Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours cover picture has 5 homes in the background behind the title in black letters.

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  Navigating the Dream Home Dilemma: Should You Buy Before Selling Your House?

Introduction You’re browsing online listings or driving through a nice neighborhood when suddenly – there it is. The perfect house, an ideal fit, and fairly priced too. You’re instantly smitten and can envision moving right in. But there’s one catch – you still own and live in another home that isn’t even on the market yet. This dream home dilemma is quite common, leaving many homeowners wondering: should I buy a house before selling my current one?

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  The Big Decision

This decision requires careful evaluation of pros, cons, costs, risks, and steps to make it feasible. While most real estate agents advise listing your present home first, buying another ahead of time is possible in some situations. This article will explore critical statistics, benefits and drawbacks, seller preferences, and tips for navigating this process. Let’s weigh if taking the plunge to buy before selling is right for you.

Crunching the Numbers: Vital Stats and Facts on Buying Before Selling While exact numbers vary in different housing markets, recent surveys reveal the following national statistics:

  • Approximately 40% of home buyers purchase a new property before selling their existing home, especially in highly competitive markets.
  • Of that 40% carrying two mortgage loans, around 75% proactively crafted financial plans to handle the dual costs.
  • On average, homes sell in about 60 days in many areas. This two-month stretch presents a prime window to purchase.
  • Well-staged and presented homes often yield more offers at higher prices, allowing faster sales.
  • Pre-approval for financing smooths the buying process, enabling quicker closure to sell sooner.

The stats indicate that buying before listing your current house is quite common for a good portion of home buyers. The key is having resources and strategies for tackling dual ownership strategically. But what exactly motivates people to take this more complicated route?

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  Win win

Examining the Allure: Why Attempt to Buy Before Selling? Despite most real estate professionals recommending you sell your present property first, buying a new house ahead of time does come with several potential perks:

More Selection and Negotiation Power The more listings you can consider, the greater the odds of finding your dream home. Owners also prefer buyers without contingencies that could derail or delay sales. This increased selection and negotiation power enhances your chances of landing that perfect place.

Potential Savings by Timing the Market If you time it right by buying another home while prices are still rising, then sell your former one later once values peak – you may maximize sale proceeds. Essentially, you speculate on the market to optimize profits.

Ability to Transition Smoothly Between Homes Provided you can carry both dwellings temporarily, buying another residence first lets you move belongings leisurely while the old one sells. No pressure to synchronize closings or move between temporary lodgings.

Flexibility if Current House Doesn’t Sell Quickly Even with the best staging, overpricing can hinder sales. If your present abode just won’t budge from the market, having a new dwelling as backup offers more flexibility.

Sure, these reasons may resonate with you initially. But before getting too gung-ho about buying ahead of listing your current home, let’s examine the considerable downsides.

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  The Allure of Improvements and Upgrades

Another significant benefit to buying another home before selling your current property is the ability to go ahead and make the improvements you desire so it is a place you will want to call home. Some upgrades that are much easier to complete with a vacant dwelling are refinishing hardwood floors and painting walls a fresh color scheme. Remodeling projects like kitchen and bathroom renovations also become more manageable without having to live amongst the work.

Many homeowners would relish having these types of repairs, upgrades, and touches already finished before the moving truck ever arrives. In short, buying first allows you to customize the new abode to your tastes straight away. However, while the draw of enhancements is enticing, this route still carries considerable risks requiring thoughtful evaluation.

Examining the Risks of Buying Before Selling As motivated as you may feel to buy another house ahead of listing your current one, the downsides cannot be ignored. Let’s explore the critical perils that give most home buyers and real estate agents pause when considering this path.

What is Your Financial Picture? Buying a replacement home while still owning your existing one can introduce sizable financial risks. Before setting out, scrutinize your household budget and reserves closely to gauge affordability and prepare for contingencies should they arise.

  • Can you manage both mortgage payments plus taxes, insurance, utilities, and upkeep for months if needed?
  • How would rising interest rates impact your situation?
  • Would credit lines or loans be required as a stopgap? How much could you borrow?

You must confirm the capability to cover all housing costs for an indefinite duration. Otherwise, you may end up overleveraged.

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  Crunching the Numbers

Crunching the Numbers Run the numbers to forecast a realistic timeline for your current home to sell while carrying dual dwellings. Factor in property preparation, listing activity, market conditions, pricing strategy, and negotiations. Understand that selling any asset brings unpredictability.

Market Fluctuations Housing values that seemed enticing when you desired to list may shift dramatically within weeks. Unexpectedly low offers or lack of showings could leave you covering two homes longer than anticipated. Prepare for swings that reduce net proceeds.

Stress and Hassle Attempting to buy another house before selling yours may inject substantial stress. The logistics alone of preparing your current home for listing, attending showings, and coordinating closings can overwhelm. What if there are repairs requested or delays? It quickly becomes a major time sink.

Bouncing Back from Contingencies Falling Through Even the most meticulously crafted real estate deals can crumble at the last minute. Prepare for the angst if your current home’s buyer happens to back out days before closing. This worst-case scenario may send you scrambling to relist immediately. Having contingency plans aids peace of mind.

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  Navigating Occupancy

Alternative Housing If carrying both dwellings becomes untenable, secure temporary accommodations as a safety net. Staying with family or booking long-term rentals ensures you have somewhere to go should preparations or closings hit snags. With a backup dwelling lined up, bumps worry you less throughout the process.

Professional Guidance While buying ahead of selling solo is inadvisable, experienced real estate professionals may guide certain clients through this terrain through careful coordination. If you have the risk tolerance and resources to attempt this, assemble a trusted team for best results. Allow experts to quarterback required negotiations, transactions and timelines.

