Remember when you purchased your first home? Do you recall the stress and nervous excitement of finding a home to start the next chapter in your life?
Selling a home and buying a home are both stressful life events, but when you’re trying to do them simultaneously, the stress is multiplied.
For many Triangle area home owners, selling their current home is a must in order to buy another home, because they cannot (or don’t want to) make two mortgage payments every month until they sell their current home.
Plus, sometimes home sellers won’t even take you seriously as a buyer until you have your current home on the real estate market. Some even want you to already have an offer on your current home. Then, with a closing date just around the corner, you must find a Triangle area home that fits your family’s wants and needs.
In the current Triangle real estate market, this can be a big challenge. Now a home buyer, you may be faced with low inventory and few homes that match your wish list.
Keep in mind, if it has been a while since you bought your current home, a lot of rules have changed, and you will find the housing market to be very different from the last time you purchased a home.
With so many things to worry about, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but people do buy and sell everyday and you can too! Here are some tips to help reduce the anxiety of buying and selling homes.
Get To Know The Triangle Real Estate Market
First, you will need to understand local market conditions where you’re buying and where you’re selling. Even within a Triangle area town, neighborhood real estate market conditions can vary.
If improvements can increase the value of your current home and make it more attractive to local home buyers, consider getting the work done before you list your home. Begin preparing your home by de-cluttering and deep cleaning. This is the easiest way to make it more appealing to buyers.
If your home is older or you have lived there for a long time, you may want to have a pre-listing inspection done to find any issues now and get them fixed.
Consider hiring an appraiser to professionally appraise the home. This will give you an accurate listing price with paperwork to back it up.
Be A Flexible Home Buyer
With inventory so low across the Triangle area, it is certainly possible that few to no houses are for sale in your ideal neighborhood.
Search out other neighborhoods that have the same amenities your looking for, in a location that works for your family. As with the homes for sale you will tour as a buyer, there are trade-offs in location and neighborhood selection too.
Plan Your Triangle Home Buying Strategy
Can you buy a home first and then sell your current home? Or, will you need to sell your home before you can buy? Both have negatives and positives to consider.
A mortgage professional may be able to help you with the decision. You may not be in a financial position to sell first. Having two mortgages at the same time may change your debt-to-income ratio and might make qualifying for the next mortgage more difficult.
Selling your home first makes the mortgage process easier, but you might need to find temporary housing, especially if you’re struggling to find another home. Plan where you will be able to stay temporarily, and have a few options available. If it has been a long time since you rented a home, you may be surprised to find the Raleigh area rental market is as competitive as the housing market.
You will probably have to use a storage facility, which adds cost and stress. Ideally, you will be able to find a Triangle area storage facility that is convenient to both your current home and your next home.
Another bonus to selling first is that you will know where you stand financially. If you’re current home ends up selling for less than you expected, or a home inspector finds a major repair you didn’t know about, this can change your financial plans moving forward.
If you can buy a home first, selling and moving will be much easier. You won’t have to deal with last minute showing requests, and you can move your things directly to your new home.
It can be a difficult balancing act. Think about the logistics and finances of either selling your home, storing your things, and possibly needing temporary housing, or paying two mortgages through a process that could take months.
Have Contingency Plans For Possible Delays
Even if you have your plans in place and have done everything right, some parts of the transaction are dependent upon people and processes that are out of your control.
You may get a great offer on your current home, only to have the buyer’s financing fall through. Perhaps the seller of the home you want to buy has to find housing before they can close. Or, your home inspector may find major issues with the home you want to buy, forcing you to either renegotiate or even walk away.
There are things that can go sideways and many moving parts – all with the potential to add delays and/or extra costs to the buying and selling process.
Considering Kids And Pets
If you’re adding kids and pets to the mix, remember that if you’re stressed, they may feel stressed as well. Older kids can have their own very real concerns about moving. “Will I have go to a new school?” “Will I ever see my friends again?” “Will I make new friends in a new place?” Addressing these fears can help kids transition from one home to another.
Buying and selling with smaller children means you will need to consider things like de-cluttering all the baby stuff or showing requests during nap times.
While the family pet may not have the same fears, you will need to have a plan in place to take pets (and ideally their things) with you when potential buyers come to see your current home (if you’re selling first). And, you will need to factor in the extra cost of having pets in an apartment or hotel room should you need one.
Arm Yourself With Knowledge
Even though challenges will arise, there are also solutions that can help. Remember, people do buy and sell homes all the time.
If you’re selling your current house first and you need time to find your next home, you may consider a rent-back agreement. This lets you negotiate with the your home’s buyer and lender to stay in the home for up to 60-90 days. This may be done in exchange for a lower selling price or as rent paid to the home buyer.
This may lower the stress of having to find a your next home in the current market conditions.
If you decide to buy a home before you sell, there are ways to lower your financial risk. The most common ways to do this are:
As a home buyer, you can make an offer on your next home that depends on the sale of your current home. This may not be the best option in a competitive market, but may work for you and the seller if the home you want to buy isn’t attracting much interest. A real estate specialist can help you decide if an offer contingent on the sale of your home is an option, or if something else may be a better solution.
Bridge financing lets you own your current home and your next home at the same time. It works as a short-term loan to be repaid when you sell your current home. This way you can sell your home and use the money made from the sale to buy your next home. A mortgage professional will help you determine whether or not this is a good option for you.
Don’t Be Pushed By Anxiety
When buying and selling homes, making a decision based on fear or anxiety may result in choosing something that isn’t in your best interest.
If your current home has sold, but you haven’t found your next Triangle area home yet, don’t feel rushed to choose something that may not fit your needs in the long run.
This is where your research into temporary housing will be useful. You may need to rent an apartment while you look for a home that truly meets your needs.
Or, maybe you’ve found the perfect home to buy, but you’ll be closing on your new home after the closing date of your sold home. In this scenario, you will need something short term such as staying with a family member or going to a hotel. If you researched this ahead of time, you will already know where you can stay temporarily.
If you have pets, factor in the extra charges you will have to pay at a hotel or an apartment.
Having made backup plans, you won’t feel like you have to pick a home that you otherwise wouldn’t choose.
Let A Five County Specialist Be Your Guide
While buying and selling a home at the same time is definitely stressful, working with an experienced Triangle area Realtor will help both go more smoothly.
I have helped many local families buy and sell homes, and I am always happy to share my years of experience with anyone thinking about selling their home. We’ll talk about your concerns, and I’ll answer any questions you have about the process and the Triangle real estate market.