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Avoiding The Panic Of Owning Two Homes



I see this all the time. Homebuyers fall madly in love with a house they have just got to, despite owning another home that they must sell.

They wishfully think they can sell their current home fast so they can move into the new one within a few weeks. The problem with this scenario is even in recent white hot real estate market, houses may not sell very quickly. I have personally resold houses very quickly, but they never closed in less than 5 or 6 weeks. The mortgage application process takes a while. Why? Bankers like to appear to make ponderous and careful decisions.

We certainly don’t have quick turnover in the current real estate market so it’s really risky to fall in love with a house before you sell the one you have.

The first and most important barrier to resale of a home you are emotionally finished with is the house is probably not in show condition. It needs to be staged so it looks like a desirable purchase to a potential buyer. It needs to have some fresh paint, some major cleaning, small repairs need attention and stuff needs to be packed and removed so the house shows well.

Who is going to do all that work? In most modern households everyone is at work if they can afford a house at all, much less 2 of them. There is no one available to do these tasks except some hired handymen or professional stagers. These folks don’t work cheap. They have to make a living, too.

But most homeowners don’t do any more than a minor cleaning and then start showing their old house with all the faults they it had. If you put your house on the market in this condition you will sacrifice the first and best days your house is on the market. It will never again attract the attention you would want. By not fixing the faults you allow your product to get a bad rep.

Guess what? Potential buyers will see the faults, too and run the other way. Real estate sales folks will tell other ones and then you will really have a problem.

Even transferees are not exempt from the “2 house” problem. Sure the company will buy your old home for some price, but read the small print. Only top executives get great transfer packages. If your old neighborhood has a few foreclosures your house may sell for less than you hope and buyers will not be able to get a loan for more than the appraised value, whatever it is.

It is better to wait until your old house is at least under contract before you start looking for another house. I always wait. It’s not that hard to find another house even in an unfamiliar city. I have done it many times. Make your contract to purchase contingent on your old house closing without problems.

It is best to remember, there are tons of houses for sale in most markets. Many of them can make you very comfortable.

But the best thing is you don’t need go into a full fledged panic.

There is a list of all our articles on real estate at our home page at sell my note.


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