Editor's Note: This article is part of the Financial Advisor series "How I Solved It." Advisors describe a client with a problem and what they did to help.

Selling one home and buying another can create financial and logistical challenges even in the best of times. Those problems can potentially increase during a global pandemic.

Andrew Rosen, a partner at Diversified LLC in Wilmington, Del., helped a couple accomplish that feat in a little more than two months this spring and, at the same time, saved them from paying capital gains taxes.

A retired married couple in Pennsylvania who are clients of Rosen faced the pleasant task of upgrading to their dream retirement home, but they were doing so in the middle of the Covid-19 quarantine. Complicating the situation was the fact the home they wanted to buy became available before they sold their existing home.

Despite the current economic climate, houses are still being bought and sold and the real estate market remains competitive, Rosen said. New listings declined in April, according to Realtor.com, and home prices were nearly flat in April 2020 versus April 2019. However, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said he expects prices to rise 4% overall this year.

Rosen’s clients had substantial money in retirement accounts to live on, and among the amentities they wanted in their new home was a pool for their two grandchildren. Real estate companies and sellers have moved services online because of the coronavirus, and the couple started checking potential homes digitally during the spring while the world was quarantined. They found a home they liked and scheduled an in-person visit, which was accomplished with social distancing and wearing masks.

They decided the home fit their needs and wants, Rosen said.

The closing for the $800,000 home they owned was scheduled for a few weeks after they needed to purchase the $950,000 home they wanted to buy.

“They did not want to sell any of their portfolio because all of the assets had been held for a long period of time and they would have realized substantial capital gains, which would have been taxed,” Rosen said. “At the same time, they could not obtain a traditional mortgage because the bank would have required income from employment, which they do not have because they are retired.”

The couple needed about $200,000 for the down payment and for some furnishings and other purchases before they were able to sell their home.

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