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I own a home I bought for cash; no mortgage. I want to sell it and use the cash to buy a different house of similar value. I have very little cash in my pocket and hence cannot use that to buy a house. I need the cash from selling my current house to buy the new house.

How do I show proof-of-funds to the realtor? Are there realtors who do not ask for this?

Also, do I put up my current home for sale first, find a buyer and set a closing date far out and then use that time to find a house to buy?

Or do I find a house to buy first, set a closing date far out and then use that time to sell my current one?

All of the above assumes there are sellers and buyers willing to negotiate with me on the closing date, which may or may not be true.

I hope I have managed to present my problem clearly. If not, feel free to ask for more elaboration.

If it helps, I am in a suburb of Atlanta, GA.

EDIT: This question is similar to the question that is linked in the comment below but I believe it nevertheless warrants a separate discussion since some people (like me) do not deal with any form of mortgage or financing due to religion or other reasons and my question specifically concerns such cases.

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The cleanest way to accomplish this is to make the purchase of your new house contingent on the sale of your old one. Your offer should include that contingency and a date by which your house needs to sell to settle the contract.

There will also likely be a clause that lets the seller cancel the contract within a period of time (like 24-48 hours) if another offer is received. This gives you (the buyer) at least an opportunity to either sell the house or come up with financing to complete the deal.

For example, suppose you make an offer to buy a house for $300,000 contingent on the sale of your house, which the seller accepts. In the meantime, the seller gets an offer of $275,000 in cash (no contingency). The seller has to notify you of the offer and give you some time to make good on your offer, either by selling your house or obtaining $300,000 in financing. If you cannot, the seller can accept the cash offer.

This is just a hypothetical example; the offer can have whatever clauses you agree to, but since sale contingencies benefit the buyer, the seller will generally want some compensation for that benefit, e.g. a larger offer or some other clause that benefits them.

Or do I find a house to buy first, set a closing date far out and then use that time to sell my current one?

Most sellers will not want to set a closing date very far out. Contingency clauses are far more common.

In short, yes it's possible, and any competent realtor should be able to handle it.

It also may mean that you have to either make a higher offer to compensate for the contingency and to dissuade the seller from entertaining other offers, or sell your home for less than you'd like to get the cash sooner. You can weigh those costs against the cost of financing the new house until yours sells.

  • Thanks. I didn't know about contingencies being used this way. However, I didn't understand the part about the clause allowing the seller to cancel in 24-48 hours. Is this an alternative way for me (the buyer) to obtain time to sell my house? If yes, 24 to 48 hours surely isn't enough to find a buyer for my house. Could you clarify? – ahmed_m Feb 23 '17 at 13:19
  • I added a hypothetical example, but the offer can include whatever clauses you want, and if the seller can choose to accept them or not. – D Stanley Feb 23 '17 at 14:12
  • Any ideas whether there are some realtors and/or sellers who do not ask for proof-of-funds? Stated in another way, are there realtors and/or sellers who will believe in my ability to pay at closing based on my (unmortgaged) ownership of my current home? – ahmed_m Feb 23 '17 at 19:22
  • I'm sure there are, but if you're making an offer, you need to have some sort of assurance that you can close. You will almost certainly have to put up earnest money which you would likely lose if you can't close the deal. A good seller's agent will require some sort of assurance in order to serve their client well. Contingent offers are used to protect the buyer while offering options to the seller so they don't get strung along indefinitely. – D Stanley Feb 23 '17 at 19:26

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