Are you itching to swap homes? Maybe you have a new child on the way and want to step up into a larger home than you have now. Or it could be that all your kids have left the nest (waaaa! Or yeah!?), and now you’re looking to downsize into a smaller home. Because our housing costs are so high, if you’re like 88% or so of the home-owning public, you’ll probably need to sell your current home before you can close on the sale of a new one. If you’re in that boat, I’ve got some good news for you: selling a home and buying another is easy!
One of the first questions home owners have is, should I put my home on the market before I find the house I want to move to, or should I find my new home, and then put my current house up for sale? For most homeowners, the answer is clear: put your current home up for sale before making an offer on a new one.
Here’s exactly what you need to do to make a smooth move from your current digs to the new pad. First, get your home on the market. I know, getting it ready to list for sale on the market can be a lot of work, but it’s got to be done. It needs to be fully staged and prepared in order to expedite the sale and thereby maximize its sale price.
After the home is on the market, the next step is getting your home under contract. You’ll need to find a buyer who is okay with a contract that is contingent on you finding a replacement property – but that’s actually not too hard in our market. That’s because a lot of buyers are happy to get into any home they can, even if it is contingent upon you finding a replacement property. It won’t hurt to tell buyers you’ve seen a lot of homes that could work for you, you just need to get your present home sold before you can make a move.
Once you have a buyer under contract, you’re free to set out in earnest looking for your new home. Once you find it, you’ll make the contingent offer but with the good news for the seller that you already have your home under contract with another buyer. Your offer will look even better if you’ve already past significant milestones in the sale of your current home – such as your buyer having already released their inspection contingency.
Many folks worry that a seller won’t want to take a contingent offer – but the truth is that a lot of sellers are happy to accept a contingent offer, if the buyer’s home is already under contract and the terms and the price are right.
Accepting a Contingent Offer as a Seller
Now, let’s say you’re a seller and you’ve just received a contingent offer. I know, you’re thinking, “Ugh, a contingent offer!” But I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. In my experience, buyers with a home to sell (contingent offer buyers) are often the best buyers. They have a lot riding on the transaction and are heavily committed to making the deal work. They won’t make mountains out of molehills when small problems arise and they will be working twice as hard as you are to make sure the deal goes through. Plus, contingent offer buyers often make higher offers because they think they need an inducement for the seller to accept a somewhat riskier deal.
It’s true: contingent offers are somewhat riskier deals, because there’s more moving parts, and more can go wrong. But the contingent offer buyer is much more motivated than most buyers, and often times they are very qualified buyers too, what with significant down payments and strong credit history.
If you have any questions about contingent offers or anything else related to real estate, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon!