Putting the Cart Before The Horse

Cartb4thehorse2I’ve been working with buyers who have been trying to decide whether to make a “home sale contingency” offer on a property in Woodbridge VA or wait until they have a contract on their current house.  This isn’t the first time I have had buyers who needed to make this decision.

It is a tough call to decide whether buyers should wait until they have a contract on their current home or go ahead and make an offer.  Both scenarios have pros and cons.  When everything in Northern Virginia was flying off the market it was nerve wracking to write a non-contingent contract, even when the buyers had a house to sell, but you were fairly sure that their home would sell just as fast as the home they wanted to buy.  In a sellers market they wouldn’t accept a contingent contract for any reason because they knew another buyer was just around the corner.

However, in our current buyers market in Prince William County sellers might be more likely to consider a home sale contingency.  For a seller accepting a contingent offer means that their home is technically off the market.  Even though our local MLS system has a special code, shown as CONT/KO (contract with kick-out) most agents only search for properties listed as ACTIVE and so the CONT/KO properties are often overlooked which lowers the chance of a second offer coming in.

When I am working with buyers who wants to make an offer with a home sale contingency I make sure that they have their financing in order and that consider making an offer close to the list price (if it is on target) and that the contingency period is for a reasonable amount of time.  

This is where the knowledge and negotiating skills of the agent representing you is critical in making sure that as a buyer you  have a reasonable chance of getting the contingent offer accepted and that you are protected during the contingency period.

Talking through the risks of either choice is important before you make the final decision.  Different buyers will make a different choice based on their circumstances.  Working with an agent who is representing your best interests in either scenario is important to help you to better understand the current market conditions, talk through all of the options with your agent will help you make the best decision for your circumstances.  Every deal is different and what was right for someone else might not be right for you.


3 thoughts on “Putting the Cart Before The Horse

  1. I agree — the order of selling and buying has become an interesting debate with a changing market. In representing several buyers in the past few months who cannot buy without selling, we have presented several offers with home sale contingencies. Interestingly, we have encountered quite a few sellers who have decided to refuse a contingent offer because of their concerns of how long the prospective buyer’s property might be on the market before it sells.

  2. Hi Cindy! Good post with some great information. I have been seeing this a lot more lately in our current market. 🙂

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