Should I Sell first to Buy or Buy before Selling?

By Staff Correspondent


Deciding whether to sell your current home first (sell-to-buy) or buy a new home before selling your existing one (buy-before-sell) is a big decision with no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on several factors, including:

Market conditions:

  • Seller’s market: If selling houses is quick and easy, buying first might be feasible. You’ll have more leverage as a buyer without a contingency sale, but you’ll need financing for both homes.
  • Buyer’s market: It’s riskier to buy first in a buyer’s market as selling your old home might take longer. You’ll likely need a bridge loan or sell your current home with a contingency clause limiting potential offers.

Your financial situation:

  • Down payment: Can you afford a down payment on a new home without selling your current one? Selling first gives you access to your equity for a bigger down payment and better interest rates.
  • Carrying two mortgages: Can you handle potential mortgage payments on both homes if you buy before selling?

Your personal preferences:

  • Flexibility: Do you mind temporary housing or double moving? Selling first gives you more flexibility in your new home search, while buying first avoids housing transitions.
  • Stress tolerance: Can you handle the potential pressure of finding a new home before your current one sells, or the pressure of selling within a specific timeframe to avoid double mortgage payments?

Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of each approach:

Sell first:


  • Secure financing with a stronger offer
  • Avoid carrying two mortgages
  • More flexibility in new home search
  • No pressure to sell quickly


  • May need temporary housing
  • Potential double moving cost
  • Risk of missing out on dream home

Buy first:


  • No temporary housing
  • Avoid double moving cost
  • Secure dream home before it’s gone


  • Risk of carrying two mortgages
  • Weaker offer as a contingent buyer
  • Less flexibility in new home search
  • Pressure to sell quickly

Ultimately, the best approach depends on your unique circumstances. It’s crucial to consult with a real estate agent and financial advisor who can assess your situation and recommend the best strategy for you. I hope this information helps!

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