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Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 03/07/2013

What to do if you are afraid to sell your home because you might not find one to buy

We received so many questions for our online chat on Tuesday that we couldn’t get to them all. If you missed it, you can read a transcript here.

We asked a Jennifer Smira, a real estate agent with Lindsay Reishman Real Estate in the District, to answer a few of the questions we didn’t get to from the chat. Here are her responses:

Q: About 6 1/2 years ago, just before the market fell apart, my spouse and I left the D.C. area for work and family reasons. We were able to sell our condo in Glover Park after a couple months (6 months earlier it would have sold within a week) at a profit. We are thinking of moving back and will be looking for a SFH in the Takoma Park/Silver Spring area most likely. What do you think has changed most about the housing market in the D.C. area in that time? What has remained the same?

Right around the time you sold, I happened to purchase my first house on Capitol Hill.  At that time, interest rates were higher, however, lending was more flexible.  We jumped on our house the first day on the market and missed out on three others previously. Sound familiar?  Yes! 

 D.C.’s population continues to increase, becoming one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.; inventory is at an all time low (supply), and the demand is high because rates are at an all-time low. The market has become even more competitive, which means from a buyer prospective you need to have your ducks in a row. Speak with a lender and know your budget so you are fully equipped when you see “the one!” 

Q: I have owned my row house in the Brightwood section of upper NW DC for 21 years and have done a complete renovation. It will be paid off in 5 1/2 years. I would like to sell and buy a detached home in my neighborhood but I am afraid to sell. I have no doubt that my house will sell quickly but after selling I will be thrown into the shark pit with everyone who is out here buying. Frankly, that fear keeps me right where I am. Is that uncommon in the Washington D.C. area?

This is a common concern and can be remedied! Remember, you are in control, if a buyer really wants your house, they should be willing to work with you. Lending guidelines prevent post settlement occupancy agreements longer than 60 days, however, in this case you could exercise your right to a “Home of Choice Contingency,” also called “Contingent on the Seller Purchasing another Home.” This clause allows the seller to set the date of ratification, which gives the seller time to obtain a ratified contract to purchase another home. The provision will terminate at the deadline unless the seller declares the contract null and void by delivering notice to the buyer by the deadline. This allows you to put your house on the market, obtain a contract, then begin your search. Then you just need to be zen! 

By  |  05:30 AM ET, 03/07/2013

 
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