Alexandria Home Sellers and Home Buyers: Chicken or Egg?
Ironically, although this post was written just over a year ago, it is still as fresh and relevant as it was then. As an Alexandria VA real estate agent as well as a proud owner of 19 hens and a randy rooster, this is a question I ponder in not only in theory but literally, as well – particularly in today’s market.
Just as the burning question of “which came first – the chicken or the egg?” has been pondered through the ages, home buyers and sellers alike are asking this year’s burning real estate question, “buy first or sell first?”
It has been a challenging market for all concerned – agents are busier than ever, but it doesn’t mean they are selling more houses than ever. Quite the contrary, as Listing Agents we are oftentimes fielding endless phone calls and answering an avalanche of emails while evaluating multiple contracts for new listings, which were going under contract this spring quicker than we could get the brochures back from the printer. All signs of a lack of inventory in our market – we’re working harder than ever, but a house can only be sold to one person, leaving lots of disappointed would-be buyers out there.
As Buyer Agents, the spring was a sprint as we rushed from property to property, hoping to find “the one” for our clients. Of course, finding “the one” wasn’t the hard part – being successful in making the right offer was. In some cases, it took making a lot of phone calls and putting our feelers out to dig up unlisted properties where sellers were only “thinking” of selling.
So, as an Alexandria VA home buyer who also has a home to sell, what’s the best way to be successful in getting the home of your dreams?
Obviously, if you are able to secure a mortgage without selling your existing home first, that’s the holy grail. That allows you to simply purchase your new home when you find it, without juggling the sale of your current home.
Alas, that is not the situation in which most people find themselves, so let’s take a closer look at reality.
One BIG worry you may have is, “what if I sell first and have nowhere to go? I’ll be homeless!” And while that is a valid concern, it is almost impossible to buy a house in today’s market with a sale of home contingency – at least in Alexandria VA – particularly if you have specific needs in terms of location or property amenities and those needs are not easily met by existing inventory.
There are a couple of options that may work; since you will most likely be in the driver’s seat when it comes to selling your house (provided it’s in a location and price point that is in demand), you can request a home of choice contingency from YOUR buyers. Or, you can ask for a rent back from your buyers which will allow you to remain in the house for a few extra weeks while you get your ducks in a row for the purchase of your new property.
Finally, there is also the dreaded option of going into temporary housing; yes, it can be a royal pain, but it gives you the ultimate in flexibility and sometimes, being flexible on the settlement date is enough to get your offer accepted in a competitive situation.
While I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg, I can advise you on what your options are for selling and buying in the Alexandria VA housing market. Give me a call! I’ll even throw in a dozen farm fresh eggs.