Don’t Get Burned – Get a Home Inspection to Save Money on Your Next Purchase

Okay, you made one of the most important decisions in your life: you’re buying a home! You found your ideal home. It’s in your desired neighborhood, close to everything you love, you dig its design and feel, and you’re ready to finalize the deal.

But, whoa … wait a minute! Buying a home isn’t like buying a toaster. If you discover something’s wrong with your new home, you can’t return it for a refund or an even exchange. You’re stuck with your buying decision. Purchasing a home is an important investment and should be treated as such. Therefore, before finalizing anything, your “ideal” home needs an inspection to protect you from throwing your hard-earned money into a money pit.

A home inspection is a professional visual examination of the home’s roof, plumbing, heating and cooling system, electrical systems, and foundation.

There are really two types of home of inspections. There is a general home inspection and a specialized inspection. Most general inspections cost between $267 and $370. The cost of the specialized inspection varies from type to type. If the inspector recommends a specialized inspection, take that advice because buying a home is the single most important investment you’ll make and you want extra assurance that you’re making a wise investment.

By having your prospective new home inspected, you can:

  • Negotiate with the home seller and get the home sale-ready at no cost to you
  • Prevent your insurance rates from rising
  • Opt-out of the purchase before you make a costly mistake
  • Save money in the short and long run

How Much Money Can a Home Inspection Save You?

A home inspection helps to find potential expenses beyond the sales price, which puts homebuyers in a powerful position for negotiation. If there are any issues discovered during the home inspection, buyers can stipulate that the sellers either repair them before closing or help cover the costs in some other way. If the sellers do not want to front the money to complete the repairs, buyers could negotiate a drop in the overall sales price of the home!

Perhaps even more importantly, a home inspection buys you peace of mind. Your first days and months in a new home will set the tone for your life there, and you don’t want to taint that time with worries about hidden problems and potential money pits.

To help you understand how much money a home inspection can save you, here are some numbers from HomeAdvisor to drive the point home … so to speak.

Roof – Roofing problems are one of the most common issues found by home inspections. Roof repair can range between $316 and $1046, but to replace a roof entirely can cost between $4,660 and $8,950.

Plumbing – Don’t underestimate the plumbing. Small leaks can cause damage that costs between $1,041 and $3,488 to repair. Your home inspector will look for visible problems with the plumbing such as leaky faucets, water stains around sinks and the shower, and noisy pipes. Stains on walls, ceilings, and warped floors show plumbing problems.

Heating and Cooling – Ensuring the home’s heating and cooling system is working properly is very important. Your home inspector will make you aware of any problems with the existing system and let know you whether the system is past its prime and needs replacing. You don’t want to throw down $3,919 to replace an aged furnace. Nor do you want to spend $5,238 replacing an ill-working air conditioner. Replacing and repairing a water heater gets pricey too. Wouldn’t you rather use your savings for a vacation?

Electrical Systems – When thinking of the electrical system, no problem is better than even a small problem. Electrical problems might seem small, but they can blossom into thousand-dollar catastrophes. Make sure your home inspector examines the electric meter, wires, circuit breaker, switches, and the GCFI outlets and electrical outlets.

Foundation – If your home inspector sees that the house is sinking, that means water is seeping into the foundation; cracks in walls, sticking windows, and sagging floor also indicate foundational problems. The foundation is so important that if the general inspection report shows foundation problems, lenders will not lend money on the home until those issues are solved. Foundation repairs can reach as high as $5,880 to repair.

As you can see, a small investment of a few hundred dollars for a general home inspection can save you tons of money and future headaches. To save even more money, you might consider investing in a specialized home inspection as well. A specialized inspection gets down to the nitty-gritty of all the trouble spots the general home inspection might have located.

How Much Money Can a Specialized Inspection Save You?

A general home inspection can trigger a need for a specialized inspection because the general home inspector spotted something off about the roof, sewer system, the heating and cooling system, and the foundation. If humidity is high where you’re buying your home, a pest inspection is recommended. Usually, a pest inspection will check for mold as well as pests. Most homebuyers have a Radon test done to ensure air quality.

Roof – Roof specialists examine the chimney and the flashing surrounding it. They also look at the level of wear and tear of the roof. They can tell you how long the roof will last before a new one is needed. They’ll inspect the downspouts and gutters. The average cost of a roof inspection is about $223. Most roof inspections will cost between $121 and $324.

