If you’re relocating for a job, trying to move before the school year begins or even hoping to avoid making payments on two mortgages, you may find yourself in the unenviable position of buying and selling a home at the same time. While it may certainly be easier to buy a new home, move and then sell your old home, there are many instances where that just isn’t possible.
So how do you deal? This is what you should do to prepare to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Strategize your timing
If you need to buy and sell at the same time, it’s essential that you know the market in both locations. Is each market favoring buyers or sellers at this moment? You’ll need this information to strategize the selling of one property and the buying of the other. Knowing in which position you’ll have the most leverage will help you make timing decisions.
Understand your finances
Even if you plan your timing to the best of your ability, your current home may not sell before you move into your new home. It’s important to take a long and honest look at your current financial situation and come up with a plan should this scenario play out. How will you handle making two mortgage payments? Will you have enough money for the down payment on the new home if your previous home doesn’t sell first? If you’re not sure you can swing either of these financial possibilities, you may qualify for a bridge loan. This is short-term financing that is backed by the equity in the home you’re selling that can be used for the down payment of the second home.
Consider contract contingencies
While contract contingencies may not always work in your favor in a competitive market, you could find yourself in a situation where it will work for you. You can ask for a contingency in your purchase contract stipulating that the sale is contingent on selling your previous home first. If you’re buying in a seller’s market, this may cause your offer to be rejected. But if the home you are interested in buying has had difficulty selling, this may work for both parties.
Prepare for some tough decisions
Buying or selling alone can be a process fraught with anxiety and careful decision-making. Doing them at the same time means double the number of decisions – which could exponentially heighten your feelings of stress. Be aware going in that you’re going to be faced with making some tough decisions so that the anxiety doesn’t cause you to make a choice you’ll regret later. Have a plan in place should you decide you need a short-term rental. Knowing that you have a back-up plan can really diffuse some of the pressure in the moment.
Work with a trusted real estate agent
Navigating the buying and selling process can be complex, and doing them at the same time even more so. In times like these it can really benefit you to work with a trusted real estate agent. They can prepare you for what to expect, help you with decision-making, and be an ally and an advocate for you every step of the way.