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Buying and Selling a House at the Same Time: Where to Begin

Buying and Selling a House at the Same Time: Where to Begin
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Buying a new home at the same time as you’re selling your old home is all about timing — and some luck, of course. And while you can’t control everything that happens during the complicated buying and selling process, there are some things you can do to set yourself up for smooth closings — maybe even on the same day!

Consider this key information on how to buy and sell a house at the same time.

Evaluate the local housing market

The state of the real estate market in your area is often the biggest factor in timing your home purchase and sale correctly. Knowing what kind of market you’re in is important whether you’re just moving across town, or if you’re moving across the country. If you’re selling in one market and buying in another, you’ll need to factor that into your timing. The length of time it takes to buy and sell can vary dramatically depending on the local real estate scene.

What is a buyers market?

In a buyers market, there are more homes available than people looking to buy. In a buyers market, you’ll likely have an easier time finding your new home than you will selling your old home. Sellers may be willing to accept a contingent offer, which means you agree to purchase their home contingent on selling yours first — more on that later.

What is a sellers market?

In a sellers market, there are more buyers in the marketplace than there are homes available. In a sellers market, your current home will likely sell more quickly than you’ll be able to find a new home. Consider asking your buyers to do a rent-back after closing to allow you time to find your new place.

If you’re in a… What to do Buyers market Make an offer with a sale contingency Buyers market Request an extended closing Sellers market Make an offer with a settlement contingency Sellers market Ask for a rent-back agreement

Choose an experienced real estate agent

Buying and selling at the same time can be complicated and at times overwhelming, so it’s helpful to have a pro by your side. An experienced local agent will not only be able to help you determine the market value of your home, but they’ll be able to talk you through timing, strategy, and negotiation.

An agent can guide you to a listing price

In addition to answering questions about process and helping you negotiate, one of the most important roles your agent plays is to help you find the perfect listing price — one that will help you sell on your desired timeline and for enough money to help you take that next step. They’ll use their local market expertise and comparables to inform the price.  

Remember to interview

Don’t just go with the very first real estate agent that comes your way. Especially when you’re buying and selling at the same time, it’s important to give your business to a true professional, one who can really help you make smart decisions. And, if you’re buying and selling in the same market, consider using the same agent for both transactions to help streamline communication.

Understand your financials

After you’ve chosen an agent and gotten a feel for your local market, it’s time to know your numbers. Reach out to both your mortgage lender and your financial planner to see what’s feasible based on your financial situation. The amount of liquid cash, the amount of equity in your home, and the loan products you qualify for can all factor into which path you take.

Determine your home’s likely resale value

Part of researching your equity is knowing how much your house will reasonably sell for in the current market. Consider completing a pre-inspection so you know how much work needs to go into your house before selling, or the types of concessions you’ll have to make to a buyer to cover those repairs.

Know how much equity you have in your home

If you’re selling a house with a mortgage, do some initial research to find out how much equity you have — meaning the amount left over when you take the current market value of your home and deduct what’s remaining on your mortgage. Also, consider if you’d be able to purchase without tapping into that equity. Remember, the equity you have in your home won’t be accessible until after the sale closes.

Buying a house before selling

If you choose to buy a second home before selling your current home, here are some ways to make it happen:

Make an offer with a sale contingency:  In this scenario, you’ll focus on finding a new home before you list the old one. Once you find a house you love, you’ll submit your offer with a sale and settlement contingency, which means you’ll buy the home only if you can successfully sell your existing home. Typically, the sellers of the home you’re buying are still allowed to seek other offers. Contingencies typically work best in buyers markets, when the seller is less likely to get another offer.

Request an extended closing: If you’re confident that your existing home will sell in a short period of time, you can request to extend the closing date of your new home, past the standard 30-45 days. This will give you enough time to sell your current home and use your home equity to buy another house. Just like with contingent offers, you’re more likely to have success with this strategy in a buyers market.

Purchase with significant savings: If you’re in the financial position to do so, the simplest route is to use your savings to pay your new down payment, then sell your old home after the dust settles. Keep in mind that you’ll also need money to cover closing costs, inspections, and moving expenses.

Purchase with a HELOC: A HELOC, or home equity line of credit, allows you to borrow against the equity in your current home. If you qualify, you could use a HELOC to access money for your down payment, then pay it off when your home sells.

Purchase with a bridge loan: A bridge loan is a short-term loan offered by a bank to cover your down payment, just until your sales close. Make sure to talk to your banker about this option early in the process, because not all banks offer this product and it can be hard to qualify.

Rent out your first home: If you don’t need the money from your first home to make your down payment on the new home, you could always find renters for your old home, which would allow you to cover the mortgage costs while delaying the need to sell at the same time as you’re buying.

Sell your house with BuyHotFloridaHomes: The BuyHotFloridaHomes program makes it possible for you to sell your home quickly, and without many of the time consuming tasks that come with the traditional listing process. Selling your home to BuyHotFloridaHomes  can be a great option if you’re hoping to close the sale on your old home in time to apply your equity toward your new purchase.

4. Make an offer

Once you find a home you love, make your offer! Keep in mind, it might not be accepted right away. Zillow research shows that just under half of buyers have their first offer accepted. And according to the report, 25% of buyers make two offers, and 20% make three or more.

When they reply, they’ll either accept your offer right away, or you’ll negotiate back and forth on price and terms. Once everyone agrees, the contract will be signed by both parties and the purchase process will officially begin.

1-2 months before buying

  • Find the right home
  • Make an offer and negotiate, if necessary
  • Sign the contract

5. Complete escrow-related tasks and finalize plans

During the 30- to 45-day escrow period, your lender will set various checkpoints in order for their underwriters to approve your loan. This will likely include items like a home inspection, appraisal and requests for additional documentation. This process may take longer if you’re getting an FHA or VA loan, which can require extra paperwork. If you’ve had a change to your credit or income since you were pre-approved, further verification may be required.

Schedule the inspection

You’ll want to schedule your inspection as soon as possible after going under contract — within the first week, ideally.  The purchase and sale agreement will stipulate when you must complete your inspection, often within 10 days of going under contract. Any inspection-related requests, like asking for repairs or a credit, also have a deadline.

Inspection-related negotiations can be stressful. If you already plan to waive inspection, consider buying a Zillow-owned home. These homes have already been evaluated and updated so you can buy with confidence—and streamline the process.

Start preparing for the move

Now is also the time to contact a local moving company to get your move scheduled. You should file your change of address request with the post office and do some research on how you’ll set up utilities at your new home.

If you’re currently renting, you should give your landlord notice according to the terms of your lease — usually at least 30 days’ notice.

If you’re selling a home and are worried about timing the purchase and sale as conveniently as possible, consider selling your home through BuyHotFloridaHomes. You can get an all-cash offer and close when it works for your timeline.

Keep in contact with your team

Maintain communication with your lender as the details of your loan are finalized. Be prompt about submitting any documentation that is requested. You’ll also need to let your lender know your preferred home insurance provider. As you work to finalize your loan, your real estate agent and attorney should be kept in the loop.

Under a month

  • Find a home inspector and have inspection completed
  • Shop for homeowners insurance

6. Close on your new home

Either the morning of, or the night before closing, you’ll do a final walkthrough to visually inspect the condition of the home. This is especially important if you requested repairs after your home inspection. Next, you’ll head to the title company’s office to sign your closing paperwork. Depending on the complexity of the deal, this could take a few hours.

Closing week

  • Schedule final walk-through
  • Sign paperwork
  • Get your keys!

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