Leave a Message

Thank you for your message. We will be in touch with you shortly.

How to Buy and Sell Philadelphia Real Estate Simultaneously

In much the same way as the rest of the country, Philadelphia's single-family housing market is on fire. As has been the case for much of the pandemic, demand remains exceedingly high throughout Philly's luxury markets. Even with interest rates showing signs of creeping back up from historical lows just a few months ago, motivated home shoppers remain undeterred.

Across the region, in practically every high-end neighborhood, competition is fierce. From charming Ardmore to the vibrant Northern Liberties to history-laden Washington Square West, quality properties appropriately priced are selling as quickly as they're listed.

Nothing unusual for the pandemic-driven market we still find ourselves in, right? It's great for sellers, challenging for buyers, and frenetic for all involved.

What happens, though, if you find yourself needing to engage in both sides of the transaction? First, reaping the benefits of the once-in-a-lifetime seller's market, then turning around and navigating a purchase process where buyers are at a distinct disadvantage?

Not exactly the ideal time to delve headfirst into the duality of selling and buying. 

A Common Endeavor in Challenging Times

According to data provided by the National Association of Realtors, three-fourths of home shoppers own a home at the same time they start shopping for a new one. It's a common practice to be sure, which, in more balanced markets, is a relatively straightforward process. Though it's rare to knock out both closings on the same day, in a less volatile market, dual transactions are often achieved within a week or even a few days of each other.

In more demanding markets, such as the one Philadelphia finds itself in now, it's a huge ask to land dual transactions within the same month, let alone the same week or days apart.

Why the difficulty? 

For starters, it's the simple dynamics of supply and demand. More buyers for fewer houses means you'll find a relatively straightforward path to selling your current home. If yours is an excellent home in a great neighborhood, you can expect it to sell quickly. Many local anecdotes feature homes under contract the day they're listed.

Once you sell, you become the buyer, competing with numerous others for that singular standout property. That particular process can take months before an offer is accepted.

The next stumbling block to concurrent deals is that you must wade through two sets of everything.

On the sales side, you're dealing with a buyer, the buyer's agent, your own listing agent, potentially a team of specialists working to market, stage, and prep your home to sell. Not to mention the inspectors and inspections that prove necessary to close a property (though based on the house you're selling, your position may be strong enough to entertain offers willing to forgo such formalities).

As a buyer, it's the opposite. Now you're the one who must parade through homes with your agent, put together an offer, and sort out the specifics of the transaction with a lender, title company, appraisers, inspectors, and maybe even contractors. 

On top of this, you might already have your current home under contract before making your own offer on a new property.

That said, if you aim to sell one property and simultaneously purchase another within the same timeframe, it will prove challenging and, yet, entirely possible.

Let's explore a few tips on how to buy and sell Philadelphia real estate simultaneously, so you get the most from both transactions.

Understand Your Current Circumstances

Prior to venturing down the path of selling your current property in favor of a new home, it's critical you take stock of your current position — financially and from a lifestyle perspective.

First, consider the possibility of having a new house under contract, barrelling towards a closing while your current home remains unsold. Based on the demand for the home you want to sell, this scenario is unlikely within the current market, however, it remains a contingency worth planning for.

Ask yourself, is a move really necessary at this point in time? Is it something you simply want to do, or do you and your personal or professional obligations require it?

Obviously, if a move is required, the question answers itself. However, if it's a more fundamental desire (new neighborhood, change of scenery, ready to trade up or down), examine the driving force for the move and if it's one worth making now.

Want or need, assess your financial capacity for possibly carrying two mortgages for an unspecified amount of time or taking on a potentially higher house note. To gauge your position, assess the following:

  • Does your current mortgage allow for a second mortgage, even if for a short period?
  • Does your current home first need to sell to generate the funds for a down payment or cash offer on the new property? 
  • Should your home sit on the market for any amount of time, could you afford dual mortgages? If yes, determine for just how long you could carry the arrangement before it became a financial burden. 

The goal is to take an honest look at your finances and determine if you can afford the greater financial burdens that simultaneous transactions might bring about. Even with a strong position, nobody wants to carry two house notes for longer than necessary. 

Prepare Your Listing Early

Simultaneous selling and buying is an exercise in agility. Think of the various moving parts for just one side of the transaction, then double it.

As a general rule, the buying side of the transaction is less cumbersome. Though the challenge of purchasing amidst meager inventory is daunting, effectively, you're touring homes and making offers. While the process may require you to make several offers before one is accepted, it remains pretty basic.

By contrast, selling necessitates you prep a single home to appeal to a broad swath of buyers. To get those buyers through the door and making offers, you must put a quality listing on the market as soon as possible. Timing is especially critical if your new home purchase is dependent on proceeds from the sale of your current home.  

To jumpstart the process, consider a property inspection to streamline the transaction window. Yes, a buyer will order their inspection (assuming you don't find an over-eager home shopper willing to forgo that step of the process), but a pre-listing inventory of potential issues allows you to identify items to repair or upgrade and possible pitfalls to closing a deal. It quickens not just your preparations but the negotiation process as well.

You'll acquire the same information as the buyer and remain one step ahead in how you approach negotiations. This limits the potential for surprises and delays when entering the closing stages of the sale.

Additionally, price your home to sell and sell fast.

The simultaneous sell-buy transaction often leads to a seller leaving money on the table during the first closing process. Getting less than expected for your current home leads to less flexibility and purchasing power. It's an avoidable complication that often stems from operating in a tight timeframe.

Steer clear of this trap, and price your home competitively. A reasonable price on a quality residence in Philly's current market will generate a ton of interest from a wide range of buyers. Even if that price starts at or just below market value, you'll entertain multiple competing offers well above that initial number. If the home is also in a fantastic location, it almost guarantees a bidding war.

Cash if You Can, Pre-Approval if You Can't

Cash sales and cash purchases are the pathways to stress-free property transactions. Cash minimizes delays and lessens the chance for a deal to fall through. It's also a surefire way to entice a discount from a motivated seller.

If you want a speedy sale for your current home and you're financially able to offer cash for your next property, you'll pull off the simultaneous real estate transaction with relative ease.

However, if you must take the more traditional financing route for your home purchase — or your listing only receives non-cash offers — seek out pre-approved loans in both scenarios.

Pre-approval effectively translates to the lender has already approved the property loan up to a specific price point. All that is left to decide is the final sales price. You'll still have to sort through the more time-consuming aspects of real estate — such as paperwork and inspections — but in the absence of cash, pre-approval allows you to sell and buy within a relatively short window.

If you're ready to explore the best of Philadelphia real estate, contact The Baer Group today to start your home selling or buying journey. From Bryn Mawr real estate to Chestnut Hills or Rittenhouse Square homes for sale, allow our team's years of experience and expertise to be your guide to the greater Philadelphia luxury real estate market.



Work With Us

With a unique blend of knowledge, expertise and experience, Daniel Baer Team will guide each Client through every home sale, purchase or lease with confidence.