Many of you reading this column might like to sell your present home and purchase a better property. Although this thought is desirable, it seems like a big undertaking and it may not be very clear which steps you must take. Below is the proper sequence of events as I have seen with my forty years of experience guiding many clients through the process without regret.
Interview and ask at least one Realtor to help you determine the present market value of your existing home. You need to have a clear understanding of what services they can offer you and how much their services will cost. You will also need to know how saleable this house is and how much money you may need to spend on this property to help you get the highest possible sales price. After deducting sales costs and the mortgage amount you owe, you will have an idea as to how much equity you have available to use as a down payment of the next property.
Consult with a reliable mortgage lender in your area. Tell the lender the amount of cash you anticipate receiving from the sale of your home and ask for an approximation of the amount of mortgage you can qualify for on the next home at today’s interest rates. One good option for selecting a lender is to ask your Realtor for a list of reliable mortgage lenders that they have a good working relationship with, who can guide you. Ultimately, your Realtor and lender need to work together to get the job done and having a direct line to the lender by your Realtor can be crucial.
AVAILABILITY OF SUITABLE PROPERTIES
Though a vast majority of today’s buyers will go to the Internet to get an idea of what is available, you will need the services of a Realtor to obtain current information. Unfortunately, real estate search engines like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com will continue to feature properties as available long after receiving a contract, until the property is closed. Not only is their information not current, but it’s important to understand that they are in the business of collecting information, including yours and selling it to anyone who is willing to pay for it. A Realtor will help you discover if there are actual available homes that genuinely appeal to you in the price you can afford. This process will assure you that your expectations are realistic and that you are on the right track.
MAKE A DECISION
You now have the facts you need to make a solid decision. You can either find the house you want and make an offer to buy it or you can list your present home and await its sale before committing yourself on the next house.