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Should you start by buying or selling?

When planning to move, many owners wonder: is it better to sell your current home before looking for a new one, or to find a new place before selling? Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

It’s tricky, because both options involve some risk. So each owner must decide which of the alternatives they’re most comfortable with. Either way, the possession date plays a key role in ensuring a smooth process.

The real estate market

Taking the state of the market into account is critical. Are properties like yours selling fast or slow at the moment in your area?

“Homeowners who submit an offer to purchase that’s conditional on them selling their current home must sell by a determined deadline, explains Martin Desfossés, real estate coach at DuProprio. “When selling times are long, there is more risk of not finding a buyer in time. This is less of a problem in a market where your type of property is selling quickly.”

Selling before buying

There is definitely an advantage to putting your home on the market before finding another. You have time to finalize your sale without compromising your buying plans.

You then also know the amount you’ll have available to buy your next home. Reaching an agreement with the buyer about the possession date lets you know when you’ll have to move.

“This information makes it easier for homeowners when they’re submitting their own offer to purchase,” adds Martin Desfossés. “And most sellers prefer to receive an offer to purchase without any conditions attached to it.”

Buying before selling

When your dream home appears on the market, it makes sense to jump at the chance. You can make an offer to purchase conditional on you selling your existing home. To stack the odds in your favor and make sure you don’t lose your dream property, set as long a deadline as you can. Otherwise, if you don’t sell your home in time, your agreement with the seller will become null and void.

You should be aware though, that while you’re trying to sell your home, the seller might accept another, condition-free, offer to purchase. To keep that from happening, you could make a condition-free offer, but you’ll have to demonstrate your ability to buy. This could mean providing proof that you have the funds available or getting approved for a mortgage by a bank.