It never hurts to look. You can spend this time getting to know the market and really zeroing in on what you want. If you find something you love you could always make an offer subject to selling your home, but just be careful about committing yourself to purchase before you know you have the funds.
If you are thinking of moving to another County, you might want to stay over night in a hotel to see what your new commute will be during the week.
If you are moving out of the area, make sure your listing agent knows the area where you will movinig to. If not, ask them to refer you to a experienced and knowledgeable Realtor who knows the area.
There's one other thing that is very important. Make sure to get pre-approved for a loan before you do anything. Yes, you may have good credit and you also have a home loan, but you need to see what's happening with the new guidelings with the lenders before you sell your home.
Dave Tap Tapper
If you and your agent expect your home to sell quickly, you may want to start getting to know your new location. With your agent's help, take some time to tour a few open houses. Get to know the new neighborhood and it's amenities. That way, if an offer on your home comes in, you'll have done most of the research up front.
Before making an offer though, just be sure to confirm with your lender and agent that you are able to make an offer prior to the sale of your current home.
Best of luck,
I would suggest that you do some research on your own first. Find out as much as possible about the new especially with regard to school systems. Drive through various neighborhoods and also search on Trulia so you can become familiar with prices since price does vary drastically depending on your location. Ask the Realtor who has your home listed to make a referral for you if they can, especially if you are staying in-state. If you are moving out-of-state, I would strongly suggest working with a Realtor who has an ABR certification (Accredited Buyers Representative). You can get a list of all Realtors with this certification from the ABR website. This is a Realtor who has extra expertise in working with Buyers and relocation clients. Also, do keep in mind that some areas do not encourage contingent offers. Be courteous and don't "wear out" an agent looking too much until you at least have a firm contract, but do ask your Realtor for them to pick 5-6 top properties for you to preview. I know in our area, we strongly discourage our Sellers from taking offers contingent upon the Buyers selling a home, especially if it is out of our local selling area, but all areas are different. Good Luck!!
I constantly urge my seller clients to look at homes while we have their current home on the market. Generally, I ask them to identify 3-5 homes that suit their needs so that when we receive an acceptable offer on their home we can move quickly on purchasing a home. In this market buyers are not allowing sellers a tremendous amount of time to find a home so you really have to have your ducks lined up. All the Best.
Second, assuming the move is not elective, meaning, you have to move, then you should always investigate the new location for real estate and other community amenities (eg. library, schools, park, hospitals, etc.) that your family may need, as well as looking at real estate.
If you are selling in a market that is brisk and buying in a market that is stagnant, then I would recommend that you look for a house. If it is the reverse, then perhaps focus on selling because anything that you like will likely have sold by the time you've sold your property. Even if you can afford to keep your house, if it is in a stagnant or declining market, you'll have to decide if you can endure the stress level and financial burden of owning 2 properties.
If you are not ready to make an offer the other benefit to looking now is knowledge. It will help you pricing an offer when you are ready.