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Home Survey Reveals Emotional Effects of Simultaneously Buying and Selling

RISMEDIA, May 2, 2006—Selling a home, especially in today's shifting market, can leave sellers feeling a bit unnerved when they think about hanging the 'For Sale' sign. It's even more intense for bridging homeowners -- those who decide to simultaneously sell one home and buy another -- and as anyone who's ever done it can attest, the process can send even the savviest of homeowners into a whirlwind of exhilarating highs and frustrating lows (see Home Buyers' 11-Step Emotional Process and Home Sellers' 10-Step Emotional Process charts* included).

"Many people underestimate the emotional overload of selling one home and buying another at the same time," said Holly Slaughter, consumer experience expert for recently surveyed 550 bridging homeowners (who had completed the process within the past five years) to better understand their unique challenges.

Nearly half of the respondents (42 percent) agree that the uncertainty of knowing how quickly their home would sell was difficult or more difficult than expected, and considered that time the most significant emotional low in the process. Nearly 70 percent felt "worried" (69.6 percent) and "hesitant" (67.3 percent) during the selling and buying process.

"That sense of uncertainty, which is always present to some degree during a home sale or a home purchase, is basically doubled for bridging homeowners," said Slaughter. "The only antidote is to spend some time planning for contingencies and to set your expectations realistically."

Sixty-two percent of bridging homeowner respondents were successful dual-closers, meaning they were able to close on their existing home and move into their new home without a significant lapse in time.

The remaining bridging homeowners were either homads -- those who sold their homes but had not yet closed on a new one -- or dual-owners, those who closed on a new home but had not yet sold their original home.

Said Slaughter, "For most bridging homeowners, success means moving seamlessly from one residence to another, since most of us don't want the hassle of living in temporary housing or the expense of paying two mortgages. It's notable that only about two-thirds of bridging homeowners can carry it off, and that's why setting expectations ahead of time is an important part of managing the stress."

Other key findings of the survey include:

- Nearly half (48.2 percent) of all respondents agreed or strongly agreed
that the dual negotiation process was taxing. Almost 53 percent of
those respondents were women and 42.2 percent men.

- Nearly half of respondents (47.1 percent) agreed or strongly agreed
that getting their home in sale-ready condition took more time and
energy than expected.

- Respondents from the Midwest felt that it was slightly easier to buy
their home (52.6 percent), while respondents from the northeast felt
that it was slightly easier to sell their home (36.3 percent).

- The majority of respondents had no regrets as a result of the process
(78.2 percent). However, if they had to do it over again, men were
more likely than women to say that they would have sold their existing
home before making an offer on a new home (9.9 percent vs. 8.8
percent), and women were more likely than men to say they would have
never moved (7.8 percent vs. 6.6 percent).

"For bridging homeowners, there are a lot of moving parts," added Slaughter. "But the good news is, there are some simple things they can do to smooth the process." For example:

1. Begin by researching the value of your home with free online services
like, which provides a good starting point.

2. Engage with a Realtor(R) early on to get a sense for how quickly
similar homes in your neighborhood have been selling. You'll need to
make an educated guess about that timing in order to plan your move
into the new home.

3. Invest in a home inspection (and repairs) before putting your home on
the market to save time and hassle down the road, when any "surprises"
about the state of your home could have the potential to complicate or
delay your closing.

4. In hotter markets, consider requiring buyers to show proof of mortgage
pre-approval -- not just pre-qualification -- with their offers. In
slower markets, you might require proof of pre-approval within five
days of accepting their offer. That way, if the buyer can't proceed,
you haven't wasted much time.

5. Get the buyer of your old house and the seller of your new house to
commit in writing to a specific window of dates and negotiate
financial penalties to encourage both to stick to those dates.


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