How to Buy a Home in One Market While Selling in Another
Brendan Desimone | Zillow Blog | October 3, 2014 | link
Someone being transferred for work or making a major move for personal reasons may end up selling in one market and buying in another. The ideal scenario would be to sell in a sellers’ market, like the San Francisco Bay area or Seattle, and buy in a buyers’ market, such as Providence, RI. The worst-case scenario is to do the opposite.
Here are some tips for buyers and sellers in any market.
Know before you go
The days of a national estate market are gone. Today, markets vary by state, town, city and even block by block. But most people don’t realize this. So it’s important to start by researching the hyper-local market of the town or neighborhood that interests you. Read local blogs. Watch the number of days a home is on the market. Understand the sale price to list price ratio in the town where you’re buying. Upfront research can save you a lot of time and headaches. Plus, you don’t want to rely entirely on your real estate agent to tell you about that market. Get informed on your own.
How to sell in a buyers’ market
Selling your home in a buyers’ market can subject you to a harsh reality. Your market could be slow due to a high level of inventory, low demand from buyers or simply slow economic times.
If you need to sell in a buyers’ market, put your best foot forward from the start. Make sure your home is priced to sell. You may not have the luxury of waiting for six months to test the market. Homes will sell, no matter the market, when priced right.
Spend days or weeks removing junk and prepping your home for the market. You’ll have to pack up when you move anyhow, so it makes sense to start packing before you even list your home. Not only will it save time later, but it will help thin out the house, make more space available and help the home show better during open houses. Strongly consider any suggestions your agent makes for slight cosmetic fixes or staging.
How to buy in a buyers’ market
Who doesn’t love being a buyer in a buyers’ market? You have lots to choose from and the full attention of sellers.
Take your time to see as many homes as possible to get the lay of the land. Focus on the most motivated sellers, as this is where you may uncover the best values. If a handful of homes meet your needs, ask questions such as: Why is the seller selling? What is the seller’s time frame for moving? How long has the seller lived in the home? You can ask these questions through your agent or by asking the seller’s agent directly.
The more you ask, the more you may uncover just who is the most motivated seller. Be open to taking on some renovation work, because that can add value to the property. The market will eventually turn, and there’s no better feeling than knowing that you bought low, with some bonus equity.
How to sell in a sellers’ market
Along the West Coast, sellers are being overwhelmed with buyers at open houses and private showings. Demand is high, and things are moving quickly. But you still have to work at selling. If you don’t clean the home or present it to the market in its best possible light, you may leave money on the table for the buyer who is desperate for a “deal.”
If you have the luxury of receiving multiple offers, focus on the best buyer and the best terms and not so much on the bottom line. You want the buyer who is going to close. The last thing you want is to have to go back on the market. When this happens, everyone will wonder what’s wrong with your home.
It could be that the buyer got cold feet or remorse. If you aren’t sure who is the best buyer, ask your agent. The best buyer is the one who has seen the home multiple times, is pre-approved for a loan, has been in the market and has even lost out on recent home sales. This buyer is working with a local agent and committed to buying. Your agent will know who they are.