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What is a Contingency Sale? | Home Buying and Selling

Thinking of trading up from a condo to a single-family residence? Is all your money tied up in your current property? Selling in order to buy is a must for many would-be buyers. But, how? In a fast-paced sales environment where bidding is competitive, it can be challenging to sell before you buy. Usually, Sellers don’t give contingency contracts much weight when the market is heated. Is the market still heated? Are Sellers still calling the shots? Maybe. All real estate is local, so it depends. Price points and neighborhoods differ. So do Sellers. What we do know is that days on market are increasing. The odds that a Seller may be receptive to working with a contingency offer have also increased.

When the Market Slows, Contingency is More Viable

Though not every contingency offer will be viewed favorably, historically we know that as the market slows, they become more viable. The market, though still strong, has shifted enough to make contingency sales more attractive. Sellers who are eager to sell may be wiling to wait it out while the buyer sells their home. And, while they wait for the buyer to perform, they can continue to market their property.

Sales Contingent on a Replacement Property

Often, Buyers worry about selling their existing property before landing a new home. They don’t want to sell without the surety of a replacement property. But, they can’t buy without selling their current property. No one wants to be homeless. But, we have a solution for that — it’s a “contingent on a replacement property” purchase. Buyers can list their property subject to finding a replacement home. They can then write an offer subject to selling their existing property. It becomes a bit like a game of dominoes, but it’s very doable. I once did a four-way contingency. Four sets of Sellers. Four sets of Buyers. Four properties. It was a wild ride. But in the end, everyone got what they wanted.

Contingency Sales Take Skill

Contingency sales require a high degree of skill and knowledge. All parties — buyers, sellers, and their respective agents — have to work cooperatively to achieve the desired outcome.

As the market stabilizes, contingency sales will become more prevalent, and so will opportunities to trade-up!

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