Sewer System – Making sure your sewer system has no problems should happen before the closing because what might look like a small problem can turn into a large problem in the future. If any issues pop up, you can negotiate with the seller about needed repairs or replacements before closing. Cost of inspection will vary; on the low side, it might cost you around $95, and on the high side, it might cost you $790. Compare these numbers to repairing a septic tank, which can cost, on average, $1,435 (though it could reach as high as $4,459), and you can see that the cost of an inspection is worth it when you catch the problem before you buy.

Heating and Cooling System – A HVAC specialist will check the ducts for blockage and for consistent maintenance of the unit. The repairs needed might be small or they might be big, but this small investment will save you headaches and lots of money down the road.

Foundation – A foundation specialist will pinpoint the exact problem with the foundation. The specialist will look at the grade or slope of the home. The ground should slope away from the home in all directions a half inch per foot. Most homeowners have spent between $1,763 and $5,880 to repair their foundation. And the average cost to re-slope a lawn is at $1,705. Most homeowners paid between $933 and $2,558 to re-slope their lawn.

Pest Inspection – Termites eat a home’s wood structure from inside out and can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home. Other pests can turn your dream home into a nightmare. Depending on the humidity of where you live, you should a pest/termite inspection every two years or so. You can start with your potential new home. Most inspections are extensive and cost between $109 and $281. The good news is that most pest management company will guarantee the past inspection if bugs show up.

Radon Test – Radon is a naturally occurring invisible odorless gas that is the second leading cause of cancer. A radon test is a good test to have done as a good habit. The cost of radon test is low and its cost varies from state to state. Here’smore information about Radon.

Steps You Can Take to Save Money Using a Home Inspection

To help yourself save with a home inspection, you will need to:

Attend the inspection – Attending the inspection is important because it’s an opportunity for you to ask questions.

Check utilities – Checking utilities let’s know the energy efficiency of your potential home.

Hire a Qualified Home Inspector – We can recommend home inspectors to you. You can compare our recommendation with all inspectors who belong to the American Society of Home Inspectors. While the decision of who you work with is always yours, we can educate you so that you make a wise homebuying decision.

 

Is Air Conditioning a Necessity or a Luxury?

In today’s world on the necessity side of the debate many health and labor organizations say that excessive heat is a big threat to many people in America and especially here in Texas.  The Centers for Disease Control reports that every year more than 600 people in the United States die from extreme heat.  They report that those who are at the greatest risk from heat related illness are adults 65 and older, people  with chronic medical conditions, infants and children, low income households, and outdoor workers. In fact, OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that every year thousands of American workers become sick from occupational heat exposure, and yes, some die.  The effects of extreme heat are well known in America, in fact, Federal workers can get a pay hike, known as an environmental differential if they’re assigned to work in high heat environments.  So here you have people who monitor the health of its citizens and also people who monitor the health of the workers across America.  You also have the American government recognizing the impact of high heat environments.

So you might wonder what the debate is.  Its sounds like air conditioning is considered a necessity.  At least for workers and the groups at risk for heat related illnesses. But what about the rest of us, is air conditioning really a necessity?  Or is it a luxury?  Some say that air conditioning is causing major damage to the environment by introducing tons of greenhouse gases as properties, homes, and businesses are being air conditioned.  A debate in the New York Times illustrated this.  Author Stan Cox saying a house full of refrigerated air is a manufactured necessity, not a real one like food or water.  Also, architect Steve Bodine says AC has made builders and architects’ lazy because they just air condition a house instead of trying to use passive cooling techniques like shade, cross ventilation, porches, shutters, and more.  Some say that air conditioning is making us soft and that we should try being more rugged instead.

Of course on the pro AC side, lead certified engineer Ed Bosco says AC is a necessary luxury.  As he puts it, air conditioning puts us in control of our comfort and frees us from the discomfort, risk, and uncertainty of the weather.

It’s an interesting debate and one worth exploring.  But for those who believe AC is just a luxury certainly have an uphill battle.  The United States Energy Information Agency says AC is now standard in American homes.  They report 87% of houses in the US now have air conditioning.

For home owners it really comes down to your own individual decisions.  Use air conditioning all the time or maybe just on the hottest days or never at all. Yep, that’s one of the best things about being a home owner, because while the whole world debates issues like whether AC is a necessity or a luxury, home owners can make up their own minds.  They can decide what’s best for them, their family, and their home as they stay cool this summer.

How Strong is Your Credit?

Get Your Credit Score in Shape Before Buying a Home

Cleaning up your credit is essential before you make any major financial moves. Having a bad score can hurt your chances of being able to open a credit card, apply for a loan, purchase a car, or rent an apartment.

