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Is it better to sell before you buy?

Tips on how to navigate buying while your home is on the market

Trying to purchase a home when your own is on the market can be a big stressor for homeowners. There are, however, many options available in regards to how you can move forward. Here are some suggestions to help you decipher the best course of action.

For starters, keep in mind that everyone has different timelines when it comes to buying, and selling, a home. There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to navigating the selling and buying process. However, there suggestions and recommendations based on how you’d like to move forward. A good place to start is mapping out your goals, and deciding on what you ultimately want your outcome to be.

In many circumstances, looking for a house while yours is on the market is advisable. Depending on your timeline, this opens up the opportunity for you to take the proceeds from your current home’s sale, and put them towards the new home you wish to purchase. Putting your home on the market while you shop for a new one, can also help move the entire process along at a quicker pace. Often times, homeowners and sellers will be able to coordinate with one another depending on everyone’s differing obligations. Selling your home before you move into a new one can help alleviate financial stress, as this will allow for you to be completely untethered from the responsibilities of your old home, and focus on your new purchase.

That said, there are circumstances where selling your home first can be in a buyer’s best interest. Being on the hook for two mortgages can be a nightmare for many homeowners, and an unnecessary financial burden. This can be curtailed by waiting for your home to be completely sold before looking for a new one. A lot of buyers may not be able to financially withstand paying two separate mortgages, especially when the timeline is unpredictable. You never know how long it will take for you to sell your home. For some buyers, paying two mortgages may not be an issue. However, it’s important to take a candid look at your finances to determine what you can comfortably afford.

Another incentive to wait? The housing market is unpredictable. Real estate is constantly evolving, and trends show that markets can ebb and flow depending on various factors. Perhaps it’s not a good time to buy, and you’d rather look to buy when the market is in a more level place. If you’re looking to optimize the returns on your sale and subsequent purchase, it’s advisable to get the opinion of a real estate agent. Reputable agents are trained to follow market trends, and can advise when the right time to sell may be. This can be a particularly good course of action, if you’re not in a huge rush to move. Taking your time, and waiting to get the best possible return is a luxury that you may have.

Perhaps you’d like to vet a new neighborhood before you choose to purchase. Sometimes renting in an area can allow you a “trial run” before making the decision to purchase. This may not be the most financially feasible option for everyone, but in some instances, it can be less expensive in the long run. Renting can also allow you more time to make a home purchase, as you’re no longer feeling the pressure of trying to sell your home. It allows you to operate on a less strict timeline. This may be the solution for you, if you’re not sure about buying in a particular neighborhood, just yet.

Each option will have certain pros and cons. Here are some of the benefits of selling your home before you purchase a new one. If you are able to sell your home before, or while in the process of moving to a new one, you will have the opportunity to use that money for a down payment. This is a big incentive for people to have their home on the market while they search. Additionally, you will not have to worry about second mortgages, or any fees that may tie you to a home you haven’t yet sold. Although timelines are unpredictable, you can typically negotiate with buyers and sellers alike, in able to ensure you’ll be able to move in to your new home without having to leave your old home prematurely.

Even if you may feel pressure, remember, your comfort is important when moving. Sometimes the pressure of simultaneously selling a current home and buying a new one, can make people feel rushed in their timeline. Although things move quickly in the real estate realm, keep in mind that your comfort is also a priority. If you’re house has been sold, but you haven’t yet found a new one, don’t let the pressure pigeon hole you into a purchase you don’t want. Always be mindful that there are options available, should you need more time to find your ideal home. Making a purchase out of pressure will likely only cause problems down the road. Keep in mind, there is typically some level of flexibility through the entire process of selling.

Renting back is a common solution for those who have sold their home, but not yet found a new home to move into. If you’re ready to accept an offer, but don’t yet have somewhere new to go, renting back is a common practice which allows you to stay in your home for an additional amount of time. With the right contract, you will be able to insert a clause that allows you to ‘rent back” while you wait on new prospects. Be mindful, that this may reduce your offers from prospective buyers, but if it gives you peace of mind, it’s certainly worth your consideration.

The bottom line? It’s hard to predict how things will unfold, and it’s usually best to take things a step at a time. If need be, you can always get a second opinion from the various members on your team. It can help to defer to an expert in times where you feel unsure of what your next move is. Fortunately, when it comes to real estate, things have a tendency to work out more often than not, even in moments of uncertainty.