Last weeks most viewed Question on Trulia Voices was asked by Jennifer Hancock, a home buyer and seller from Fairfax County - Timing of buying and selling. She wants to know if she should sell her current home first and then find her dream home or start looking for her dream home first and then sell. Itâ€™s an excellent question. Answers can vary as it depends on a host of variables. Letâ€™s see what our Trulia Voices real estate community had to sayâ€¦
The first real estate agent to answer was Jeff Royce from Frankly Real Estate in Fairfax, Virginia. Jeffâ€™s answer was so detailed that he turned it into a blog post on his own blog, OurFairfax.com. What a great way to re-distribute a valuable piece of content - nice going Jeff! Here is a snippet of Jeffâ€™s answer to Jennifer, â€ In a buyers market like we have in Northern Virginia, people who are looking to sell their current home and purchase another have a tough choice to make. Should they sell their current home, or purchase their next home first? There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are a couple of scenarios to consider:
A. Sell Home 1, Then Buy Home 2: In this market, you have a lot of control over the purchase of your home. If you sell Home 1 you will know exactly what you have to work with financially as you approach the purchase of Home 2. You will also get a better price on both homes. That is because you will not be under any pressure to sell Home 1, therefore you will not be tempted to jump at a low offer. You will get a better price on Home 2 because you will be working with a definite timetable, and will not need to make your offer contingent on the sale of your home. A seller who has to deal with a sale-of-home contingency will, almost by definition, expect more money for the sale of their home. Sellers look for two things when they are selling their home: top dollar and security in the sale. Which would you rather give them?â€¦.â€
Monika Kumar, a real estate agent and leader of RealtyGeeks Team - National Realty in Reston, Virginia said, â€œLooking at the market conditions, putting your house on the market by well preparing it to sell meanwhile browse the listings as well visit the areas and narrow down the location you may want to move. Once your house goes under contract with most contingencies removed at that point put a contract on your next home in your narrowed down area. NOW this is an ideal way to move when you have a house to sell.â€
Glenda Cherry is a real estate agent with Avery-Hess in Fairfax County, Virginia said, â€ I have clients who are in a similar situation - they have a house in a great school district, but their kids are grown so they want to move to a different type of community and donâ€™t really care about the schools. After many discussions, we decided it would be best for them to wait until the spring to put their house on the market (it has incredible landscaping!) and start seriously looking once their home is under contract. In the meantime, weâ€™ve been looking at homes in various communities - that way, theyâ€™ll already know which communities they prefer and will be able to closely target their home search when the time is right.â€
Marty Jones is a real estate broker with Marty Jones Realty in Cashiers, North Carolina who said, â€œI would think one of the main considerations for your plan would be the mortgage amount of the home you currently own, and the debt, if any, you plan to incur on the second home.
If your current home takes a while to sell, is it financially feasible to pay both mortgages? If the answer to that question is yes, and it would not create a financial hardship, I would say take advantage of the current market conditions and go ahead and purchase in the desired school district. You might also consider renting the current home for a while to offset the mortgage.
If two mortgages would create a financial hardship, I would suggest waiting until your current home sells. You could sign a contingent sale contract, but if the first home doesnâ€™t sell, and you canâ€™t carry both mortgages, it will be an exercise in futility. It could also mean that you incur expenses related to the purchase, such as inspections, surveys, etc., that will be wasted.â€
Thanks to the Trulia Voices real estate community for providing such thoughtful answers for Jennifer. As many have pointed out, their are numerous scenarios that can dictate which steps you should take first. Because of this, there really is no one right answer, especially not knowing the details of her financial situation. We wish Jennifer and others in this situation all the best.