It is especially important to have clean credit before you try to buy a home. With a less-than-great score, you may not get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you can’t get a mortgage, you may only be able to buy a home if you can make an all-cash offer.

Or if you do get pre-approval, you might get a higher mortgage rate, which can be a huge added expense. For example, if you have a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of $100,000 and you get a 3.92% interest rate, the total cost of your mortgage will be $170,213. However, if your interest rate is 5.92%, you’ll have to spend $213,990 for the same mortgage  – that’s an extra $43,777 over the life of the loan! If you had secured the lower mortgage rate, you could use that additional money to fund a four-year college degree at a public university.

So now that you know how important it is to maintain a good credit score, how do you start cleaning up your credit? Here, we’ve collected our best tips for improving your score.

Talk to a loan professional

You can protect your score from more damage by getting a loan professional to check your credit score for you. A professional will be able to guide you to whether your score is in the ‘good’ range for home buying. Plus, every time that you request your own credit score, the credit companies record the inquiry, which can lower your score. Having a professional ask instead ensures that you only record one inquiry. Once you know your score, you can start taking action on cleaning up your credit.

Change your financial habits to boost your score

What if your score has been damaged by late payments or delinquent accounts? You can start repairing the damage quickly by taking charge of your debts. For example, your payment history makes up 35% of your score according to myFICO. If you begin to pay your bills in full before they are due, and make regular payments to owed debts, your score can improve within a few months.

Amounts owed are 30% of your FICO score. What matters in this instance is the percentage of credit that you’re currently using. For example, if you have a $5000 limit on one credit card, and you’re carrying a balance of $4500, that means 90% of your available credit is used up by that balance. You can improve your score by reducing that balance to free up some of your available credit.

Length of credit history counts for 15% of your FICO score. If you’re trying to reduce debt by eliminating your credit cards, shred the card but DO NOT close the account. Keep the old accounts open without using them to maintain your credit history and available credit.

Find and correct mistakes on your credit report

How common are credit report mistakes? Inaccuracies are rampant. In a 2012 study by the Federal Trade Commission, one in five people identified at least one error on their credit report. In their 2015 follow-up study, almost 70% thought that at least one piece of previously disputed information was still inaccurate.

Go through each section of your report systematically, and take notes about anything that needs to be corrected.

Your personal information

Start with the basics: often overlooked, one small incorrect personal detail like an incorrect address can accidently lower your score. So, before you look at any other part of your report, check all of these personal details:

  • Make sure your name, address, social security number and birthdate are current and correct.
  • Are your prior addresses correct? You’ll need to make sure that they’re right if you haven’t lived at your current address for very long.
  • Is your employment information up to date? Are the details of your past employers also right?
  • Is your marital status correct? Sometimes a former spouse will come up listed as your current spouse.

Your public records

This section will list things like lawsuits, tax liens, judgments, and bankruptcies. If you have any of these in your report, make sure that they are listed correctly and actually belong to you.

A bankruptcy filed by a spouse or ex-spouse should not be on your report if you didn’t file it. There shouldn’t be any lawsuits or judgments older than seven years, or that were entered after the statute of limitations, on your report.  Are there tax liens that you paid off that are still listed as unpaid, or that are more than seven years old? Those all need to go.

Your credit accounts

This section will list any records about your commingled accounts, credit cards, loans, and debts. As you read through this section, make sure that any debts are actually yours.

For example, if you find an outstanding balance for which your spouse is solely responsible, that should be removed from your report. Any debts due to identity theft should also be resolved. If there are accounts that you closed on your report, make sure they’re labeled as ‘closed by consumer’ so that it doesn’t look like the bank closed them.

Your inquiries

Are there any unusual inquiries into your credit listed in this section? An example might be a credit inquiry when you went for a test drive or were comparison shopping at a car dealer. These need to be scrubbed off your report.

Report the dispute to the credit agency

If there are major mistakes, you can take your dispute to the credit agencies. While you could send a letter, it can be much faster to get the ball rolling on resolving a mistake by submitting your report through the credit agency’s website. Experian, Transunion and Equifax all have step-by-step forms to submit reports online.

If you have old information on your report that should have been purged from your records already, such as a debt that has already been paid off or information that is more than 7 years old, you may need to go directly to the lender to resolve the dispute.

Follow up

You must follow up to make sure that any mistakes are scrubbed from your reports. Keep notes about who you speak to and on which dates you contacted them. Check back with all of the credit reporting companies to make sure that your information has been updated. Since all three companies share data with each other, any mistakes should be corrected on all three reports.

