3. Borrow from your 401(k)
If you need only a little bit of money for a down payment, or want to supplement a home-equity line of credit, you could borrow from your 401(k). Most employers allow workers to borrow either 50% of their vested balance or $50,000, whichever is less. You then have the next five to 10 years, depending on your company’s rules, to repay the loan plus interest (which you pay into your account), which typically runs one to two percentage points above the prime rate.

But be warned: If you leave your job for any reason, you’ll have to return the money immediately or pay the taxes and a 10% penalty. And since this is your nest egg, we would recommend paying off the loan as soon as you get the proceeds from your first home’s sale.

There are also ways you can work this with the sales contract – contingencies like a home sale contingency and a home purchase contingency.

But, as the folks at Zillow say, if you’re thinking of a move and currently own a home, it’s likely best to get ready to make the move.  That way, when the time comes, you will be prepared.

1. Know your finances inside and out. This is a no brainer. You need to know not only what you can afford to buy, but also, what your house is worth before you even get started. Talk to your real estate agent and consult a mortgage banker or broker for loan pre-approval.

2. Start packing. Start boxing up stuff you don’t need easy access to. Get rid of all the things you won’t need until you’ve moved into your new home. This will help make your home show better and starting the packing process now will make it that much easier to move later. You may need to rent a storage unit temporarily for your stuff.

3. Do whatever quick fixes you need to do to sell your home. Do you have a toilet that constantly runs? Is your kitchen right out of the 1950s? If so, get busy fixing those things that could cause your home to sit on the market longer than necessary or affect your home’s value.

4. Start home shopping and learning the market. Start going to open houses and seeing what’s out there. Begin the process of elimination: What are the must-haves and the deal killers?

5. When you’re ready, list it. Depending upon your situation, you might want to list your property toward the higher end of its value range, once you’re actively in the market. This can buy you time while you shop for your next home. And who knows? You might get more money than you thought possible.

We used Chris Rich to both buy and sell a home in the very competitive Arlington market. We could not have been more pleased with how Chris managed every detail of the process–helping us sell our home (above asking price) and ultimately securing a new house that had many other competing offers. Chris was really easy to work with and became a trusted advisor throughout the process-I am convinced we would not have gotten our current house without her behind the scenes work to negotiate on our behalf. I always knew Chris had our best interests at heart and she put in endless hours to help us navigate the buying and selling process (never tiring of our many questions). We highly recommend Chris for Arlington and McLean home buying and selling!
Andrea and Phil Watt
Christine Rich is a brilliant realtor! She helped us sell our home and buy a new one in an amazingly short amount of time. She was very responsive to all our demands and concerns and helped us negotiate a wonderful deal. Christine is extremely knowledgeable, helpful, and very informed about the North Arlington market. She made the whole experience enjoyable and surprisingly easy. Highly recommended!
Karen Burke
Christine helped us with the sale of our home and the purchase/down-size to a new house that was yet to be built. She helped make an overwhelming process less so, by parsing out the many tasks that needed to be accomplished. She helped us understand the current housing market and gently guided us to have realistic goals, while responding to our many concerns which may have meant taking an action that she did not necessarily agree with. She always followed up on open house contacts and seemed to have good relationships with other agents. We always felt as if Christine was there for us (she called us on vacation after checking on our house during a bad storm to tell us we had a tree in our house — while it was on the market!), always representing our interest with potential buyers and with the builders of our new house. Her referrals for services (painting, staging, home inspection, home repair) were top-notch. We felt we could call her anytime with concerns and she would respond with a can-do approach, and was always cheerful and positive about it.We enthusiastically recommend Christine to help you with the sale and/or purchase of your new home!
Betsy and David Gardiner