Home Buying in 10022>Question Details

Maria Richar…, Both Buyer and Seller in New York, NY

I want to sell my place and get a bigger place, but I am immobilized by not being able to decide if I should find the new one first or put this on

Asked by Maria Richardson, New York, NY Tue Nov 2, 2010

the market first. Either way has its downside. I could find what I love and risk two mortgages or I could get a buyer and not find what I want in time and have nowhere to go.

Help the community by answering this question:


The definitive answer is it depends upon the market. If this were 2007, when NYC apts. were flying off the shelves, you actually could have moved forward first on a new place confident that your old one would sell quickly. In this market, which is a buyer's market, you are quite right that you do not want two mortgages. In this market, which has been picking up in number of transactions and slightly in price, but is definitely not pre-Sept. 2008 crash, it is wiser to get your current place on the market and and at least be in contract before seriously looking. However, it does not hurt to do some preliminary looking to educate yourself about what is out there, so that when you have listed your home and are ready to buy the new one, you can do a laser-focused search. A good way to do that is to attend open houses here and there. If you followed this path and got a buyer and didn't find the exact right new place to purchase, there is always the option of renting for a while which would ease the pressure of having to make a very quick purchase or feel you are settling due to time constraints.
I'm not sure if you have a co-op or condo and if you are able to rent it out if you found a new place before selling, but I am going to assume that you need to pull your money out of the current place for the new downpayment.
In summary, the general answer to this question is not "do this" or "do that" but rather it depends upon the current market, and in this market, you are safer listing and having a buyer first.

Jenet Levy
Halstead Property, LLC
212 381-4268
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 3, 2010
I suggest that you put your property on the market at first, and at the same time start looking for a new place.
As you find your property of interest speak with your relator about it and see what can he/she offer you.
Make sure that you will work with someone that is a specialist in your neighborhood.
Thank You
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 16, 2012
Many of the real estate agents have answered this question for you thoroughly. What I would add would be the issues raised if you were planning to finance the purchase of a new property.
If you were planning to buy a new property without first selling yours, there are issues raised with how you would qualify for ratio purposes carrying the expense of both properties. In addition the terms of the loan may be worse since the new property may be considered an investment property if you own 2 properties in the same geographic area, thus terms on the purchase property could be worse than if it was a clear primary residence. Finally, the obvious one, would be use of funds. If you managed to buy a place and were planning to sell prior to buying, you would need to first prove the sale via a HUD 1 and proof of proceeds (if you were financing the purchase property as a primary residence).
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 3, 2010
Unless you can afford to carry two properties for an extended period of time, as in 6 months, you must sell first.

In New York you always have somewhere to go--you put your belongings in storage and rent a place on a month-to-month or weekly basis. There are excellent companies that provide this service. This will almost certainly be less expensive and less anxiety-provoking than being under contract for a place you cannot afford to buy, because you cannot sell your old home.

Realize too, that in New York City, sellers will NOT usually agree to a contract contingency that lets you out of the deal with no penalty if you can't sell your old place. This is different than in other parts of the USA.

Therefore if you enter into a contract and put the usual 10% down, you could lose that 10% if you cannot sell your old place and close on the new one in a reasonable period of time. That's a lot of money to kiss goodbye.

But the more likely scenario is that no seller will go to contract with you, and many buyer's brokers won't work with you, and so you won't have as many apartments, and certainly not the best apartments, available to consider unless you sell first.

Karla Harby, VP
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 3, 2010
Do not even start looking for a new place until you are in contract. Make sure the contract allows you enough time to search.

I once sold a home on the first day (June). We had the contract read January or sooner. We closed in November.
Web Reference: http://GailGladstone.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 2, 2010
Hi Maria. In my opinion, I'm with Jodi below. DO NOT attempt to buy a new home before you've sold your current home. There will always be a place to rent for short term while you're looking for a new home to buy.

Now is the time to be conservative financially and not taking risks. Keep your money in your pocket until you find something you absolutely love, then buy it! You might just luck out and be able to sell, then buy with in 1-60 days, which would be amazing.


Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 2, 2010
It is a very hard situation for most clients to deal with. If you had unlimited wealth I would say find your ideal property and then sell. But if you are like most of us out there you should sell first but make the closing date as far out as you can. This way you can avoid being forced to buy something you may not love just because you already sold yours. Call me with any questions 917 306 6618
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 2, 2010
Would you buy a new car before selling the old one? Whatever you do, do NOT buy a new home without selling the one you are in. Your dream home will be there when it's time to move.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 2, 2010
This depends on the level of risk you are able to live with and the current market conditions. Also, can you afford to carry both homes.
I always suggest that buyers start the buying and selling processes at the same time with the objective of selling first.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 1, 2013
Hello Maria,
I agree with most of the responder's below. First, get your house on the market and see what happens. This will give you time to see what kind of attention your home is receiving.

