Monday, September 24, 2007

Besides Home Staging, What Can You Do?

First, a note about home staging vacant houses. On the final film day for Flip That House, we didn't have the main bedroom staged. After, we needed a guest bedroom so we added furniture to the bedroom. The small room looked larger!

Here are some tips for sellers who found a house they want to move on to:

Problem: You've Found Your Dream House but Your Old Home Hasn't Sold
- Besides Home Staging, What Can You Do?

It's a situation more and more Americans are likely to find themselves in as more homes come on the market but are taking longer to sell. What can you do if you locate your dream home before you've sold your current one? You have several options.

Your first option would be to get more aggressive about selling your current house, especially if you live in an area where lots of homes have been sitting on the market for considerable lengths of time. You could offer great terms, help with financing and closing costs, a lower price, or anything else that may help sell your old home faster. Talk to your agent about your options for moving your home quicker.

In the meantime, you could make an offer on your dream home contingent upon the sale of your current house. The slower the market is in your area, the better your chances of finding out that a seller is willing to give you a reasonable opportunity to sell your home and free up the capital you'll need to buyer theirs.

You also have a couple of financing options that might help if the seller is unwilling to sign a contingency agreement. First, you could tap into a home equity line of credit based on the equity you've built up in your current house. Interest rates are still fairly reasonable for such lines of credit, and they're relatively easy to obtain. Be careful to read the fine print, however, because some of these types of loans can carry prepayment penalties or exit fees.

Finally, you could take out a bridge loan to fill the gap. They're harder to find, so be prepared to have to make a few calls, and the interest rates are generally higher, but if you can prove to a lender that you can make both your current mortgage payment and the payment on your new home until you manage to get your old home sold. They often carry up front fees and points that can equal up to two percent of the amount you want to borrow, as well, so you may want to save this as your third option.

As the housing market continues to slow, more and more homeowners are going to find themselves in similar situations. That can mean good or bad news, depending upon how you choose to look at it. For instance, if the seller of your dream home refuses to sign a contingency offer, consider walking away from the sale--at least for the time being. As more and more houses come onto the market, you're going to see an even wider array of "dream homes" for sale--many of them with much more motivated sellers. You may even find that the dream home you initially walked away from becomes available to you later, if the seller becomes frustrated enough to come back to you with an offer--perhaps with an even better price than you had originally offered.

In the meantime, you'll have that much more time to sell your own house, which will allow you to avoid having to borrow more money just to get into your new home.

Home Staging with Design Psychology

Beyond Home Staging: Flip That House with FAUX

Copyright © 2007 Jeanette Fisher