When do I Put My House on the Market if I Want to Build a New One?

December 11, 2015


There is no clear cut answer to that questions, unfortunately.  It depends on a lot of variables as follows:

Build Time

How long is your builders build-time in the neighborhood you are building in?

Build times can vary a little depending on holidays or weather and they can vary A LOT based on your floorplan and location of your build.

If it is the first time your builder is building your specific floorplan you can expect to add at least 30 days to their average build time.  A national builder that uses the same floorplans in each community they build in can put a house up much faster than a custom builder.

Other elements that affect build time are how timely you choose your upgrades, if you make any changes to your plans or design once you are under contract, and awaiting ARB* approval.*ARB is the Architectural Review Board that allows or disapproves certain elevations, paint colors, exterior features, landscape choices, etc for homes that are built in master planned and/or HOA communities.

Build times in St Johns County have recently gone from approx 7 months down to approx 5 months on average as a whole.

Days on Market in Your Current Area/Neighborhood

I have a customer who is getting ready to custom build her new home. Build time for her custom build is 6 months (we are thinking 7 because it is a custom plan that has never been built before).  The days on market average in her current neighborhood are 154 (approx 5 months).  It takes approx 30-45 days to close on a home in her area so that means we would need to list her house in the next 15-30 days.

That, of course, does not take into consideration that her house could sell in only 20 days.  What do you do then?  You’ve really only got 2 options:

  1. Sell the house, move out and move into a temporary rental*
  2. Negotiate in a lease-back from the buyer as part of the contract you can lease your own home back from them until your new home is ready

*Your Realtor can assist you in finding temporary living quarters, if necessary!


What is a contingency? A contingency is a clause that makes your new contract contingent (or pending) your current homes sale.  Some builders will allow you to go under contract and even will begin building your home for you even though you haven’t sold your current home yet.

Every builder is different when it comes to contingencies.  Most builders will not accept a contingent offer on any spec (or inventory) home, only homes being built from the ground up, because inventory homes are typically move-in-ready or close to it.

Some builders will start building as long as your home is listed for sale on the market, some will only build up to a certain point and if you do not have a contract on your current home and by that point then your contract becomes null & void and they can re-sell the new home to someone else or list it as an inventory home.  Some builders will not offer contingency clauses at all in their contracts.

My Best Advice

Do not expect to sell your home and close the same day your newly built home is ready.  The chances of those stars aligning are slim to none because of the variables associated with building. Chances are you will more than likely need temporary living quarters.  If its less than a month than a beach vacation rental or staying with a friend or family is always recommended.  If it is more than a month you may want to look into furnished rentals so that you can pack up all of your stuff into a storage unit or POD and only take the necessities with you for the few months remaining until your new home is ready.  No one wants to pack and unpack more than once if they can help it. Again, your Realtor assisting you in this transaction should be full service and have access to temporary rentals to help make this process seamless for you.

Remember when dealing with new construction homes that you should utilize a Realtor® with experience in new construction. They can help you navigate the contract and ensure timelines given are realistic and are met. Should any issues arise you want to know you have your own representation that is experienced with this type of real estate. Call Amanda Houser, Realtor® at 904-466-0092 or email her at amanda@firstcoastrooftops.com to schedule an appointment today to view the available new construction homes in St Johns County! For more new construction updates visit Amanda’s website at www.firstcoastrooftops.com.

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