Do I Buy a New Home or Sell My Current One First?
I am asked this question every week …. for the past 1032 weeks. Often more than once per week. This may be the most frequently asked question we encounter, besides “how are the rates?”
Over coffee one recent morning a client thanked me for guidance I gave to his Mother-In-Law the month before. He told me everything was unfolding perfectly on her journey. This perfectness following a series of mistakes and tragedies spanning the prior decade related to the last sale and purchase. How and why did it get so out-of-hand? Answer: Other Peoples Motives.
The answer to the Title Question above will be different for almost everyone. Yet the solution is at the center of a ball of yarn that resolves around “Preserving Your Options” which is an immensely valuable position to be in, or command from. The second valuable position is to not forget this is YOUR project. And the motives of others should not penetrate your rational decisions. Often someone with a commission at stake puts his or her nose in your business and tries to persuade you to the “correct thing to do” (for them).
In most cases consumers won’t understand they’re being “led” although they may feel some pressure or urgency which is a legit Red Flag.
The guidance we donate daily rolls in this format:
1) Start by defining the Mission and it’s timeline.
Why are you moving? Knowing the answer to this question provides huge fuel for everyone involved in the project.
Is there a deadline? If so, the earlier you start planning the better off you will be and the more options you will preserve. You cannot start to plan too early.
2) Let’s access the Marketplace and it’s competitiveness
Real Estate is hot. Or is it? You can get varying opinions from two experts …. on the same day. A project in Berkshire county has a different cadence than a home sale in Somerville. Based on your inbound and outbound market (which may be different you’ll agree, right?) you’ll be able to access different rules of engagement.
3) You build a plan. We help with the architecture.
When a swinging Tarzan catches a vine, you can’t see it but there’s someone off camera holding that vine in place for him. For a homeowner to know where the largest spans-over water are would be next to impossible. We’ve done more difficult things than measure, cut, safely tie off, and hold in place a few vines for our clients who are getting ready to navigate a real estate jungle. You’ll also want someone to tell you that the vine you labeled as a backup Bridge Loan was cut with a machete back in 2010.
4) The plan must be critiqued for it’s pragmatics.
Seek out someone from outside your household, with a few thousand transactions under their belt, who you trust to not “sell to you”. They should provide you with some quality-control on your mission. Someone you feel OK sharing your full dream with. And someone capable of unrolling the blue print of your mission and suggesting the changes to it’s structural integrity.
If you need a signed P&S to enroll in a school then that’s placed high in priority, but it doesn’t mean that the four bedroom colonial with a fireplace, natural gas, not on septic will come available at the price determined by the equity you have coming from you last home.
5) Your time is perishable.
Wild estimate here but a house-to-house move is in excess of 400 man hours. Some hours can be delegated (pay a painter to touch up) and others cannot (who buys a house sight unseen?). Many processes include recurring events such as vacating (dogs too) for multiple open houses + showings, or going through the emotional high/low of submitting an offer only to have it rejected.
Are you entering into the Spring Market, which we best describe as Highway Traffic? Metaphorically speaking it would best to have new spark plugs installed. And the Master’s Degree you’re pursuing at the same time? Please decide which project is going to be deferred so that your blood pressure stays inside a safe range.
6) Pursue a Custom solution, not a one size fits all recommendation.
Some moves are URGENT (new job, school enrollment, toxic neighbors, apartment being sold or condo’ed) and some moves are not on a timeline (“I’d like to downsize”, “we’re empty nesters”, “I’d like to retire to the ocean”). Some moves are motivated (3rd child on her way, traffic is a daily grind) and some are reluctant (we can’t afford the taxes, or the marriage has failed). Each “way” has a distinct strategy.
In 2018 if you approached the plate to buy a new home with a house to sell you were shamed. In 2019 we could at least ask for a sale contingency with being flogged. In 2020 it’s time for the buyer to take back control of the process and demand that all the players on the team step up their level of professionalism and licensure.