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.
“Do something a person can’t do for themselves or something they don’t want to do and you will always have a job.”
I think my dad said this when I was about 11 years old or so. It is one of the many things he said to me that has always stuck with me.
I had a lawn care business when I was younger and stronger. That was clearly something anybody could do for themselves, so what I was doing was something my customers didn’t want to do.
Now I’m a realtor. To some people, it can look like I am doing something anybody can do. Sure, people do sell their own houses, buyers do buy without the assistance of a realtor. The funny thing about it is that those people never really know how well they did…..what did they have to compare it to? Often, a bad buying decision isn’t discovered until you go to sell.
That is where experience comes in. I kind of feel like all my life has been preparing me to be a realtor. I was into architecture as a kid, always drew floor plans, went to open houses and model homes as my hobby. Took drafting and construction classes in high school and college, worked around building materials at Lowe’s, was an estimator for a construction company. It’s all helped me to offer something beyond opening doors and filling in the blanks on a contract for my clients.
I recently had 2 experiences that I am pretty proud of:
- I have a client who is building a new home. We just did what is called a pre-drywall walk-thru. The builder’s goal is to make sure they have the buyer sign off on where all the outlets and such go before the drywall gets hung. My goal is to check out the house. I like to just walk around and look, and look and look. Besides a few little things, I noticed what looked like mold on the roof trusses. I sold a newer house to some friends a few years ago. The home inspector found mold on their trusses. The trusses are delivered to the site in bundles and sit outside until the workers begin the roof. If it is really wet, those trusses get mold growing on them and are installed before they dry out. Ever since then, I am always looking at roof trusses when I have a client building a new house. It was a real pain for the seller of the house my friends bought, and I don’t want my clients to go through that. We got lucky this time. The builder at first tried to say it was dirt, but then agreed to spray something on them that would kill any mold. That’s a win for my client on several layers, the most important one is their health. (By the way, the truss in the picture is cracked, which is also being addressed!)
- One of the most common things I get asked from a seller is what needs done to get their house ready to list? I had a client whose house had a 27 year old roof. That is pretty old. I rarely see a roof that old. And it wasn’t really in that good of shape either. He was ready to spend $5000 to replace it before we listed it. I came out and looked at it. I told him we should put the house on the market as it is. If we get lucky, nobody will ask for it to be replaced. There weren’t a lot of listings available at that time and buyer’s could not be that picky. We got the home inspection repair list. Nothing at all about the roof.
So, a little experience got one client a mold free house and saved $5000 for another. It feels really good to be able to do for my clients what they can’t do for themselves….often simply because they don’t have the experience to know what to do.