Making the Right Move – Part III: Trading Up

House for sale

Sell first to remove many contingencies.

You face the trickiest balancing act – getting the most for your house and shopping for a new place.  The forces that work against you as a buyer – tight inventory, rising prices – – are in your favor as a seller.

  • Sell First – to remove as many contingencies as possible. If you have to rent for a while, experts say that’s better than juggling two mortgages.  You should be able to sell quickly.  The national median time on the market was 59 days in February, NAR says, a 5% drop from the previous year.  Continue to shop around while you are marketing your home so you can move quickly to bid on your next home.
  • Don’t Overprice – As a trade-up buyer, you’ll need flexibility as well as a high price, so you should try and get multiple bids – which will give you more room to negotiate your exit. Don’t be more than 1% to 2% higher than comparable recent sales.  To find comps, ask your agent or check a site like Zillow or Redfin for several sales from the last two to six months.
  • Look at New Homes – Most new developments are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. This can simplify your buying process.  There are no bidding wars.  You will pay a deposit up front (usually 1% to 2% of the purchase price) and the balance won’t be due until you close on your mortgage. This gives you time to sell your current house.
  • Consider the Burbs – Americans have been moving back into urban areas since the recovery began six years ago… according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials in particular are living in cities at higher rates and intend to stay there.  You should head in the opposite direction – – for the bargains.