SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
Start by getting an idea as to what your house would bring. Ask for a Comparative Market Analysis, which which will let you review comparable active and recently sold listings in your area, along with what's currently under contract. With low inventory, almost anytime is a good time to get your house on the market. An agent can tell you where it’s best to spend money on getting the house ready to sell. It’s critical that you maximize your curb appeal. The front yard should look manicured, and the front door area should be immaculate. Consider a fresh coat of paint and new door hardware. Also, a couple of pots of flowers will dress up the entrance, making it look more inviting.
Get with a mortgage lender to find out what your move up price point will be if you're moving up in price. Having seen some appreciation in the last couple of years, it may be that you will net more than you realized. With interest rates still at record lows, this may be the right time to move. You will want to have a current prequalification letter or proof of funds on hand to accompany any offers you will present.
Once you and your lender have arrived at a comfortable price point for your next house, have your REALTOR set up a client website that will enable you to see what’s out there in the area and price range that suits your needs. This will start to educate you as to what’s available. You will be notified as new listings hit the market. This will most likely be the motivation to get your house listed and on the market, as most sellers won’t entertain a contingency offer. Make sure you eliminate 'short sale' possibilities from your search criteria.
What is a short sale and why can't I buy one? A short sale happens when the lender is paid short the mortgage balance at closing. Homes will sell 'as is' and there is no way to know how long the process will take. In short, no one has control of the transaction except for the 'short sale' lender.
What’s a contingency offer? That means the offer is contingent upon your house selling. If your house doesn't sell by the specified close date, there is no closing and no penalty to buyer. In some cases, the seller will accept this contingency offer with a ‘kick off clause’ meaning that if another acceptable contract comes, you will have a certain period of time, typically 48 hours, to ‘kick off’ the contingency to sell, accept the house as is and close, or else lose the contract. Most contracts will specify the buyer deposit additional earnest money at the point the contingency is ‘kicked off.’
Once your house is listed and under contract is the time to start viewing houses in earnest. A seller typically has no problem with a contingency contract, provided your house is under contract and scheduled to close. The seller may even request a copy of your contract. The goal in moving up or downsizing, for that matter, is to close both houses back to back. Many buyers and sellers are amazed that this can be done so seamlessly.
To get started on your move, contact me for a no obligation market analysis for your property. I’d be happy to help or refer a another professional REALTOR if you're outside my area.
Contact me through my website at www.KimWaters.com or call me at 770-540-3788.