In a perfect world, you would sell your house and then instantly find your new home. The offer would be accepted, conditions would be met and both parties would move. Everyone is happy and everything is wrapped up in a big red bow. Sadly, this is not a perfect world and sometimes your house could be sitting on the market for a while before it sells. This doesn’t mean, however that you aren’t out looking for the new property, so what do you do if you find ‘the one’ before you have sold the old? Can you buy before you have sold?
The answer is a resounding yes, you can! And there are a few different ways you can go about this. First, you can just take on two mortgages. Never has it been written that you can’t own more than one property at a time, but for most of us this isn’t a viable option. So, there are a couple of other options out there.
If you want to only hold one mortgage the easiest way is to make your offer contingent on the selling of your property. That is, you will buy property B only after property A has been sold. If property A never does sell, then you never buy property B. This works well in a seller’s market, especially if the seller only has that one offer on their house. It won’t work if there are several interested parties of course, as the ones with the best offer and the least amount of restrictions on that offer are usually the ones who reap the rewards.
Another way to go ahead and buy that new house when you haven’t yet sold yours is to tap into your home’s equity. If you have a high credit score and a lot of equity built up in your current home you can free up that equity with a home equity line of credit. This allows you to buy your new house using the equity of your current house but it’s not something that can be approved overnight. If this is the route you want to take, you have to know in advance to get the appraisal, income verification and credit check completed. Of course there are risks and the largest one with this approach is that if you take too much of the equity from your home it may make it harder for you to secure a mortgage for the new place.
The fourth idea is to add that home equity line of credit to a new mortgage so you are breaking up how you finance the new home. You would get a first mortgage for the amount you need, and use the home equity line of credit to make up the price difference. Once you do sell your house, you pay off the home equity line of credit and you are left with the one mortgage again.
By far the easiest way to do things is to get that house sold before you put an offer in on the new place, if at all possible. If you feel that your current home is taking too long to sell there are things you can do to shake things up a bit. Of course having it priced right goes a long way when it comes to potential buyers, but they also like to see that a house is presented properly and has all of its assets on display.
What can you do to make your next open house a success? Well, for starters, people can’t come to see a place that they don’t know is for sale, so hit social media and get the word out. Flyers, ads and signage are also great ways to get people to the door.
Once they’re at the door you want them to want to come in and look around so make sure the landscaping is neat and tidy, there aren’t any tree limbs or debris blocking the walkway and the exterior paintwork looks nice. Curb appeal goes a long way.
When they enter the house they should be greeted with light, all lights should be on and all window coverings should be open to allow the natural light to flow in. There should be no bad odours to greet buyers and they shouldn’t be tripping over shoes and coats at the front entrance either. Pick all this stuff up before they arrive and store it accordingly.
Keep in mind potential buyers will be looking in closets, so when you are decluttering the living room and kitchen, don’t stick everything in cupboards and closets. Pack non-essentials and personal items away before the open house so you don’t have to move them on the day of. A lot of realtors suggest that you take down personal photos and kids’ artwork so that the space is neutralized. This makes potential buyers see their own things in your space and they can better imagine themselves living there (or not).
Make sure they can get into closets, that bathrooms are gleaming and that the kitchen counter is as uncluttered as it can be. It’s also a good idea to go through the house and see if there are clear sight lines throughout. Can things be moved that obscure the view, for instance. You want to make your home look as large and airy as you possibly can.
Pets are sometimes an issue. Dogs aren’t going to take too kindly to strangers walking through their house and some potential buyers may have allergies. It’s best, if you can, to remove your pets while the open house is going on. If you can’t, keep them contained in the laundry room or another room that doesn’t get much traffic for the duration.
Perhaps one of the best things to do at your open house is to listen to feedback. If a lot of people are questioning a bright red wall for instance, perhaps you can paint it before the next open house to be more neutral. Remember that what others have to say is a direct reflection on if they’ll put in an offer. If the comments are positive, you’ve won the battle, if not, you have more work to do.