Category Archives: Ask Betsy

Q. I’m trying to buy a larger home but need my current house to sell before I can buy. The house I want to buy is vacant and worth about double my current house. Any suggestions on how I can do this?

  1. If your house has not sold, you have a few options. You can do a bridge loan, a product that is designed “to bridge” you from one home to the next. You would still need to qualify for the total amount of the two loans but the product makes the payments lower until your current house is sold. You could also rent out your home to give you the cash flow to buy another house. Another creative approach is to have the seller of the house you want to buy, buy your house. While it may seem crazy, it can actually be a “win-win.” The seller of the house you want would be getting half the equity of his current home and getting a much smaller house to have to sell. Smaller houses sell more quickly than larger homes because of the larger buying pool, they are also less costly to maintain and have lower taxes.

Q. I just went under contract on my house and am now realizing that, with closing costs, I have to bring $20K to closing. I don’t have this cash and am not sure what my options are.

A. It’s unfortunate that you were not made aware of your closing costs upfront. You do have a few options. First is to try to secure a loan. The most common source is to go to your bank and, if you have good credit, they may be able to grant you an unsecured loan. If that doesn’t work, some sellers try to find a family or friend who is willing to hold the loan for them. I recommend having an attorney draw up the terms. If these options don’t work, as a last resort, I would have your Realtor go to the buyer’s agent and see if the buyer is willing to participate in a short sale. This will require additional paperwork and time so the buyer may not be interested in waiting but it’s worth asking. Otherwise, you will likely have to default on the contract.

Q. What is the probability of my house selling if I put it on the market?

A. A detached house in Alachua County has a 72% chance of selling (number of homes sold divided by number of home coming onto the market in the last six months). Compare this to vacant land which has a 32% probability of selling. However, the probability depends on many things including location, size of home and price of home. For instance, a home in the Haile area has a 94% probability of selling, a Longleaf house has an 88% chance of selling, while a house in Tioga has a 71% probability of selling. Four-bedroom homes have an 81% chance of selling, while three-bedroom homes have a 72% chance of selling and a five-bedroom has a 47% chance of selling. Homes under 2,000 sq.ft. have a 73% probability of selling, while homes over 3,000 sq.ft. have a 61% chance in selling. And homes listed under $500K have a 73% chance of selling, while homes $500K+ have a 55% chance in selling. I know you are selling, but this information is important for buyers to keep in mind as well when deciding what to purchase.