Should They Stay or Go?
My wife and I entered into a contract to buy a townhouse with a contingency: If the seller could not find a suitable house to purchase, she could cancel the deal. We then put our house on the market, and received an offer above asking price. Alas, the seller of the townhouse did not find a new residence and canceled the contract. (She insists that she eventually wants to sell to us, but our lawyer worries that she could drag this out indefinitely.) So we are faced with a decision: Should we accept the offer on our house without a home lined up to buy? Or should we take our house off the market and relist it in the spring? Waiting feels like a gamble: Interest rates could rise, and we might not get as good an offer again.
Buying or selling your home is often a gamble, and you frequently have scant control over the cards you are dealt. So before you make your next move, answer this basic question: Why, exactly, do you want to sell?
If you want to sell because you want to live in a townhouse like the one you recently found, know that another one might not be available in the immediate future (and the original seller may not relist her home). “The real question you have to ask yourself is: ‘How much do I really want this townhouse?’ ” said Vanessa Pollock, a Maplewood, N.J., sales agent for Keller Williams.
But if you are tempted to sell because you have received an offer too good to refuse, then now is the time to act. You might not receive a comparable offer the next time you list your house. “We know what the market is now,” said Allison Maguire, a Halstead Property sales agent in Montclair, N.J. “The spring market is an unknown.”
Decide how flexible you are about the future. If you are willing to buy something other than a townhouse or could live in a rental for a few months, take the offer. After all, that townhouse is not the only home for sale in New Jersey — and you would not be the first person to sell your home without another one lined up. “The fall market is a strong one, with inventory being replenished daily,” Ms. Maguire said.
But if your heart is set on the townhouse or one like it, hold out for what you really want. If you play your cards right, you might even fetch a higher price next spring.
Saturday, October 24, 2015