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How To Guide: Sell Your Home & Buy a New One at the Same Time

Susan McCallion

Hi! I’m Susan McCallion, Sanibel resident, former non-profit executive, mother of four, and Broker and Principal of McCallion & McCallion Realty...

Hi! I’m Susan McCallion, Sanibel resident, former non-profit executive, mother of four, and Broker and Principal of McCallion & McCallion Realty...

Oct 26 8 minutes read

Southwest Florida is a "vacation marketplace" where most people who buy or sell a home here often have a second home elsewhere. But that's not always the case. We have helped people who are in a position where they have to sell their home AND buy a new home at the same time. It’s a prospect that can feel daunting for even those who have done this before. 

After all, it can seem like a “chicken or the egg” scenario: Do you focus on the sale so you know how much money you’ll get, or do you focus on finding a new home so you’ll have a place to live lined up once your home sells? Here are the ten things you'll want to keep in mind when you’re a buyer and seller at the same time.

Focus on the Home You're Selling First

Once you’ve made the decision to sell your home, it’s tempting to jump to the next step. For one, shopping for a new home is much more exciting than prepping your current home for sale. Searching for a new home also eases the anxiety that comes with the uncertainty of selling your current place. 

The problem? If you’re not devoting the same care and attention to the sale, it could cost you in the end. Half-hearted decluttering, procrastinating on the repairs your Realtor® suggests and other missteps that happen when your heart is in the new home search can draw out the home sale process, or result in less money earned on the sale. 

Find a New Home

Conversely, there are homeowners who are SO focused on doing everything they can to sell their home for the highest price that they’ll avoid even thinking about finding their next home. Yes, we want you to focus on the sale of your home first, but don't turn a blind eye to your next move. If you plan to rent after your home sale, consider the time of year. Will it be "peak season" here in SWFL, making it more challenging to find a short-term rental? It's best to have a few plans in place.

Find an Agent

If you’re moving a few miles away, sticking with a local real estate agent is perfectly fine. If you’re moving further than a neighboring community or city you’ll need someone who is an expert in that particular market. Your attention is going to be divided just due to the simultaneous nature of your sale and purchase. An agent who really knows the neighborhoods and how quickly the market is moving means you’ll have the expertise and data you need to find the home you want (without you having to do hours upon hours of research). 

We have relationships with agents all over the country so if you're looking for a recommendation, let us know! 

Consider Renting a Storage Unit

I know what you're thinking. "Why go through the time and expense of moving your stuff to a storage unit, only to move it again to your new place?" But once you start packing and decluttering, you'll need a place to store your boxes. Maybe a spare room will work, or the garage. Make sure the boxes don't fill the whole room, making it feel much smaller than it is! A storage unit is really the best soultion. Just remember that it’s a temporary home for your stuff — make sure you’re taking a quick moment to organize items in boxes and label, label, label.  

Learn About Bridge Loans

These short-term loans can help you financially during the transition between your old and new homes. For example, a bridge loan might be used to buy the new place while your home is still on the market, or if you’re put in a situation to suddenly move (like a job relocation). Because they’re short-term loans, bridge loans often have higher interest rates and quicker repayment periods. Depending on your situation, though, it might be an option to consider.

Have a Plan B (& Plan C)

Even if you’ve devoted the right attention to both the sale and the search for your next place, the market is the wild card. You might be surprised with an offer within days of your listing hitting the market, a buyer who has all their paperwork in order, and a transaction that doesn’t hit any snags whatsoever. While that’s an ideal situation for most sellers, it’s one that could completely throw off your plans. If your Realtor® thinks that the market is hot enough to lead to such a scenario, you’ll want to have a list of short-term rentals, movers, and (if needed) self-storage facilities that offer larger units. 

Think Through Home Sale Contingencies

A home sale contingency is a clause in your contract that gives you a certain amount of time to sell your home before proceeding with the transaction. It seems like just the thing to give you peace of mind when you’re buying and selling at the same time. However, these contingencies can turn off potential buyers because it means the sale could fall through. When you’re the buyer, having a home sale contingency could be countered with a kick-out clause. This means that if the seller can continue to market the home and accept a better offer if it comes along.

Face Your Emotions

Once selling your home becomes a reality, you might experience strong emotions about your home. Even if you are excited to sell, seeing empty rooms, packing boxes, and opening your house to visits by potential buyers can make you feel suddenly sentimental about leaving. It’s less about the home itself, but instead what it represents — the past. Don’t be afraid to speak up to your Realtor® if you start to feel pangs of regret or sadness. They’ve likely experienced this in nearly every sale and can help shift your focus to your goals.

Avoid Overwhelm

The process of selling and buying at the same time is enough to be a full-time job… AND you may have a full-time job already. Add in a family, a major work project or a life transition, and you can quickly feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do what you need to do. When faced with overwhelming situations, some of us overperform (and never sleep) and others shut down (and avoid everything). Think about how you tend to react in stressful situations and work on strategies to keep you productive (and healthy!) during this time.

Keep Your Goals In Mind

The process of selling your home can occupy a lot of mental space. So when you get your first offer, it’s tempting to accept it to just be done with the whole thing. Take time to consider the offer and ask for your Realtors® professional opinion on the situation. While they don't have a crystal ball, they can give an honest opinion based on what they’ve observed in the market. 

In the end, buying and selling your home at the same time is like training for the Olympics — a successful outcome involves strategy and the right frame of mind. Consider your Realtor® your coach in this metaphor. They’ll keep you motivated, prepare you for what to expect, and offer support whenever you face a challenge. But, unlike the Olympics, achieving your goal is basically a sure thing. 

We're Here to Help

If the challenge of selling your home and buying a new one is one that's holding you back from listing your home, let's talk about how we can help make the transition as smooth as possible

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