I would recommend you sell your home first but actively look for a new place. When you open escrow, this will allow you to fine tune your areas of interests (neighborhood/homes) and move closer to making offer/s on the new property as your esrow timeline is established. BUT with all this advice, it is up to you and your finances to make the decision :)


Yeprem P. Davoodian
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2012
Hello Maria,
You should put your home on the market first and start looking the moment you have an executed contract of sale. As a buyer in this market, you still hae the upper hand which means it will take you a lot longer selling than buying. If you sell first, At least you will get a clear idea of what kind of funds you have at hand in order to buy. The question at hand is, do you have to sell in order to buy? If you must sell than you sho uld sell first. It still is a buyer's market even though we are having bidding wars on some of our sales.
Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.
Fern Hamberger
VP Associate Broker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 11, 2012
this question was asked almost 2 years ago!
Flag Thu Oct 11, 2012
If you buy a new place first, you would have to come up out of pocket with a downpayment (at least) and also pay monthly charges for 2 apartments until you sell.
If you sell your current place first, you may need to find some temporary living solution and pay rent for some time and storage fees because it is very hard to time both 2 closings to happen at the same time.

There are some other variables, such as marketing time for your apartment that will depend on its location, condition, building, and many other factors - are you ok to wait or to compromise the price for timing, etc...or you would rather wait?
Depending on whether you need money for the downpayment from the proceeds of sale of your current apartment and how quickly you would like to move to a new place you can decide what to do first....

I would be happy to discuss.

Elena Ravich
Rakita Realty
646 593 7307
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 11, 2012
this question was asked almost 2 years ago!
Flag Thu Oct 11, 2012
I agree with all the comments, we're in a tough economic climate and real estate market. Seal the deal first and then start looking. You'll be preivewing units throughout the process of your sale so when you are ready you can either make an offer considering the apt/home is still on the market and you won't loose time by starting to look after you close. Trust the process, stick with the winners and work with an agent that you feel comfortable with. Best of luck, I'm sure you'll do fine. For all your real estate needs feel free to cotnact me anytime.

Please Contact:Tony Lara
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 East 56th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 688-1000 x 435 (tel)
(917) 647-8966 (cell)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 4, 2012
Maria, what did you end up deciding to do? It's been a while since you first asked this question.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 21, 2011
Hi Maria,

You're not alone! Many seller/buyers find themselves in similar situations all the time. My advice is to talk to an experienced agent who has done this type of coordinated sale/purchase before and knows what steps are best to take and the best way to time the process so the transition is as smooth as possible. Its not as tough as you might think. Feel free to click the link below if you'd like to chat about the process.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 21, 2011
It is my opinion that the driving issue is your underlying financial situation. Remember that you can make a purchase offer "contingent" upon your selling your current property. Follow my link. I will be happy to help you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 19, 2010
Hi Maria,
I would advise you to have an eye on the market to see if there is something you would even find appealing in the first place. In terms of pursuing buying, I wouldn't as you're tying up your credit and could be difficult to procure financing etc... There are a lot of transactions occuring as now is the busy fall selling season. Put your home on the market first. Good luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 3, 2010
No knowing your overall finances, existing mortgage, credit, etc.-- if you haven't done so, do visit with any qualified loan officer(s) see if you qualify for a loan, how much, will you qualify for a mortgage without selling first, will you be able to carry the expenses for both properties if needed, etc.; then make determination as to what makes most sense your personal situation--and go from there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 3, 2010
Hello Ms. Richardson,

The best solution in the present real estate market is to sell your apartment before purchasing a new home. New York City is still the vibrent City people want to move to. Weather you apartment sells quickly or not depends on the location and condition. I would like to assist you by making a market evaluation of your apartment to determine when and how to best sell it.

Please contact me at your earliest convienance. I can be reached at 917-687-2046 or at sharon.harris@elliman.com.

