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Should You Buy First or Sell First? A Guide for Homeowners on the Move

Jessica Evans

For Jessica Evans, real estate is more than a job — it’s a way of life...

For Jessica Evans, real estate is more than a job — it’s a way of life...

Aug 9 4 minutes read

Making the decision to transition from one home to another can be an exhilarating yet daunting process. One of the biggest dilemmas homeowners face is whether to buy their next home before selling their current one or vice versa. Both strategies come with their unique advantages and challenges.

The Case for Selling First

Selling your home before buying a new one offers several distinct benefits. Firstly, it provides clarity about your financial position. You'll know the exact amount you've secured from the sale, which can greatly influence your budget for the subsequent purchase. This strategy eliminates the risk of juggling two mortgages simultaneously, a situation some homeowners might find overwhelming. Another helpful feature some homeowners utilize is the post-settlement occupancy, allowing the seller to remain in their home for up to 60 days after the sale, given the buyer's consent. This period can offer a valuable window to finalize the next home purchase.

However, this method isn't without its drawbacks. The foremost challenge is timing. Once your current home is sold, the pressure to find a new one mounts. Depending on the housing market's pace and availability, this could lead to interim housing arrangements, such as renting a place or staying with friends or family. Moreover, this interim period can be challenging to predict, potentially leading to longer stays in temporary housing.

The Case for Buying First

Opting to buy before selling opens up a world of possibilities. With no immediate pressure to vacate your current home, you can embark on a comprehensive search for your next dream house. This approach is particularly beneficial for those eyeing properties in competitive markets, where the perfect home might require patience and persistence to secure. Additionally, there's the undeniable convenience of a seamless move, transitioning directly from the old house to the new without the need for temporary accommodations.

Nevertheless, this approach has its own set of challenges. The most prominent is the financial implications. Balancing two mortgages, even for a short period, can be a substantial strain on one's finances. Furthermore, if the current home doesn't sell as swiftly as anticipated, homeowners may find themselves in an elongated period of financial pressure.

Choosing between selling first or buying first is a deeply personal decision, influenced by individual financial situations, housing requirements, and risk appetite. There's no universally right choice; instead, it's about what aligns best with your unique circumstances. Collaborating with a real estate expert can provide tailored advice, ensuring a smooth transition from one home to the next. Whatever the choice, thoughtful consideration and planning can pave the way for a successful move.

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