Profile picture for Sasorisa

Should I sell and buy at the same time or should I sell, then rent while I find a home to buy?

I currently own a condo which I would like to sell to buy a house.  I'd need the money from the condo sale for the down payment for the new home so I wouldn't be able to buy a house before selling the condo.  So the question would be - should I buy and sell at the same time or should I sell my condo first then rent while finding a new home?

If I buy and sell at the same time, how would that work?  Would a same realtor be able to do both? Or would I need a different one to sell and one to buy?
  • November 12 2009 - New York
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Answers (13)

I always recommend to my clients that they be in the real estate game.  Without knowing what real estate prices will do in your area, it is best to be in real estate for the long-term.  It looks like your biggest concern is being able to perform both sides of the transactions.  You Realtor will have many different creative ways to make sure you can get out of one and into another smoothly.

I would not advise you renting, since you may miss out on picking up a property below market value, there is a lot of inventory out there and shouldn't be hard to finding something else.

  • November 17 2009
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Profile picture for sunnyview
What a great story passion8cook! It sounds like you did it just right. I love those POD things. They allow you to pack everything in advance of a move then store it without having to unload into storage in between houses. I think that they really can make for a smoother and more flexible move even in the same town if the close dates are not exactly the same.

If you are shooting for a simultaneous close having the same realtor for the listing and the buying really helps make the double close process easier.
  • November 17 2009
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Profile picture for passion8cook
What I did was research the neighborhoods that I wanted to buy in advance. So, when I got an accepted offer, I started looking in earnest.  I waited until my buyer had their inspection done (in case there were any "deal breakers") and then made an offer on a house that I had my eye on in the neighborhood I had chosen earlier. I scheduled the closings on the same day -- the sale of my condo in the morning, and the purchase of the house in the afternoon. 

If my sale didn't go through for any reason, then I would be off the hook on the purchase because I couldn't get a mortgage unless I sold the condo.  But it all worked out great.  I used the same realtor for both the sale and the purchase, and was able to negotiate a better deal on his commissions as a result.

It wasn't completely smooth -- I had to keep my stuff in a "POD" for a week and stayed in a friends guest room over a weekend, but the bottom line is, it's much easier to buy than it is to sell in this market. So my recommendation is to get the condo under contract first. Doing your research in advance will make finding your next home much simpler and faster so you may not have to rent. 

Good luck! 
  • November 17 2009
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I would sell my home with the condition of finding another home within a specified period of time.  Closing two loans at the same time is not that difficult (providing you select a qualified buyer-that is patient).  Spending money on a rental and moving multiple times isn't the best way for me, but to each their own.  Find a lender with experience closing transactions like this.  Ask them if they have ever had to work with another lender to close both loans simultaneously...it is all about the lock deadline :) GOOD LUCK!

  • November 17 2009
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Profile picture for roseannannis

In a perfect world, it works best if you place your condo on the market, get an executed purchase contract, and then find and make an offer to purchse your home. Timing of these events is critical.  Consult with a professional REALTOR to determine the saleability of your condo and to obtain a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) suggesting a fair market value for it.
Having said that, your local real estate market is unique.  Find out how quickly condos within close proximity are selling. If it is a protracted time period, then you will need to be patient about receiving a viable offer.
Positioning your condo in the lowest one-third of the fair market range would be advisable to bring about a more rapid sale.  However, if you do not have much equity in your home and/or if you the value of your condo has diminished appreciably, you might be better off waiting.  Many factors such as the local economy, available of new and re-sale homes, current interest rates, pool of qualified buyers are not within your control. Please interview two or three REALTORS to learn more about the market and to oobtain an estimate of your net proceeds at various sales prices. Doing so will guide you to the next step...ultimate purchase of a new home. Finally, you would be well served by meeting with a mortgage specialist to determine your buying power, i.e., how much you would be able to afford in your next home AFTER the sale of your condo at the most probable sales price. This is an often-overlooked step which can prevent disappointments down the road.  GOOD LUCK TO YOU! 