If your disputes are still not corrected, you may have to also follow up with the institution that reported the incident in the first place, or a third-party collections agency that is handling it. Then check again with the credit reporting companies to see if your reports have been updated.

If you can keep on top of your credit reports on a regular basis, you won’t have to deal with the headaches of fixing reporting mistakes. You are entitled to a free annual credit report review to make sure all is well with your score. If you make your annual credit review part of your financial fitness routine, you’ll be able to better protect your buying power and potentially save thousands of dollars each year.

How to clean up your credit now

Does your credit score need a boost so you can buy a home? Get in touch with me. I can connect you with the right lending professionals to help you get the guidance you need.

It’s All About You

In past blogs I’ve talked about everyone involved in every transaction you do.  From the REALTOR, to the Lender, to the Inspector, the Appraisers, the Stagers, and on and on. There’s a lot, but I wanted to talk about the one person I haven’t talked about yet.  That is – Y-O-U! That’s right, you.  There wouldn’t even be a deal if you weren’t there.  The fact is, in every real estate transaction, it’s all about you. Whether you’re the buyer or the seller, it’s your deal.  It’s not just because you’re buying or selling a house, and it’s not just because you’re the client.  It’s also because every decision in the transaction is yours to make.   Now everyone involved plays a huge role, but for the most part, everybody else’s role is about giving you information, so you can make those decisions based on fact.

Let’s look at that, starting with the REALTOR.  If you’re buying, your REALTOR will show you homes you can afford in the areas you want to live.  They’ll tell you which prices are high, which are low, and which are right on the money.  They’ll discuss the condition, the features, and the pros and cons of each house.  They’ll examine the comparable properties nearby, what’s sold, for how much, and what did not sell.  That’s solid data, which helps you decide which house to buy.

If you’re selling, it’s the same drill.  Your REALTOR will give you data about the market.  About comparable home sales, about today’s buyers, and about your house, what’s good and what’s not so good.  What you can do to make it appeal to more buyers and how much to list your house for.  Again, solid data, which will help you decide exactly how to sell your house.  That’s just the beginning, your REALTOR will continue to provide solid information and market data throughout the entire transaction.  But again, every decision is yours.

The same dynamic happens with every other member of your team as well.  The Stager says they can either rearrange your existing furniture or bring in brand new rented furniture to make your house shine.  The decision is yours.

The home Inspector says the place needs a new roof, as the buyer you’ll decide whether to fight for it.  If you’re the seller, you’ll decide whether to pay for it.

The Lender tells you that if you pay a few points you can buy down the interest rate.  The decision is yours.

It even happens at the closing table, the title company will ask you if you want your profits wired into your bank account or whether you want a check.  The decision is yours, but do you really want to walk around with $100,000 check in your pocket?  It’s not a great idea, but still, the decision is yours.

You’re the boss and that’s exactly why it’s so great to have your very own real estate dream team.  They will provide information, data, and the facts and figures involved so that every decision you make in the biggest transaction of your life will be based on cold, hard facts.  And that is a dream come true.

How to Amp Up The Resale Value of Your Home

Whether you’re putting your home on the market this year or in the next five years, it is a smart decision to start building your home’s resale value now. Here are some ways to create a comfortable home while making it easier to put more money into your bank account on closing day.

Small Maintenance and Repairs

If you think that home maintenance on the weekends is a low priority, think again. The small chores you do around your home prevents it from losing value. Neglecting small maintenance and repairs causes 10% of your home’s value to walk out your door and slip through your windows. Most appraisers claim that homes showing little to no preventative maintenance can depreciate from $15,000 to $20,000!

Preventative maintenance can also actively increase your home’s resale value — according to a recent study, by about 1% per year! Also, because homebuyers generally notice any repairs needed upon buying a new home, proactive maintenance lets the homebuyer know that he or she will not have to spend extra money to maintain the basics. This makes your home more attractive, and thus more likely to get higher priced offers.

Remodeling Ideas and Tips That Work

Studies show that a home valued at $150,000 could increase its value between $8,300 and $19,000 with the addition of landscaping. These studies also note that positive landscaping can reduce the amount of time your home spends on the market!

Changing out the doors of your home is also generally a smart design choice. Lately, fiberglass and steel doors are a coveted aesthetic by homebuyers. A steel door costs $1,335 but has a whopping 91% return on investment. A fiberglass door, on the other hand, costs about $3,126 with an 82.3% return on investment. Likewise, a new fiberglass or steel garage door distinguishes your home from the rest on your block and provides a 91.5% return on a $1,652 investment.

