For new-home buyers needing to sell another home before moving, the limited number of homes on the market in the Bay Area is good news. And while prospective buyers may be looking at mortgage interest rates rising to levels not seen for more than 20 years, overall low inventory puts sellers in a good position.
Even so, to have the best sale and purchase possible, it’s important to learn as much as you can about selling the existing home, even before choosing a new home.
Be upfront with every builder as the new-home search gets underway. You’ll be amazed how much builders can tell you about best practices for selling an existing home. They work with buyers all the time who need to finance their new homes with funds from a resale home.
As soon as a builder contract is finalized and construction plans are underway, it’s time to interview real estate agents and brokers about listing and selling the resale home. The builder may even know of new residents who moved in from the same area where you live now and had a good experience with their listing agent.
Purchasing and moving into a new home can take anywhere from three weeks to several months, depending on the status of construction and financing.
If purchasing an inventory home — one that is already built and only needs some finishing touches — you may be inclined to sell the existing home more quickly. But if financing is established for the new home and you’ve developed a good relationship with a listing agent, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice sales price.
Seek out listing agents who have successfully worked with new-home buyers. These agents and brokers know the nuances of listing a home when the seller’s move-out timeline may need to be flexible.
Both the sale and the purchase depend on the successful completion of both transactions. By consulting simultaneously with the builder and with listing agents, you’ll form a team of advocates to walk you through the steps of both transactions. They also can each recommend home finance professionals.
You may find that choosing the builder’s preferred lender provides peace of mind. The builder’s preferred lender, after all, has in-depth knowledge of the builder’s construction quality, warranties and timelines. They, like the builder, have worked with many buyers and sellers like you.
Ask your chosen lender, your financial planner and the listing agent about financing options, loan programs and sales contingencies that can smooth the transition between homes.
The idea of planning for the unexpected might sound counterintuitive. Although you can’t anticipate everything that may happen, you can prepare for the possibility that move-out and move-in timing may not line up perfectly.
Think about interim housing. A seller rent-back agreement may be possible. But it isn’t a guarantee. Look into furnished, long-term rentals or possible stays with family or friends.
Look for long-term storage. An uncluttered house is easier to clean and stage than a full, lived-in one.
Even if the sale and purchase end up happening simultaneously, chances are you’ll have items to store before putting your existing home on the market. Start with a single off-site storage unit that’s closer to the new-home community than to the old home.
Use that initial unit to store items you pack up while preparing your home to be listed. Pack up personal items such as photography and excess furniture, decor and clothing that you could live without for a few months. Then clean, clean and clean again.
A good listing agent will advise you on essential repairs and replacements before staging and photography. In addition to highly personal items, be prepared to have window coverings, rugs, artwork and the contents of cabinets and closets put in storage.
Should you anticipate a gap between moving out of your old home and into your new one, simplify your move by storing everything at the facility you chose before listing the home. Move-in day will be much more pleasant if all your belongings are transported from the same center.
Builders are your greatest source of information and guidance. They’ve worked with many buyers in your situation; the resources at their disposal can help make the transition from your current home into your new dream home as stress-free as possible.