come up.

There are a few strategies to keep in mind that can make the process easier and help you get prepared for the smoothest transition possible.

Do Your Research

Buying a house requires research and if you do your homework ahead of time you’ll have a better sense of what you want and how to find it. That includes knowing your budget and researching how much you might get for your current home so you know how much equity you have to afford your next one.

It could be that you need to come up with a down payment for your new home while still selling your current home. If you don’t understand your financial puzzle this can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be, especially if you work with a professional real estate agent who knows the market inside and out.

Doing your research also means knowing must-have characteristics for your new home — like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, outdoor space, a home office, and any other features that you can’t live without.

You'll also want to research the property's history as well. Doing your due diligence is always crucial when buying a home.

Hire an Expert

When you are buying or selling a home, a necessary step is to hire a real estate agent to help you understand the market and guide you through the buying and selling process.

If you are buying and selling at the same time and in the same city or metropolitan area, then one strategy is to work with an expert who can assist you with both buying a new house and selling your current one.

Since you want someone who knows the area and can advise you about market conditions and strategies to stay competitive, having someone in your targeted area is key.

When interviewing potential agents, you can ask them about their buying and selling history and their usual timeline working with both buyers and sellers.

If you don’t already have an agent in mind, asking friends or neighbors for referrals can expedite the process and help you get someone on board quickly to help you come up with a strategy and timeline for buying and selling.

Get Your House Ready to Sell at Any Moment

One of the most stressful parts of buying and selling a home at the same time can be the unexpected timing of it all. To make your life easier, as soon as you know you want to sell — even if you aren’t sure when it’s going to happen — you can get prepared, so you’ll be ready when the time comes.

While it might not be the most glamorous task, a must for moving is de-cluttering your house and then getting ready for staging.

De-cluttering is best if tackled room by room and perhaps even following the Marie Kondo method of only keeping items that “spark joy.” You can work with single categories of items at a time, (such as coffee mugs) and then keep the ones that you really want for your new home and donate the rest. This goes for everything in your home, but remember to start small so you don’t get overwhelmed.

After your home is de-cluttered, you can also get it ready for staging, even while you are still living in it. Staging is creating an elevated version of your home where the decor is neutral yet tasteful so that it can appeal to a wide range of buyers.

While you can hire an expert to stage your house there’s also a lot that you can do with some simple DIY staging tips. For example, removing heavy drapes, focusing the decor in your living room on one central statement piece, and adding decorative accents.

You can opt for some of the design trends that agents are talking about in 2021, like lampshades, pillows, and rugs in contemporary materials like linen, jute, and bamboo, which add a light and modern feeling to living areas.

If you have an abundance of personal possessions that are overflowing in your home, you might also want to consider renting a portable storage unit. PODS is always a good choice if they are in your area.

Consider a Cash Buyer

If you are ready to sell and you want to sell your home fast, you might want to consider a cash buyer. With a cash buyer, you can often skip many of the steps of the typical home selling process. In some cases, you might have to negotiate repairs, or a home inspection, while in others your cash buyer might be ready to buy your home as-is.

However, a cash buyer may not be buying your home, to live in it — some cash buyers are flippers or iBuyers (tech-enabled real estate companies) who want to upgrade and then sell a home to make a profit, and that means you might be selling your home for less than with a traditional home sale.

The benefit, however, is avoiding any potential appraisal issues which could lead to not getting a mortgage.

Allow For a Gap Period

You may find that selling your house first is the most feasible option, and if that is the case, then you’ll likely need a gap period, even if just for a few weeks, while you work with your agent on landing that dream home.

A gap period doesn’t have to mean moving into a temporary rental home while you are looking for your new one. It’s possible to work with your real estate professional to enter into a “back rent” agreement with the buyer of your current home.

It could be that if you sell to an investor they might even offer you a free back rent period. Even if you do end up paying rent, the hassle will no doubt be less than moving twice.

Buying and selling a house at the same time is a common situation when upgrading from one home to another one. With some pre-planning, you can make the transition as easy as possible.

About the author: The above article on how to buy a home while selling your current house was written by the Homelight team. HomeLight provides helpful advice to buyers and sellers to make smart real estate decisions.

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