Finally, matte paint finishes are trending this year because of their transitional qualities. With a matte finish, your potential homebuyer can easily match his or her stainless steel or black and white appliances. It’s touches like these that make your home appealing to a wide variety of homebuyers, and that drives up its resale value.

Your Needs and Buyers’ Wants

On that note, if you need to renovate your home, be sure to consider how those changes will affect its appeal to future buyers. Knowing design trends will give you the opportunity to make changes to your home based on where your needs and your potential buyer’s desires intersect, thus increasing your property’s resale value drastically.

Designers and design websites provide great ideas when you’re brainstorming home renovations. Keep in mind as you research, however, that you don’t want to sacrifice your needs for a comfortable home just for the sake of what you think a future buyer will want!

Therefore, before you begin making any changes to your home, consult your real estate agent. Real estate agents, because we are constantly working with new buyer clients, have insider insight into what home buyers are looking for now and in the future. We’ll be able to help you make smart choices when remodeling or renovating your home.

If you think you might want to remodel or renovate your home in the near future, or if you are just curious about other ways you can increase its resale value, please reach out to me!

 

How to Buy a Home: 7 Tips and Tricks from Real Estate Insiders

No matter if you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market, there are a few critical steps you can take to make a smarter purchase. Since buying a home is likely the biggest single investment you will ever make, being prepared will help you make a better purchase. Here are our best tips to buying a home.

 

Know your buying power

What is your buying power? It is the combination of your credit-worthiness and how much you can realistically pay for a home.

First, you need to understand the hidden costs of buying a home. You will need to save not only for the down payment of your home — which is typically between 10% – 20% of the offer price — but also for any additional transaction fees, such as transfer tax, PMI, title insurance, and legal fees.

Then you need to know what you can realistically afford each month to understand how much house you can buy. Your mortgage rate will depend on your creditworthiness — if you have a high credit score, your lender will likely approve you for a lower mortgage rate, which can save you thousands of dollars per year in interest.

How much of your budget should go to your monthly home costs? According to SmartAssets, you can use the 36% rule as a rough guideline. This means that your monthly obligation shouldn’t be more than 36% of your monthly gross income.

A loan professional can help you figure out how much house you can afford.

 

Fix your credit with the help of a loan professional

According to CreditKarma, a good credit score is usually 720 or above. You want to clean up your credit as soon as you can, and definitely before you go to a lender for a loan preapproval.

When you apply for your loan pre-approval, you don’t want to have anything to hide on your application. So don’t lower your credit score by doing anything that will originate more inquiries into your credit. For example, don’t open any new credit cards. Also, don’t omit any debts or loans when you apply. If the loan officer discovers them in the application process, they may deny you a pre-approval.

Get a loan professional to check your credit score for you. A professional can give you a clearer idea if your score is in the ‘good’ range, or if you need to do some credit cleanup before getting a mortgage preapproval.

 

Work with a knowledgeable buyer’s agent

Do you understand what kind of market you are buying into? Even within a city’s limits, there can be micro markets that are increasing or decreasing in value.

That’s why it’s important to hire a highly competent real estate agent who knows the specific market. You want to make sure that the professional who you’re working with really understands what the market is like and will help you find the home that you desire.

How can you tell if your agent knows the market? See if they can provide you with a buyer’s market analysis.

A buyer’s market analysis report outlines which neighborhoods are still up and coming — with potential for increased property value — versus those that have peaked with inflated home prices. Having this analysis at your fingertips will help you know if a home’s list price is above comparable properties so you don’t overpay for a home.

 

Don’t try to time the market…

Even in a hot market, there’s never a perfect time to buy a home. It can take a while to know exactly what you like, and you may have to look at 10 or more homes before you can recognize what suits your lifestyle best. While you’re shopping, take photos of your favorite properties and the details that you liked the best so that you can remember what you liked.

Another good reason to slow down the buying process: you might find a better deal if you do. Investigate expired listings. Expired listings may have gone off the market because they didn’t get any offers at the listed price, so you may be able to underbid the original listing price. It’s not likely worth your time to look at FSBO (for sale by owner) listings, though. Since they are not represented by a professional, they are often overpriced.

When you start shopping, have a one-hour initial consultation with your realtor. Give them every single detail that you know about your lifestyle, buying power, needs, wants and desires for your home. The more detail you can provide, the easier it will be for them to help you find your future home. Your agent may also know of exclusive listings not available to the general public.

