5 Preparation Tips When Buying & Selling Two Homes Simultaneously

There’s nothing simple about buying a new home while also selling your existing home. The task becomes even more of a challenge in the incredibly tight Berkeley, Calif., housing market. There’s no denying that Berkeley is a desirable place to live, despite having an 80% higher cost of living than the rest of the nation. The beloved city is close to San Francisco and part of the San Francisco Bay area, which has ambiance in spades.

Once known for being the center of the counterculture hippie movement in the late 1960s, Berkeley is now one of the country's most expensive places to live. Today, 80% of Berkeley homes for sale sell above the listed price, sometimes by as much as 18%, according to the New York Times. That is the highest percentage sold above listing in the United States.

For someone seeking an exclusive property, the attention to detail the city pays to keep the area from becoming too commercialized makes Berkeley real estate even more desirable.

Can you cover both?

Attempting to buy and sell a home at the same time is a stressful game of musical chairs (make that musical mortgages), and having the funds to cover two mortgages at the same time temporarily can save you plenty of headaches.

In that best-case scenario, your purchase won’t necessarily be contingent on the immediate sale of your old home. In this seller’s market, your ideal option is to find your dream home and make an offer before selling your existing home.

Establishing your next residence, perhaps by shuffling some assets, will ease the stress of buying as you won’t feel pressured to buy just any available home if your current home sells before you’ve found a new place.

Because of the tight seller’s market, it may take time and offers on multiple homes before your Berkeley real estate offer is accepted. If you can firmly establish your new home before selling, you won’t have to worry about finding storage for your belongings or potentially living out of a hotel or short-term rental while you continue your home search.

Find a great real estate agent

To make the process easier, find a great real estate agent to help you prepare for buying and selling your properties. They may have the perfect home in their existing portfolio, or they might know of a property that is just about to hit the market and checks all your boxes.

While your agent can’t guarantee that your offer will be accepted, they can suggest how much over the asking price you might want to offer. They can help you transition by handling paperwork and communicating with other agents to find the best property available that meets your needs.

While searching for a new home, you also want to prepare your existing home for sale.

Compass agents are especially invaluable because they give you access to Compass Concierge, a program that covers small and large remodeling projects — floors, roof replacement, landscaping, kitchen, and bath revamping — to make your home turnkey ready. They also offer staging services, which create a canvas to inspire buyers and can raise sale prices by as much as 15%.

By upping the wow factor and erasing any issue that could deter a potential buyer, Compass Concierge speeds up the selling process by adding value to the home and bringing peace of mind to potential buyers. The costs are built into your selling price.

Tips to speed up the process

Consider clauses

Suppose you can’t cover two mortgages on Berkeley real estate and want to use the revenue from selling your existing home to make a down payment. In that case, your agent can help you develop strategies to navigate a seller’s market.

When dealing with luxury properties, a concurrent closing clause or contingency clause, which says that the purchase of your new home is contingent on the sale of your old home, is more likely to be accepted, even in such a tight market as Berkeley’s. A contingency will protect your funds if you cannot sell your existing home and will also allow you to back out of the sale if you can’t sell your home within the required time. Your real estate agent can negotiate terms and juggle timelines, making it possible to close on the sale of your existing home one day and purchase your new home the next.

Don’t slack on your paperwork

The buyer, seller, title company, and escrow company must be on board for a sale to be completed. According to this Washington Post article, having all the paperwork required at the ready will make the process as seamless as possible.

Sell, then rent back your home while you shop

A rent-back provision is another option that can create a buffer while you consider available Berkeley homes for sale — if your home’s buyers are willing to allow it. In a seller’s market, paying rent to the new owners while finding a new place that better suits your needs is a provision that might work, as buyers understand the need to be accommodating if they want to buy your home badly enough.

Ask for an extended closing

An extended closing could also buy you enough time to sell your existing home before purchasing a new one, although there is still a risk that you might not find a new home within the existing timeline.

Limit transactions

Using the same title company and escrow company for selling and buying Berkeley real estate, a move that reduces the number of required financial transactions, can make the process easier and speed things up. Since both companies have plenty of experience handling simultaneous sales, they will work hard to make yours happen as smoothly as possible.

Ready to get started on the buying and/or selling process? Reach out to trusted Berkeley real estate agent Cynthia Speers for expert guidance.

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