I look forward to hearing from you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 3, 2010
Sell Sell Sell First! It takes time to sell and you don't know how long it will take to sell your home.
Then you would know how much you have to spend...
It is a good time to buy and there is a good amount of inventory so it would be easier to buy then to sell.
As soon as you get the first solid offer then yu can go out and take a good look of what you are buying.
Good Luck and let me know if you have any other questions.
Good Luck!
Fern Hamberger
Senior Associate brpker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 3, 2010
Hi Maria,
There is plenty of inventory right now. Find a broker you are comfortable working with. They will prepare a CMA report and price the property accurately, list and market your home. When you have an acceptable offer and contracts are signed, you can get more aggressive with buying opportunities.
Good luck..
Web Reference: http://www.finelivingny.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 3, 2010

In this market I recommend you list your home first. the average days on the market ranges depending on your area from three months to as much as six months or longer. depending on the price range you are in and other variables there si really no telling how soon or long it will take to sell your home.
By putting it on the market first; when you get a buyer for your home you then have a window to look and find a home. You can be looking while your home is on the market so you have an idea of what is out there.
Also, if you do sell yoru home and cannto find one you like right away; there si always the option of getting a short term lease until you find the right home for yourself.....
Either way, there are more pros than cons to listing your home first.
Web Reference: http://www.davedicecco.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 3, 2010
Maria work on selling your home first. If there is a lag between selling and buying you can sometimes arrange a short-term lease with the new owner of your home. What happens if you find something you really love but your home is not on the market. It can be very disappointing! Also in todays market, homes are not selling quickly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 3, 2010

Best thing to do is list your property for sale while at the same time start looking. Once you have an offer or find something you want then regroup and figure out how to make it happen. Its not as difficult or stressful as you might imagine.

Sami Saghie, MBA, BSc
VP Sales
Ross Realty International

Member Real Estate Board of New York
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 3, 2010
Maria - truthfully, your question might be moot, as many people can NOT buy unless they sell first.

Before you concern yourself with what to do....you need to look into how a bank would view you.

Speak to a lender first, and see if you even have the option of buying a new home first., without selling your current one.

If you find out you have the financial ability to qualify for a new loan along with your current one...... then you will need to decide if you have the nerves of steel it will take to possibly carry 2 homes at the same time.
Only you know the answer to that.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 2, 2010
It has always been advisable in both good and bad markets to sell first and buy second. From personal experience I would urge you not to go out and look at places before you have listed yours. Right now there are more apartments on the market than used to be and if you see something you love and cannot carry 2 mortgages you'll be miserable. List your place and when you have a buyer and are in contract, that is when you should start looking. There is more to choose from now than ever before at more competitive prices. You will be on that side as a seller and still able to take advantage of this market when you buy. It's very difficult to have the timing work out perfectly when selling and buying but if you do it this way you won't risk ending up with 2 mortgages for long, if at all. Last, hire a strong real estate company and broker to take care of your sale and I'd be happy to meet with you to discuss that.

Nancy Brennan
The Corcoran Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 2, 2010
Hi Maria,

Most people would prefer to find a house and then sell their old home. This is the wrong way to do it. You should list your home and then when you have it under agreement put an offer on another home. Doing it the wrong way can cost you money. For instance:

You find a home you really like and you want to place an offer on it. Without your current home being under agreement, you will have to try and get the seller of the new home to accept your offer contingent on you selling your current home. This causes you a loss of negotiating power. You will probably have to offer the seller more to take the risk plus the seller may put a contingency in the contract that states if another buyer comes along without a home to sell they can pull the plug on you and go with the new buyer. I just had a buyer to that to another buyer.

Then, on the other side, you now have to sell your home in a hurry. More than likely you will have to make the price very attractive in order to sell it fast.

So, in the end, you will probably pay more for the house you want and get less money for the home you have to sell.

Best of luck,

Joe Finnerty
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc
Lehigh Valley, PA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 2, 2010
Hello Maria,

It is possible to find a property before you sell yours depending on your finances and whether you are selling a home, condo or cooperative. It takes much less time to close on a condo or home from the date of the accepted offer to close, than it does (in general) if you are purchasing and selling a cooperative (Co-Op) because of board package preparation and the board interview process. According to most mortgage bankers and brokers it is taking approximately 30 to 45 days to get a mortgage, so if you can get your property in contract, you have adequate time to find a property that you want to purchase, and there can always be flexibility in a closing date if you have willing buyers and sellers.

It is always important to have a qualified real estate broker representing you in the sale and purchase of your property to help guide you through the process.

Leslie D. Bott
Fenwick Keats Goodstein Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 2, 2010
Hi Maria,
It depends on a few things.. for 1. Do you have enough money liquid to pay for a new down payment? 2. Will you qualify for a 2nd mortgage? Best case scenario is that you start to do both at the same time, so that when you close on your sale, you can follow up soon after with your new purchase. In this market there is a lot available with great deals to be had. While Real Estate is not an exact science, if you have a good broker who can price your property correctly, and at the same time find you what your looking for, and get you a good deal, you could probably sell your home and search at the same time. You can always make an offer on a new property contingent on signing a contract for your sale.
Steve Halpern
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 2, 2010
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