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Sell and Buy a Home All At Once

Can you sell your current home and buy your next home in San Francisco simultaneously, or in quick succession, without making big compromises or being stressed beyond belief?

It is true that selling and/or buying San Francisco Bay Area real estate will be one of the most consequential transactions you’ll ever make. There’s a lot on the line for your family, finances and future. Doubly so for those who will sell and buy a home back-to-back.

But in our high-stakes, fast-paced SF Bay Area market, is it crazy to think there are ways to improve your chance at a smooth transition from your current home to your next home? Would you be surprised to hear this can be done efficiently and effectively?

Managing the needs, priorities and timelines of buyers and sellers is one of the more complex things we do as San Francisco Bay Area Realtors. It’s also one of the most common. We frequently help homeowners to sell their current property while setting up their next purchase with as little friction as possible, whether they intend to move within the city, across the country or even abroad.

That’s how we helped our clients in this case study on how to sell a home and buy another in San Francisco. This is a story about overlapping timelines and priorities—those of our clients selling and buying again, and of the buyers and sellers on the other side of each transaction.

It’s also about being communicative and creative to untangle all these inputs, ultimately leading to happy results for all parties involved!

The Perfect San Francisco Starter Home

Our subject property for this case study is a 2 bedroom, 3 bathroom single-family home in Bernal Heights, San Francisco, nestled just off the neighborhood’s main business corridor of Cortland Avenue.

This home worked wonderfully, some would even say enviably, for a couple in their pre-kiddo years: it’s super cute, in a great location, with a bonus unit used as a profitable AirBnb apartment to subsidize the mortgage. You can imagine how it was the ideal first-time homeowner experience for our clients! 

Still, times change and needs evolve. As the family grew, ‘cute’ eventually became ‘cramped’. (Hello, new frontier of post-2020 “work from home” life!) The AirBnb was still profitable too, but it was work to manage. The time had come for our clients to trade up into a bigger home with enough room for family, entertaining and home offices.

Selling To Buy Another Home in the SF Bay Area

If you want to sell your current home to buy your next home in San Francisco, you typically have to sell first and then buy. The market tends to be too competitive for an offer, contingent on the sale of your current home, to beat out another offer with fewer strings attached. In SF, most sellers will only work with a buyer who can write a clean offer—no contingencies—and close in 30 days or less. 

However, the market began to shift after the busy spring season of 2022. By the time we connected with our clients, rising mortgage rates had slowed the red-hot pace of sales. Our clients had been scouting the market to get a sense for what they would buy next. They already spotted their absolute dream home, but assumed it would be long-gone by the time they had sold their own home and were ready to make an offer.

That may have been true under previous market conditions. Times had changed. Suffice to say that they were shocked to find their dream home still up for sale a few weeks later! Perhaps they could make a San Francisco miracle happen and write an offer contingent on the sale of their current home?

NOTE: It’s entirely common for SF Bay Area homeowners to sell their current home and buy another. Read our suggestions for to make this happen smoothly in our blog post, 5 Steps to Selling a Home & Buying Another in the San Francisco Bay Area

Getting Creative To Make the Sale And Purchase

The outcome of this situation took lots of careful coordination and a team of experienced players. With the right team of San Francisco real estate experts in place—buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, and lender—we strategized as a group about how to make it work for both the sellers of our clients’ potential new dream home, and for our clients who wanted to buy it while simultaneously selling their current home. 

As we mentioned at the start, this is a much longer story with lots of overlapping timelines and priorities. There are hundreds of communications and moving parts in any real estate transaction. It takes some skill and smooth operation to get everyone on board.

The summary is that our clients were able to go into contract on their new home with a contingency to sell their current home. We worked as a team to “stage the home” while they remained living in it, and got it on the market quickly. We did effective, rapid-fire networking and marketing to get multiple offers. We negotiated a sales price that exceeded our clients’ (realistic) expectations and were able to meet the deadlines of their purchase. 

Plus, as a cherry on top, the new owners of their old home are as in love with the house as our folks were all those years ago. This one was both a true team effort AND truly a win-win-win for the seller, the buyer/seller, and the buyer. It was a proud moment when the escrow closed on time!

BEST SF Real Estate Agents Are Here to Help

Representation matters in San Francisco Bay Area real estate. Who you hire as your agent will have a tangible impact on your stress throughout the process, and ultimately on your bottom line. It may even determine whether your goals are met at all.

Our clients’ success was not guaranteed from the start. To make it come together required quick action, as well as some patience, plenty of careful hand-holding, and precise marketing, networking and negotiations informed by years of experience in our unique, local market.

Of course, we are thrilled with our clients’ results, and we are always grateful for the opportunity to serve. In 20+ years, 800+ transactions and over $1B in SF Bay Area real estate sales volume, you can imagine that we have seen it all many times over! So, when the time comes for you to buy or sell—or both—please allow us to be your trusted advisor from start to finish.

You can start the conversation and click here to contact us. If you think we are a good fit, feel free to jump-start the process by filling out our Seller Worksheet or our Buyer Worksheet to tell us more about your situation.

Oh, and sign up for our Vivre Real Estate newsletter to keep up with the latest real estate news, our insights into the market, local updates, events and more! We deeply respect your privacy and never share your personal info. Sign up below and keep in touch.

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