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Ask McEnearney: How can I buy a house before selling my current one?


This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Peter Crouch of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Peter at 703-244-4024 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: How can I buy a house before selling my current one?

Answer: After skipping a year, the real estate market is playing out its usual late summer to fall softness. It’s hard to call it a slowdown since sales in many areas remain brisk. Last year, however, during the COVID-19 rush to buy social distancing via one’s home, we did not have this traditional softness. So, what does that mean for people who are considering selling a home?

We have all heard about “low inventory,” meaning fewer than average homes on the market. Sellers have been reluctant to put their homes up for sale, wondering how they will manage the timing and contingencies as they become potential buyers. As a buyer, the market has demanded they have no contingency on the sale of a prior house — how do they buy without having first sold? They are also bombarded with TV commercials and mail solicitations about selling their home directly to one of the “flippers” who buys homes quickly in any condition. So, the dual issues for sellers have been the prospect of becoming a buyer, plus the issue of what to do if their home is not perfectly market-ready.

These two issues have recently been addressed. First, in order to become a cash-ready buyer, sellers can now sell their home to an intermediary, free up their cash and stay in their house for up to 12 months while they shop for a new home. This is essentially fast and easy “bridge financing.”

There is now also a platform to seek bids from the “flippers” so you know what they are really offering — and can weigh that against selling with full market exposure. As experienced real estate brokers, we have always assisted sellers with the preparation of their homes. We have a stable of great contractors who can spruce up a house for market. Many of them will hold financing until settlement. We have always believed, and still do, that some prep and full market exposure is the best option for our seller clients. For houses that need major work, however — and where sellers are really considering the flippers — having a platform to check multiple flippers against full market exposure truly gives sellers all the options.

These two seller options are part of the McEnearney Advantage program. In addition to our traditional top-flight service, we can now add both modern bridge financing and a platform to evaluate online or flipper offers.

So, if the idea of selling your home has been too daunting, let us give you all the options. Having all the options means you are both a fully-informed seller and an unpressured buyer. Best of both worlds.

Pete Crouch is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, which means he is well-versed in all aspects of moving as we age. His own downsize gave him tremendous insights into what is involved, from emotional matters to real estate considerations. Pete is a Board Member of At Home in Alexandria (AHA), our local Senior Village, and was the 2018 National Recipient of the “Outstanding Service Award” by the National Association of Realtors for his work with Senior Moves. Text 703-244-4024 or email [email protected] for a copy of his Downsize Alexandria! Booklet about living more simply in Greater Alexandria.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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