In summary, while buying ahead of selling offers advantages like home upgrades, exercise extreme caution. Thoroughly assess budgets, credit, timelines and market risks first. For most owners, selling the existing residence before purchasing another is the far safer route. Seek counsel to make an informed choice that protects your interests in this complex endeavor.


Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  The Realities of Contingencies and Seller Preferences

When purchasing a home before selling your current one, expecting the new home seller to accept contingencies is often unrealistic. Let’s explore typical contingency clauses and why most sellers avoid them.

What Sellers Want Fundamentally, sellers aim to maximize sale prices and ensure certainty around closing dates. Contingencies introduce unknowns that most wish to avoid, especially in competitive markets. Sellers prefer buyers who:

  • Are pre-approved and qualified to purchase regardless of selling an existing home
  • Can close on predetermined dates without delays from other transactions
  • Remove contingencies via inspections so contracts become “ironclad”

Essentially, sellers seek confidence in a smooth process and locked-in timelines to proceed with their plans post-sale.

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  Common Contingencies: Definitions and Drawbacks

When buyers cannot purchase before selling their current home, they often request contract contingencies. But what exactly do these entail, and why do they deter sellers?

Sale Contingency Clauses A sale contingency stipulates you will finalize buying the seller’s home if and when yours sells first. This ties their transaction flow to yours without control. If your home doesn’t sell quickly at an optimal price, they may lose other buyers due to this open-ended delay.

Right of First Refusal This clause gives you a chance to match another purchase offer the seller receives within a defined timeframe, typically 24-48 hours after notification. Again, the seller loses the upper hand by allowing you to trump another buyer’s solid offer later.

Inspection Objection Contingencies After property inspections, buyers can request repairs or price reductions for discovered defects, no matter how minor. Sellers loathe these renegotiations.

Documentation and Pre-Approvals To even entertain contingent offers, most sellers require lender pre-approval letters explicitly stating buyers qualify for and can finalize purchases separate from selling existing homes. This financial validation offers some security amid the unknowns.

Why Contingencies Are Deal-Breakers for Many In summary, contingencies hand over control of timing and outcomes to the buyer. With other ready-made offers likely in hand, few motivated sellers will accommodate these clauses unless buyer financing and preparation instill confidence upfront. The risks outweigh potential reward.

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  Considerations for Renting Your Current Home

Another potential option when buying a house before selling your existing one is to rent out your current property in the interim. This additional income can aid with covering dual mortgages temporarily. However, renting out a home you intend to sell comes with pros, cons, and key considerations.

The Allure of Rental Income Turning your present residence into a rental while awaiting sale offers multiple advantages, including:

  • Offset carrying costs with rental profits to ease budget strains
  • Potentially increase home value by establishing rental cash flow history
  • Flexibility to sell immediately or retain as an investment long-term

Clearly, supplemental rental income can provide financial breathing room when tackling dual ownership. But renting out a property poised for sale also presents notable downsides.

Drawbacks of Pre-Sale Rentals Renting prior to selling boasts benefits, but has risks too:

  • Property wear and tear from tenants diminishes appeal
  • Renters may resist showings and vacating for buyers
  • Hotel stays during showings prove inconvenient if occupied
  • Lenders only count a portion of rent to qualify borrowers

As these cons reveal, renting before selling can quickly become problematic. Proper planning is imperative.

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  Key Steps for Preparing Rentals Prior to Sale

If you decide to rent out your current home while awaiting closing, strategic preparation is key:

Vet Prospective Tenants Thoroughly Screen applicants vigorously by checking references, credit, backgrounds, and prior rental history to mitigate risks. The higher the quality of renter, the lower the headaches.

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  Institute Strict Lease Terms

Detail exact lease durations, restrictions, tenant responsibilities, and repercussions for non-compliance within agreements to protect your interests as the property owner.

Adjust Insurance Accordingly Notify your insurance provider regarding changed dwelling usage and inhabitant status to guarantee adequate, uninterrupted coverage during transitions. Failing to update policies could cause coverage gaps.

In summary, renting out your present residence while preparing to sell and transition to another purchased home can ease financial burdens. Yet this tactic warrants thoughtful execution to avoid pitfalls. Weigh options carefully.

Buying a Home Before You Sell Yours:  Deciding Whether to Buy Before You Sell

As we’ve explored, purchasing another home before listing your current house for sale is a complex decision requiring thorough evaluation from multiple angles. While the allure of finding your dream home could tempt you to jump in quicker, carefully weighing the pros, cons, costs, and risks is essential beforehand.

This endeavor hinges largely on your financial picture and preparation. Crunching numbers for carrying dual mortgages, securing favorable financing, timing markets strategically, and budgeting for contingencies distinguish those able to buy first successfully.

Meanwhile, understanding seller preferences is equally vital — few accept contingent offers anymore. Those who do demand substantial proof of buyer readiness and the wherewithal to finalize sales smoothly.

If opting to buy ahead, utilize bridges like rental income judiciously. But also brace for the stresses of this route — the logistics alone can overwhelm. Recognize that most homeowners still sell first for simplicity.

Ultimately, buying before selling centers on risk tolerance. While possible for some, for most, selling their existing home before purchasing another residence is the safest option. Thoroughly assess your situation. Consult real estate and legal professionals for guidance as you navigate next steps.

With prudent planning and execution, you can chart the optimal path to upgrade homes based on your timeframe, budget and life circumstances. Gain clarity before acting further.

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About the Author
Rob Johnson
Realtor, St. Petersburg FL