Vail Daily column: Should I sell before I buy? |

Vail Daily column: Should I sell before I buy?

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

I want to look at homes in the Vail Valley to buy, but I am not sure if I should start yet. My house is ready to go on the market (in another ​area​) but it is not listed yet, nor do I know when I would ​find​ a buyer. I ​don’t​ have to sell ​my home​ to be able to make an offer on another ho​use​, but I would feel much more comfortable if it were sold and I wouldn’t be having to deal with two mortgages. On the other hand, I am afraid to put it on the market for fear it will sell soon and I don’t have any place to move to. Any suggestions on which comes first and how to navigate this uncharted territory?

Dear Stuck in the Middle,

Needless to say, this is a very common problem. The good news for people who are just “window shopping” is that they can do that online now, viewing lots of homes and interior pictures on or individual broker websites (these websites are all much more current than the commercial aggregated websites).

In your case, you are a serious shopper, and an experienced, knowledgeable broker can help you find what you need, as well as help you structure an offer to work for your situation. So, I would suggest that you list your home with a competent broker in your area as soon as possible. If you are very worried it will go under contract right a way, then put a clause in the listing agreement that any accepted offer would be contingent upon you finding (and putting under contract) an acceptable replacement property in seven days after the contract on your current home is mutually agreed upon or you have the right to terminate and not sell your present home.

​Simultaneously, you need to find that​ innovative Realtor that is familiar with the Vail Valley that can help you and start looking at properties. You need to explain your situation so that they know you may have to do some creative contract writing when you find the home you want and may not ​​have your home under contract yet.

If you ​know​ that you could get a second mortgage and still qualify for a loan, then you can write an offer that is not contingent upon the sale of your current home. However, in order to increase your chances of getting your home under contract and not having two mortgages, you could write the contract​ so​ that you would not close for​ 60 to​ 90 days or possibly a little more. Then you can adjust the price on your current home to make it very attractive to a buyer so that you have a good chance of doing simultaneous (one right after the other) closings on your current home and your new home. You might be surprised how often we can make this work, if you take a realistic approach to pricing your current property. Check with more than one Realtor if need be, until you feel confident you have found one that has the desire and skills to help you in your situation. 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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