Buying a house while selling your house at the same time takes some planning and skill. Below are five options:
1. Move Only Once
Insert a sales contingency clause into both the sales contract of your existing home and the offer to purchase of your new property. A sales contract contingency clause helps keep all underlying selling and buying risk to the absolute minimum.
How would this contingency work? The potential buyer of your existing property would have to be willing to accept a purchase contract with you, the seller, that you will not complete the sale until you have found, secured and closed on your replacement property. Likewise, the seller of your new property would have to be willing to accept a purchase contract with the contingency that you will not complete this sale, until you have completed and finalized the sale of your existing property.
For this approach to work best, you should possess enough leverage in the marketplace as a seller to appeal to prospective buyers, despite the contingency. Typically, this requires a "seller's market." That means the real estate environment is one where the demand for property outstrips available homes. An enticing list price, desirable location and/or attractive property features contribute to your ability to attract potential buyers and sell your home contingent upon finding a new one. Additionally, as a contingent buyer, positioning yourself attractively for a seller to consider and accept your contingent contract helps considerably.
Of course, what can help you as a seller may hinder you as a buyer. A seller's market will make it more difficult for you to buy a new home contingent upon you being able to sell your existing one. That's because the seller of the property you wish to buy can reasonably expect to get multiple offers and may prefer to entertain an offer that doesn't involve such a contingency. While such a situation can make the whole process more difficult it does NOT make it impossible, regardless of market conditions, with a well thought-out plan.
Note: while any single contract between a buyer and seller contains variable levels of natural inherent risk; when dealing with two contracts, one between you and the buyer of your existing home and the other between you and the seller of your new home, "risk" naturally doubles.
- You only need to move once, greatly reducing inconveniences.
- More underlying stress.
- More underlying risk.
- Potential loss of selling and buying leverages. However, if reducing your moving inconveniences is your highest priority, then this is no longer a drawback.
2. Maximize Selling and Buying Leverage
In this second scenario, you agree to sell and buy your property with no contingencies allowing you to maximize the sale of your existing property, and gain purchasing leverage with your new property. Depending on timing and execution, as well as many other variables, this approach can still avoid two moves. Regardless, you should secure temporary housing, as an alternative plan, as there is no contract contingency to stop or slow everything else down.
- Stress is reduced.
- Risk is reduced.
- Selling and buying leverages are maximized.
- You potentially find your replacement property on your terms and natural pace.
- You almost always end up moving twice.
- You and your family weather the inconveniences of living in temporary situations and living out of moving boxes.
In this case, you and the buyer of your existing home agree to a rent back. That means once you close on your home sale, and receive your sales proceeds, your buyer becomes your landlord and you are able to rent back your property for a predetermined length of time.
- You reduce stress.
- You reduce risk.
- It is highly likely you only move once.
- You reduce your buyer pool because the number of available buyers, willing or are able to take this approach, is only a subset of all available buyers.
- You may have to reduce your list price to a figure slightly below actual market value to entice the right buyer.
- If there's buyer financing involved, rent back limitations may be imposed on the buyer's loan, therefore reducing the number of potential rent-back days.
Done correctly, this approach can be very effective and might be a good compromise to other options. While it does involve compromising, it can also reduce your risk, inconvenience and stress.
4. Secure a Bridge Loan
A bridge loan can help to "bridge the gap" between the time when you buy your new property and the sale of your existing house. Basically, a short-term loan enabling you to avoid two moves.
Initially, a bridge loan may seem an expensive route, but it could actually be worth the additional expense if you take into account the potential reduction in sales price that could come into play with other options, as well as the value of reduced risk, stress and inconvenience.
- You only move once.
- You avoid all the inconvenience that comes with two moves.
- You can evaluate a deal without needing to rush or worry about an overly restrictive timeline.
- You will need to pay loan cost and interest on the bridge loan.
5. Buy First, Sell Later
If this is your situation, congratulations! You can focus on the other details of the offer, such as financing, market value and your net. This is the best-case scenario and carries only minimal risk.
Choosing the Best Option for You
Every buy and sell situation is different. Each option should be evaluated against your own resources, motivations and objectives.
If you're using a different real estate brokerage company, be certain your broker/agent has experience with each option; as guiding a client through this process requires a considerable amount of additional experience to reduce risk, minimize delays, frustration and stress.
Relocating from another area?
If you are moving into the greater Denver and Boulder area from another state, or even from another part of Colorado, all the details can be coordinated between two different real estate brokers/agents to make your dreams a reality.
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