Selling Your Home Before You Buy a New Home

Do These 5 Things

You want to buy a new home, but for financial or other reasons you need to sell your current home first. 

In this seller’s market, you’re not alone. Even five years ago, buyers could get an offer accepted that was contingent on the sale of their existing home. In this market, few sellers are willing to consider any kind of contingency when they other better offers to choose from.

In this post, I’m going to share the five things I think you must do before you sell to get the most for your home and position yourself to be the best buyers you can be. 

Don’t miss my bonus tip on how to take some of the pressure out of the buying process.

Step 1 Meet with a Qualified Lender

The last thing you want to find out after you sell your home is that you won’t be able to afford to by the home of your dreams. A qualified lender can verify how much you owe on your existing home, and take you through the pre-approval process, so you’ll know exactly what your budget is for your new home.

Step 2 Think Like a Buyer

Study the housing market in the area you want to move to so you know how much you can expect to pay to get a home that meets your needs. If your expectations don’t match up with your budget, you may need to make some compromises.

Step 3 Visit Open Houses in Your Neighborhood

Look at homes that are similar to yours. How does your house compare? Be honest in your assessment. Do you need to improve your curb appeal, repaint, or even renovate to get the sales price you want? Even in this seller’s market, buyers have certain expectations. If a home doesn’t meet them, it won’t sell as quickly or for as much.

Step 4 Hire a Realtor

Hire a Realtor® with expertise in your local market. An experienced agent can help you determine which  home improvements will bring the greatest return on investment so you can get the price you want for your home. 

Step 5 Strategize Your End Game

Before you put your house on the market, talk with your realtor about ways you can extend the closing period so you can stay in your home longer and have more time to look for a new home.

Seller’s are in the driver’s seat in this market, you can negotiate with buyers to close on the sale in 45, 60 or even 90 days, rather than the more standard 30 days. You can let buyers know you would like to rent your home for a period of time after closing. This is called a rent-back agreement, and it can be structured as part of the sale.

Pro Tip: Know Where You're Going

Make sure you know in advance where you’ll go if you have to move out of your home before you close on your new home.

Will you rent, stay with friends or family, get an AirBnB? What will you do with your furniture? Having a plan will give you peace of mind and take some of the pressure off when you start house hunting for your new home.

J Trout Lowen is a Minneapolis Realtor® and an expert at helping homebuyers and sellers navigate the Twin Cities real estate market.

Before you make the decision to sell your home first and then buy, make sure you check out my next video in this series, Buying Before You Sell. In it I share a couple lesser-known financial options you might not have considered that could help you buy before you sell.

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