Selling and Buying a Home at the Same Time ~ What to Expect

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EMOTIONS………

A whole host of emotions – that is what to expect while selling a house and buying a home, at the same time.

I do this for a living. I see this every single day of my life. I can walk someone through selling, and simultaneously buying with my eyes closed, or in my sleep…….. and yet, I recently did this myself. What a nice reminder of the flurry of emotions, details, and worries that my clients have to consider.

Selling a home is an interesting internal struggle either way…… Typical emotions involve the ‘honeymoon’ phase for your existing home : defending its value, and price, and features, and ‘honeymooning’ or ‘reminiscing’ about all of the good the home provides; all while preparing to exit the home for the various other reasons that are driving you out……. this can cause an internal war of emotions. You want to leave, but you want to fight for it as if you want to stay…….. Confusing to say the least.

It is also very hard to separate yourself from your beliefs around the home’s actual value. As a Realtor, I understand where Sellers derive their opinions on value :

What they want/expect

What they owe

What they believe its worth

What an appraiser said its worth

What Zillow says

What their neighbor got

What the house down the street got

What a house in another town sold for

And while these are all admirable means to form an opinion, the only way to know your home’s value is based on what Buyers Pay, Today, for the functional equivalent or a closely similar a home. In New England this is difficult sometimes to process. Each home is different, and while no two are identical (most of the time) there are ways Realtors interpret the market, trends, features, and benefits and can come up with a reasonable range within which it should sell. 

I personally, when selling my house last month, sought the input and advice of Realtors I respect and who are selling in my neighborhood. Their opinions varied, and so I went with the LOWER estimate of value. WHY!?!? Because I know how the market works, and it always works in the favor of achieving true market value. How do you achieve true market value ? You price the home to sell, at a reasonable asking rate, and then allow the demand for the home (and the buyers) control the selling price. This is how supply, demand and markets work with any product. So I listed my home for $369,900 after hearing it might sell for $370,000 – 400,000. And you know what !? I receieved multiple offers, and a price in excess of my asking price. I DID NOT receive the $400,000, but I know what my house is worth now. 

Anticipation and worry………. what if we don’t get our price. What if we don’t get what we want ? What if no one bids. All serious, valid questions. The market works the same in any climate – sellers market, buyers market, or stable market. Price it to sell, and the buyers will follow and will give you your price. Clearly the amount you ask fluctuates which the type of market climate. But even in a sellers market, there is no “granted permission” to shoot for an unreasonable price. Think about it – if a store offered the new iPhone for $700 and another store offered the same iPhone for $900 – there is no amount of marketing and promoting, that will cause the buyers to rush to pay $900 for the same phone they can get for $200 less around the corner.

Details……worry over details…….. there are a lot of things to coordinate (and if selling and buying – double the effort)….. Showings, Open Houses, not to mention the staging and cleaning beforehand, and then living in a house you have to keep clean and presentable. Bleccchhhhhh, nobody has time for that ! Then contracts, and dates, and making sure the dates line up, and the financing figures all work, and inspections, appraisals, and worry over the inspections and negotiating, and financing, all of the details are overwhelming at times. Plus coordinating moving out, walk through to see the house clean and empty, and where does your stuff go, and then closing on the new house and moving in, and where do you go for the day or so in between (or in my case – homeless for about a month !!!) Thank God for movers with storage facilities and friends with extra bedrooms and bathrooms………. oh, and don’t forget about the pets…… what to do with them  in all of this. 

The long and short of it is – it works out. It does. Even when it gets crazy, and you feel you cannot do it. You just take it one step at a time, hopefully with the confidence and advice of a Realtor you like and trust, who does this all of the time. And the feelings pass. They don’t stay. And the end result is that you achieve your goal. You move on. To something that is more conducive to your budget, or lifestyle, or whatever the circumstances are. When you are settled in your new place, you won’t even remember the headaches you felt.

During the process you just need to do a lot of pausing…. and breathing… and asking questions to understand so that you do not get overwhelmed.

It isn’t easy….but man, is it worth it in the end.