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Have you ever gone to an open house? Or called a real estate agent because you were curious about a listing? Maybe you e-mailed an agent about a property he/she has listed?

Did you just want to check out the house?  Maybe you’re curious about amenities. Or, perhaps you’re really serious about buying a house. Doesn’t matter. All you’re doing is asking a question. That’s it. You just want an answer.

It must seem like one of the first questions we ask you is, “Do you have a house to sell?

I’m sure you wonder what difference it makes and I suppose it does seem a bit cart-before-the-horse.  It might even come across as pushy and forward, and beside the point.  (Well…that’s sort of characteristic of Realtors, right?)

You don’t even know if you like the house – and you aren’t even really thinking about selling your house, until and unless you find the house you want and actually have an offer accepted.

So, why is it asked?

Maybe you think it’s because we’re hoping you do have a house to sell, so we can list the home you own, sell you the one you’re asking about, and get two sales off you.  Or that we want you to list your home, and get it under contract, so that you have to move…(again, so we can get two sales off you).

Which makes you feel like we’re just looking to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, and all from you!  All of your fears and perceptions about real estate agents seem justified…but…

Whether you have a home to sell or not matters.

It might seem early on for us to ask you such a question. But it’s not.  In fact, this question should be asked and addressed, before you even look at a house to buy.

We need this information.  And it has nothing to do with wanting to make more money, or any money at all, off you.  You see, if you own a home, the chances are…you need to sell your house before you can buy another one.

That doesn’t apply to everyone, of course.  But usually, people can’t buy another home until and unless the house they currently own is sold…which doesn’t sound all that appealing to most people. It leads to so many questions you have to ask yourself…

  • Am I seriously considering selling my home?
  • What if my home sells and I can’t find another?
  • Do I have the time, energy, money, credit history, to actually consider the options?
  • Can I trust this agent?

These are valid concerns.  But, you see, it’s part of our job to engage and elicit information.  We’re trained to foresee obstacles.  We’re problem solvers by nature and we enjoy finding a solution.

How Should You Respond?

Almost everyone I meet wants to be able to buy a house, without going through the process of selling the house they already own first.

So, I’m are always asked if there are alternatives.  The answer is yes.  There’s one alternative that solves this problem every single time.  Do you have enough cash to just buy a house outright? If so, you’re in luck!  I can show you property, you can make decisions regarding your home purchase and put your current home on the market at a later date.  So, let’s look for a house, and find the one that suits your current situation!  You have options most people do not.

There are a other options, of course. But they aren’t for everyone.

For instance:

  • A bank might loan you money to buy your next house without selling your current home first. There are certainly circumstances and products that will allow for this.  This depends on you and your financial picture.
  • We might be able to negotiate your next home with the contingency that you’ll procure a mortgage and complete the purchase upon the sale of your existing home…meaning, the owner of the house you want to buy would need to agree to give you time to sell your home.  Your purchase would actually be contingent upon getting your current house sold. (This is a tough thing to negotiate in many markets, and it isn’t terribly appealing to many sellers.  Put yourself in their shoes for a minute… Would you agree to that as a seller?  But it does happen.)

It’s tragic to find the house of your dreams, only to learn you aren’t in a position to do anything about it. It’s a recipe for wasted time, aggravation, disappointment, and heartache.

So, what should you do?

Assess your options early on.  Call me and let’s discuss your situation, then, if it seems the right decision, speak with a mortgage lender.

If you discover that you have options beyond having to sell your place first, awesome!  But if not, don’t feel like you are the only person on earth to ever be put in this position.  Though it’s not comforting, you have a lot of company.

But being informed will help you determine how to proceed.  You’ll feel more in control and better able to consider the timing of the sale of your home, and the purchase of the next. (A great real estate agent – such as yours truly – can help you!)

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