The market is full of people who know they can sell their old house in a heartbeat, but are worried that they won’t be able to find a house to buy…..so they do nothing.
Here are a few options for you:
IF you absolutely have to make an offer contingent on selling your old house, have the old one ready to list as soon as you make an offer. The listing agent for the house you want to buy will want to see it on the market ASAP. Many people focus on finding the right house and have done no prep work on their old house. They often end up losing their new house. Any decent agent will counter your offer with what is called a “Kick-out Clause.” That means that if another buyer comes along without a contingency, you either need to step aside or remove your contingency and buy the house. If your house isn’t ready to list, or isn’t appealing enough to sell immediately, odds are you will lose your new house. I know it is tough, but the best thing to do right now is focus on getting your old house ready to sell, THEN go look at houses. And every client I have in this situation is going to think I am talking to them when they read this, but I am talking to ALL my clients in this situation 🙂
The absolute best thing to do when you need to sell first is to…..just sell first. Yes, I mean sell your old house and find somewhere to live temporarily. Will it be fun? Heck no, but you will get top dollar for your old house and be in the best bargaining position on the new one since no seller today really wants to accept a contingency offer. If a seller accepts one, it is usually a sign that you are paying waaaay more than the next highest bidder and/or that you have selected a house that is having trouble selling in the hottest market ever. Neither of those are good.
IF you can buy the new one without having to first sell the old one, then do that. You know you will sell the old one quickly and it is really nice to be able to get the new one ready before moving in.
But what if you can qualify for the new house without having to sell, but you really want or need your equity from the old one for a down payment? Easy. Get a home equity line of credit on your old one and use it for the down payment on the new one. Sell the old one and pay it off. It’s a simple way of moving the equity you have from the old house to the new one.