Your go-to guide on everything there is to know
The average house price in New Zealand just hit close to $1 million. A lot of homeowners are making the most of the property boom to sell up, make the big bucks and see what their money can buy them elsewhere.
But as houses sell faster than hotcakes, it’s easier said than done – and buying a new property at the same time as selling your old one is no easy feat. You’ll have to manage open homes, search for your new dream home, navigate settlement dates and get your head around finances.
We’ve weighed up the pros and cons of each option – whether you buy first, sell first or do both at the same time.
Buy a new home first – pros
• Have time on your side
Securing a new home first buys you a bit of time. There’s no immediate settlement date hanging over your head so there’s no need to rush out of your old home.
• Enjoy freedom
If you’re buying a new home without having sold your current one, the purchase of the new house will likely be conditional on having sold your current one. This gives you a bit of freedom – no matter what happens, you won’t be tied to two properties.
Buy a new home first – cons
• Stretch your finances
You’ll need to pull together a deposit for a new home, which will be tricky if all your money is tied up in your current one. And until you do sell your old home, there’ll be double the bills. If you thought rates and interest were bad enough for one property, imagine having to fork out the mortgage payments for two.
• Lose some bargaining power
Your new house purchase will likely be conditional upon you selling your old home. That removes one of your bargaining chips if you’re competing against other buyers. You can’t offer an unconditional sale, so you may need to make a higher offer.
• Take bridging finance
Bridging finance is like a short-term home loan that tides you over until your current home sells. While it can help to alleviate financial stress, you’ll essentially be paying two mortgages – for possibly up to six months. It’s a great solution to a short-term problem, but you need to think about whether you can afford it. Bridging finance loans also come with high interest rates, and there can be quite a few hoops to jump through before you’re approved for one.
• Feel pressured into a lower price
As the stress of needing to sell rises, you might feel pressured to get your old property off your hands – and sell for much lower than you could have otherwise.
• Risk never selling
In this market, you can safely assume your house will sell easily. But if it doesn’t, how might you continue to cover two mortgages?
Sell your old home first – pros
• Take the guesswork out
When you sell first, you know exactly how much you have to spend on your new home – down to the final penny.
• Negotiate settlement
In today’s hot property market, you’ll probably have people lining up at the door to view your home. If it’s in high demand, you may be able to negotiate a long settlement date. Even pushing it back by a few weeks could give you the time you need to find your new home.
• Go unconditional faster
You’ll be an appealing buyer if you’ve already got cash in the bank from your house sale. You can make an unconditional offer sooner, which may give you more negotiation power when looking for your new home.
Sell your old home first – cons
• Feel pressure on your living situation
While selling first frees you up financially, it puts pressure on your living situation. Where will you live if you don’t buy a new home beforehand? You need to factor in the cost and hassle of packing up your entire home and relocating – possibly for a few months.
• Face unforeseen price increases
Property prices could increase hugely between the time you sell your home and find another. How will you cover the additional cost?
Buy and sell at the same time
In a perfect world, your settlement dates would align and you could move at the same time. It’s rare for this to happen – but we’ve got some tips on how to increase your chances.
Use your settlement date to your advantage
If you already have a settlement date for a new property, you can try to negotiate with the buyers of your home. There’s always a bit of room for negotiation with a house sale – if you can, use that to your advantage.
Keep it kind
It’s helpful to remember that everyone is going through the same thing – stress levels are high, finances are tough and everyone could do with some understanding. Plus, a bit of kindness could swing your sellers or buyers in a positive direction.
Have a backup plan
Even if you think you’ve got all your ducks in a row and settlement dates aligned, things can change. If that happens, don’t stress. Just make sure you’ve got cash tucked away for a rainy day – like needing to crash at a hotel for a few nights unexpectedly.
To sell or to buy first? That’s the million-dollar question
However you choose to navigate your house sale, there are pros and cons to each option – and you need to think carefully before you commit to one. The first step should be to chat with a professional mortgage broker. We’ll lay out your options and find one that suits you best.
Looking to buy a new home? As experts in the industry with more than 22 years’ experience, we can help to get your house sale sorted. Give us a call to talk about your options.
**These are general guidelines and are by no means a reflection of bank or lending policies