 

… But make the offer as soon as you find the right home

If you love it, make the offer. Otherwise, that dream home may disappear faster than you think, especially if you’re buying in a hot market.

Your buying agent should contact the listing agent before you submit an offer so that they can decide what’s important to include in the offer. If you’re serious about it, you want to increase the chances that your offer is accepted.

Show that you’re serious about the purchase by creating a buyer’s offer packet. It should include your lender’s preapproval letter, a screenshot of your down payment money in your bank account, and comps that support the rationalization of the offer you are presenting.

 

Get a home inspection

Once you’re in the negotiation process, it’s essential that you get a third-party inspector to run a thorough home inspection. The inspector will be looking for major structural issues, including problems with the foundation, plumbing, and electrical systems. Your inspector should be extra picky, pointing out the most minor faults.

Make sure to have the inspection conducted before it is too late to back out of a deal. If there are any major structural issues, you may be able to make the seller repair them as a contingency to solidifying your offer. Minor issues that you can repair on your own may be points for negotiating a lower offer.

 

Protect your credit before you close

Don’t raise any red flags with your creditworthiness in the weeks before closing. Any one of these moves could mean that you’re denied the loan and the deal falls through — even if you’ve already been preapproved!

  • Keep your spending to a minimum and don’t make any major purchases before closing — that includes buying furniture, or a car, truck, or van, or any excessive charges on your credit card.
  • Keep your bank accounts stable. Don’t change banks, spend any of the money you have set aside for closing, or make any large deposits to your accounts without checking with your loan officer first.
  • Keep your employment situation stable — do not change jobs, quit your job, or become self-employed. Any sudden change in your income can have that preapproval offer rescinded.
  • Do not cosign a loan for anyone. It will open an inquiry into your credit and add to your debt, which could raise your mortgage rate and cost you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Looking for a home in our area? Let us help you find the home of your dreams. We’re well versed in the our local real estate market, and we can provide you with a buyer’s market analysis to help you find the right neighborhood for you. Contact one of our trusted agents today.

 

 

How to Stay Out Of a Hotel

That’s right, how to stay in your own place and not be a short term renter.  I’m talking about home sellers.  Because in today’s market many homes sell fast. You might put your house on the market and get an offer that same day.  If you like the offer and you take it, you’re headed to the closing table.  But, do you already have your next house lined up? Because that could take a lot more time than you think.  So there you are, you’ve sold one place and you don’t have another one under contract.  It’s time to look into what, month-to-month renting, long term hotel stays, time to ask your friends if you can move in for a month, time to panic? I hope not, but there are ways to avoid that situation and it’s all about carefully planning every step so you don’t end up in that hotel.

First, talk with your REALTOR.  They’ll know how long it takes to sell a house in your neighborhood.  That’s good intel.  They’ll also know how long it takes to buy a home.  Talk to a REALTOR about where you plan to buy about whether there are enough homes for sell.  If so, you can probably relax.  If however, inventory is tight you need to get ready to buy right away.  The first step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage on that next house, get that all lined up.  Now in some markets your REALTOR can help you prepare an estimated net sheet on the house you’re selling.  So you’ll have a pretty good idea on how much you can put down on the next place.

So get the mortgage on your next home lined up first.  At the same time get your current house ready to sell.  Have your REALTOR tell you what needs to be done to bring in the maximum profit in the minimum time.  Get that place in tip top shape, already for the “For Sale” sign.

Then ask your REALTOR if you should go house hunting first or should you put up the For Sale first?  Again, there’s no one answer for every market out there, but your REALTOR knows your market.  They’ll give you advice based on the current market conditions and they can tell you whether it’s best to start looking first or to list your house first.  Or maybe do both at the same time.  But remember you’ll probably have more power as a seller than as a buyer.  Now you can use that power to your advantage.  For instance, if you list your home and you get a fast offer, you can specify that closing will be 45 to 60 days out.  Hopefully, that will be enough time to get you into your next place.  You can also ask for a home of choice contingency, in which you accept the buyers offer subject to finding your next house.  If your market is red hot, that might work.

Now on the buyer’s side you will probably have less control.  You might have to move faster and have fewer contingencies than you’re accustomed to.  But, even though the seller holds most of the cards, they’ll probably be willing to work with you.  As long as what you’re asking for doesn’t cost them money or time.

Again, the goal here is to sell one place and move into the next without moving into a hotel.  But remember one thing, if you sell your current house for so much money that you’re willing to move out before you find another place – well, there are worse things than a month of room service.