Maybe your kids are all grown up so you are ready to downsize into a smaller home, or perhaps your family is growing and you need to move out of your starter home into something bigger. Whatever the reason, you may feel fairly confident in the process if you have bought a home before. While you do have some experience, there are some things that are a little bit different if you aren't a first time homebuyer. The following list will help you get ready for your purchase.
Tip #1: Get a preapproval
This tip may seem familiar from your first-time homebuyer days, but now it has a twist. You will need to find out whether you can qualify for a mortgage now or if it will be contingent on the sale of your current home. In some cases, you may have two qualifying amounts. The first will be lower and based on the fact that you won't be selling or haven't yet sold your home. Then there will be a larger approval amount that is granted if you wait to buy until after your current home has sold.
Tip #2: Prepare to list your current home
It's generally a good idea to list your current home before you start looking if you live in a slow market. This is especially true if financing is dependent on selling the home. However, if homes are selling fast in your area, then you will have choices to make. The first option is to try and find a new home and close on it during the close period of your old home. You may be able to push for a later closing on your old home to accommodate this. Otherwise you will need to plan on renting something until you can close on a new home. The key is having a plan so you aren't left scrambling at the last minute.
Tip #3: Contact an agent
A listing agent can help you prepare your home for sale, but they can also help you traverse that murky area between homes. It is your listing agent that will go to bat for you with the buyers to negotiate for a longer closing or to make arrangements for you to rent the house from the buyers until you can finish closing on your new home. Make sure you are upfront with the real estate agent about the terms of your mortgage preapproval and your plans for moving after the sale. This way they can work with both you and the buyer's agent to help you transition from the old property.
Once you sign the sale contract with your listing agent, there's a good chance that things will start moving quickly. Your agent will want you to stage your home for the listing photos, open houses, and showings. If you've never experienced the staging process, you may not know exactly what to do or where to start. The information on this site will help you to not only understand what's expected of staging but also offer tips for you to maximize your efforts without investing a lot of time. I hope the information here makes your home sale process a little bit less confusing and a little easier to manage.