Vail Daily column: How to time your real estate move |

Vail Daily column: How to time your real estate move

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

We are anxious to move, for several reasons, but are afraid to put our house on the market until we have secured the right new home to purchase. We have convinced our broker, reluctantly, to show us properties and we have put in a couple of offers, but no one seems interested in accepting an offer contingent upon another sale. Have you run into this in your many years selling real estate here, and do you have any suggestions?

Dear Afraid,

We actually are seeing more and more offers that are contingent upon the sale of the buyer’s current home in today’s market. ​Our best guess of why this is happening is the tight rental market. Since there are not many rentals available and rents are increasing, sellers fear they won’t find anything they like and/or can afford on the rental market once they sell their current home. In answer to your question, you appear to have a good-natured, patient broker, ​who​ may or may not have explained to you how the system works if you want to have a chance to have your “contingent”​ offer accepted.

​The ​way the system works​ is that the “sale of your home​ contingency” is only accepted​,​ by most sellers, if the ​your​ home is actually under contract prior to making the offer. Sellers feel that if you make an offer contingent on your home sale closing, and you don’t even have it under contract (in your case, not even on the market!) then the closing is the 12th of never, as far as they are concerned. If they would accept your offer, their broker would need to show their home as “under contract” in the V​ail Board of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service, then even though they have no idea about when your home might get an acceptable offer. Therefore, they would not get any more showings and they would have to wait helplessly for you to get your home under contract. If you look at this from the other direction, would you accept and offer from someone that needs to sell their home to buy yours, but has not even started the process?

If you have looked around enough to know there are homes on the market that would fit your needs, then take the leap of faith and list your home with a very competent broker in your area. If you are still frozen with fear, then put a clause in your listing that says once you have accepted an offer on your home, you will have three days to rescind the acceptance of that offer, if you are unable to put a suitable house under contract. This will discourage a few buyers, but most will be able to live with ​a very short time frame for the indecision.

Now, ​consult with your accomplished broker, prepare your home and price ​it​ correctly for the market. Cooperate with your broker so that they can get all of the high quality camera shots necessary to show off your property in the best light on a multitude of Internet locations. Soon, you will have your home under contract and you will be able to shop for that dream home again​, and this time the seller will be able to accept your offer since your home will be under contract with an actual closing date. Best of luck to you!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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