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8 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying & Selling At The Exact Same Time

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8 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying & Selling At The Exact Same Time

Kim Anselmo, Associate Broker

With over two decades of experience in marketing and selling homes, helping buyers find their dream come true and fully understanding her client’s r...

With over two decades of experience in marketing and selling homes, helping buyers find their dream come true and fully understanding her client’s r...

Jul 16 7 minutes read

Plenty of people find themselves buying and selling a home simultaneously but knowing that others have gone through the same stress does not make it one bit easier. After all, the stakes are so high: If your buyer backs out, you do not have any cash to land your next home!  Or if your own purchase falls through but your current home sells, you are homeless!  Talk about STRESS!!!

It turns out that most buying and selling mistakes are easily avoidable - or at least predictable. Follow these eight tips to enter into a contract with eyes wide open.

It is all like walking across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope.  The tiniest thing goes wrong, and you fall.

1. Waiting too long to prep your home for selling

Every home needs a little work before selling. You might need to repaint some scratched walls, fix broken decking, or add grout in a rarely used bathroom. Don’t wait until the last minute to kick-start this process, otherwise you could wind up in a bind. For example, one of our clients was trying to buy and sell simultaneously. We advised him repeatedly to start prepping the home, “but he kept pushing it off and pushing it off, despite actively looking for a new home and submitting offers.”

Once the client went under contract to buy a home, suddenly he found himself rushing to list his existing home. When they finally finished prepping, it was already October - precisely when the market was slowing down, and it became tougher to find a buyer.
Takeaway:  Get the “projects” out of the way on the home you want to sell before listing it and making it active on the market.

2. Skipping the backup plan

When you are buying and selling simultaneously, the number of moving parts doubles. And if any of those moving parts get out of balance it can throw off both transactions.  For example, we were recently involved in a four-way transaction where the sellers of property A wanted to buy property B - and the sellers of property B wanted to buy property C – and the sellers of property C wanted to buy property D!

We had to coordinate two closes and four different families moving in and out of properties!  It all worked out, but we caution - that you may not be able to buy and sell at exactly the same time.

And with that assumption, you better have a plan in place in case everything goes wrong. Keep your emergency fund well-stocked.  You may simply need a hotel for a week, but, a worst-case scenario, you may also find yourself looking into short-term rentals. Have cash on hand in addition to your down payment funds to survive any setbacks.

3. Buying too big

One of the biggest mistakes we see simultaneous buyers and sellers make is the same one that many first-time buyers make: They fail to get pre-approved on their new loan.  Pre-approval is essential, because it puts a stop to unrealistic dreaming by telling you exactly what size of house you can afford.

Buyers assume that with a large down payment and increased income, they will automatically qualify for a larger home loan. Many do, but not as large as they think or wish. They begin the search and are disappointed when they can’t upgrade as much as they thought they would be able to.

4. Working with too little cushion

You know what price your house should sell for. But what if the market softens? If you are forced to take an offer that’s $20,000 less than expected, there goes the down payment on your new home.  Give yourself a cushion on what you need to sell your existing home for.  If you are hoping to use the entire sale price as a down payment on another home, move forward with the assumption your home will sell for less than expected.

5. Failing to compromise

Don’t forget you’re not the only human in a stressful situation. The seller on the dream home you are buying, and the buyers under contract for your current place . . . they are all probably stressed as well.

So keep that in mind when issues come up - for example, if the buyers need an extra week of escrow because there was an issue selling their home, or if the sellers don’t think they need to fix a leaky pipe for you.  One mistake is expecting so much from the people selling the home, but not being willing to give anything to the buyers of their own home.  A little compromise goes a long way, especially when there are two escrows (or more) on the line.

6. Using two different real estate agents

Expect this already messy process to get even messier if you are juggling agents for your listing and for buying a new home. Simplify things by using the same agent for both transactions.  I would always prefer to handle both sides of your sale and purchase.  Having control and insight over both transactions allows us to make sure that we close both homes simultaneously.

There are two instances when you should not use the same real estate agent. If you are moving out of state, look for a reputable buyer’s agent in your new location. If you are remaining in the same area, you may also meet and like an agent who works exclusively with buyers or sellers — not both. In that case, ask for a recommendation within your agent’s brokerage so you can, at a minimum, keep both transactions under the same roof.

7. Closing on a Friday…

While you should work with your agent to determine the best timing, you’d ideally want to finalize the sale of your current home first, and then close on your new one. Try to aim for closings within two or three days of the other and never on a Friday, if at all possible.  That’s because bank transfers can take a few days to go through. In order to ensure there’s money in your account when the time comes, buffer a few days to transfer funds.

8 . . . . or late in the afternoon

When you are scheduling those closings, aim for the morning—especially on the sale of your current home.  Banks usually stop wire transfers by 3 p.m. in the time zone where the property is located. Closing in the morning allows extra time for the money to hit your account.

Real Estate agents don’t have a train of thought.  We have 7 trains on 4 tracks that narrowly avoid each other when paths cross, and all the conductors are screaming.

The Kimberly John Group are masters of coordination and keeping our trains running on time and on track!  Call us and we will guide you through your transactions.

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