  • November 16 2009
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I would recommend that you list your condo and then pick the areas that you would like to keep a close pulse on the market.  If you have owned your condo 5 years or more, you will be able to take advantage of the $6500 tax credit.  I would work on getting your condo ready to show and would meet with a stager so that in the next 6 weeks during the holidays you can clean out and get it ready the market after the 1st of the year.

You can use the same Realtor to sell and to purchase.  The seller's agent would work to get you the most for your condo and the same agent would then become your buyer's agent to try and get you the most home for the money.  Pick someone that is fulltime and works primarily in the area that you currently live and knows the market where you want to look. 
  • November 16 2009
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Are you living in a declining market?  If so, you are losing money every day you wait to sell.

Are you buying in a declining market? If so you should wait to buy and the cost of a short term or month to month lease may be minimal.

I advise buyers to wait in a declining market until they find that "awesome" deal. Not typical realtor advice which is usually sell and buy right now.

Some areas are declining 2% per month. Would you buy a stock that was declining 2% per month for the last 2 years?

Many variables, but the overall market is in decline. Combine that with increasing joblessness, lack of credit, proposed massive tax increases on energy and health care, I would look for a great deal - this requires patience.
  • November 15 2009
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  You are getting some good advice!  However, as with most questions of any significance ~ your individual situation depends on several factors.  Where your condo is located in the country, the state, the city and even the neighborhood you're in will impact your decision. The entry level market here in Denver has experienced bidding wars and home owners appear to be feeling more comfortable entertaining the idea of putting their non-short sale, non-foreclosure homes on the market so they can move on up or move on!  Real estate markets have micro-climates just like the weather does, so know what is happening in your own neighborhood!  To do that, find a good, qualified REALTOR to help you through the process.  
     Judi is right on.  List your home and get the ball rolling.  The $8,000 tax credit is not likely to be extended ... again, so strike while the iron is hot ~ on both ends!
  • November 14 2009
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Calmer is definitely a wonderful luxury, however if you don't have $$$ reserves, Plan B may not be your best choice.

Banks changing rules hourly, is another good reason to move the sale & purchase along quickly.

Take a step back, consider all options and walk the path that best fits your needs, wants & wishes!


  • November 14 2009
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I have changed houses both ways.  And selling one house, renting on a month to month basis, then finding a new house was much calmer than coordinating two closings on the same day was.  Also, while I rented, I painted, upgraded, etc then moved gradually in over the course of the last month rental.  Stress levels were much lower and I was able to take my time while looking for the new house.

  • November 14 2009
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You will be in a much stronger negotiation position if you make an offer with cash in your pocket when purchasing a home.  My recommendation would be to get your current property listed and when it goes under contract ask for a 45 days close which should give you time to find a new home.  Of course, in order to move forward and make a contingent free offer on the new property you would need assurance that there is no risk of the sale falling through.

Best Of Luck To You!
Judi Monday
  • November 14 2009
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Sell & Buy at the same time, providing you have a Realtor that is experienced and knows their way around the block!
Why waste money renting?  You know that if you need the proceeds to use as a down payment, that money can dwindle very quickly if you begin usint it to pay rent.  There are ways that you will be protected, such as, when selling your condo, your agent can add that "seller has to find suitable housing" first, or if you find a home you want to buy first, well, then a Hubbard clause can be written up.
Why wait when the market is at it's all time best for buying?
Best of luck and remember.....interview agents and make sure you get one that is experienced in selling your home and finding one at the same time.  If you get the right agent, there is no reason why both transactions couldn't close within a couple of days of each other, if not the same day.
Most important...listen to what your agent tells you regarding pricing your home correctly for a quick sale!
  • November 14 2009
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This really does depend on the sales , conditions, and activities in your complex. My gut tells me that you should sell you condo first. Find a realtor that's not going to give you a pitch and will give you a straight answer on what you condo is worth, even if it ticks you off. then find a month to month rental after you sell and take your time looking.

  • November 12 2009
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