Remember the nervous excitement and the stress of buying your first Central Ohio home? Imagine feeling all of it again – except this time trying to sell a home too.
Buying a home and selling a home can both be stressful, but when you’re trying to do them at the same time you double that stress.
For many people, selling their current home is a requirement in order to buy the next home, because they cannot afford to pay two mortgage payments while they sell their current home.
Plus, many Central Ohio home sellers won’t even take you seriously as a buyer until you at least have your current home on the market. Some even want you to already have an offer on your current home. Then, with a closing date looming, you must find a home that works for your family.
In the current market, this can be especially challenging. Now a home buyer, you may be faced with low inventory and few homes that fit your needs.
There are so many things to worry about that you may find yourself overwhelmed, but people do it everyday and you can too. Here are some tips to make the process as stress-free as possible.
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Know The Central Ohio Real Estate Market
First, you will need to understand market conditions where you’re buying and where you’re selling. Even within a Central Ohio city, neighborhood real estate markets can vary.
If you can increase the value of the home you are selling by making minor improvements, consider having the work done before you list the home. Start preparing your current home by de-cluttering, deep cleaning, and sprucing up your curb appeal to make it more appealing to Columbus area buyers.
If you have lived in the home for a long time or it is an older home, consider having a pre-listing inspection done to find any issues now and have them fixed.
A properly prepared home that is correctly priced is likely to sell quickly on the Central Ohio real estate market.
Be A Flexible Home Buyer
Inventory is low across the country and in the Columbus, OH area. With inventory so low, it is entirely possible that few to no houses are available in your ideal Central Ohio neighborhood.
Research other Columbus area neighborhoods that have the qualities you’re looking for. As with the houses you will look at, there are trade-offs in neighborhood selection too.
Plan Your Strategy
Can you buy a home then sell your current home? Or, will you need to sell first? Both have their positives and negatives.
Talking with a mortgage professional may help you make that decision. You may simply not be in a financial position to sell first. Having two mortgages throws off your debt-to-income ratio and could make qualifying for a new mortgage more difficult.
Selling first simplifies the mortgage process, but you may need to find temporary housing, especially if you are struggling to find the right home. Think about where you would be able to stay, and have a few options available. If you haven’t rented in a long time, you may be surprised to find the rental market as competitive as the housing market.
You’ll also likely have to utilize a storage facility, which adds cost and hassle.
Selling first also lets you know where you stand financially. If you’re home sells below listing price, or a home inspector finds a major repair you didn’t expect, this can change your finances.
If you can buy first, moving is much easier. Plus, you won’t have to deal with rushing around to prepare for last minute showing requests in your current home.
It can feel like you’re on a tightrope. Think through the logistics and finances of either selling your home, storing your things, and possibly renting, or paying two mortgages for what may take months.
Plan For Possible Delays
Even if you have a plan in place and have done everything right, some parts of buying and selling are dependent on people and processes that are out of your control.
You may have a great offer on your Columbus, Ohio home, only to have the buyer not be able to get financing. Perhaps the seller of the home you want to buy has to find housing before they can close. Or, your home inspector may find a major issue with the home you are planning to buy, forcing you to either renegotiate or even walk away.
There are many moving parts and things that can go wrong. All of these things can add delays and extra cost to the process.
What About Kids & Pets?
If you’re doing all this with kids and pets, remember that your stress can make them feel stressed as well. Kids can have their own very real concerns about moving. “Will I have to change schools?” “Will I ever see my neighborhood friends again?” “Will I be able to make new friends in a new neighborhood?” Addressing these fears can help kids transition from one home to another.
While the family pet may not have the same fears, you will need to have a plan in place to take pets (and ideally their things) with you when potential buyers come to see your current home. And, you will need to factor in the extra cost of having pets in an apartment or hotel room should you need one.
Arm Yourself With Knowledge
Though there are challenges that arise, there are also solutions that can help.
If you’re selling a Central Ohio home first and you need time to find a home, you may consider a rent-back agreement. This lets you negotiate with the buyer and lender to stay in the home for up to 60-90 days. Sometimes this is done as rent paid to the buyer or in exchange for a lower selling price.
This can lower the stress of having to find a new home within a very short period of time.
However, if you’re buying a home before you sell, there are ways to lower your financial risk. The two most popular options include:
Bridge financing lets you own your current home and your next home at the same time. This works as a short-term loan to be repaid when your current Central Ohio home is sold. This allows you to sell your home and use the money made from the sale to buy the next home. Your mortgage professional will help you determine whether or not this is an option for you.
As a buyer, you can make an offer that depends on the sale of your current home. This may not be the best option in a competitive market, but may work for you and the seller if the home you want to buy isn’t attracting much interest.
Don’t Be Fueled By Anxiety
Making a decision based on fear may cause you to make choices that aren’t in your best interest.
If your Central Ohio home has sold, but you haven’t found your next home yet, don’t feel like you must choose something – even if it’s not what you want.
This is where your research into temporary housing will help. You may need to rent an apartment while you look for a Columbus area home that truly meets your needs.
Or, you may have found a great home but closing dates don’t line up. In this case, you will need something short term such as staying with a family member or going to a hotel. If you researched this ahead of time, you will already know where you can stay. If you have pets, make sure the temporary home is pet friendly and factor in the extra charges.
With these back up plans in place, you won’t feel the need to choose a home that you otherwise wouldn’t pick.
Let An Experienced Central OH Professional Be Your Guide
While buying and selling a Columbus area home at the same time is certainly stressful, working with a Central Ohio Realtor can help both go more smoothly.
If you’re thinking about selling your home, but are concerned about the process of selling and buying simultaneously, contact me, Rita Boswell today at 614-830-9767.
I have helped many Columbus area families buy and sell, and I am happy to share my years of experience with you. We’ll discuss your concerns, and I’ll answer any questions you have about the process.