“I don’t want to list my house until I find the perfect house for me to move in to.” If this is your mindset- this post is for you! Unless you are qualified to purchase a new home without selling yours, or have cash to buy- you really could be shooting yourself in the foot- and here is why.
The crash of the housing market forced many would-be sellers to stay put until their homes appreciated back to at least a “break even” status. That day has finally come for many local homeowners, but we are finding that a good portion of them want to wait and find their dream house before selling, and in many cases- before even listing.
This puts them at a distinct disadvantage as chances are their dream home is also someone else’s dream home– and will be already under contract by the time they are ready to act. So what is a potential seller/buyer to do? If you have decided that you absolutely want to move, the choice is clear- list your home while you look for your new one. An offer you place that is contingent on your current home closing is a heck of a lot stronger than one that is not under contract, or even worse, not listed! What seller wants to tie their home up off market in a contract that has a little chance of coming to fruition- or at the very least has uncertain closing dates?Truthfully- if a buyer puts in an offer on one of our listings, contingent on the closing of their current home, which is not even listed- we are going to advise our buyers against accepting…or to accept with very stringent timelines and possibly more (and non-refundable) earnest money for taking their home off market with such a shaky scenario. Naturally- every case is different, and we will investigate the buyer’s home, run comps on it, determine it’s salability- before reaching a conclusion- but in most cases accepting this kind of offer is a non-starter.
Be frank with your agent about your concerns regarding timelines and logistics, and make sure they are very aggressive in assisting you in your new home search. A savvy agent is also a creative one, and will do their best to offer suggestions and negotiate terms that can assist in a smoother transition. Leasebacks on your current house, short term furnished rentals while your things are packed in a POD or storage facility, longer closings, faster closings…there are options.
The current market forecast plays a part in this as well, and we are seeing inventory balancing out after a painfully low supply of homes in 2013, with only modest-fair price appreciation forecast for 2014 & 2015 in most local markets (but encouraging- up not down!!). In addition, interest rates will at some point have to rise a bit (hopefully not until 2015, though!), limiting some buyers purchasing power. The recovery is still firmly underway, but will be at a slower, steadier pace than the last many months. Bottom line- be knowledgeable and proactive to ensure those real estate dreams come true!