The other way is to put a contingent contract on a house and hope yours sells before the contingency runs out on the other one. Finding sellers that will accept a contingent contract are harder and harder to find and you normally will have to pay more to get a seller to accept one. The seller will normally give you 30-90 days to remove the contingency and they will normally have a kick-out clause that says if a non-contingent buyer comes along and makes the seller an acceptable offer you will have 72 hours to remove the contingency or you lose the house to the new buyer. Any good experienced Realtor can explain all this to you, so find one to help you.
I just answered another of your questions. In this market, in your location, you need to get your place on the market and in contract before buying a new place. In NYC, contingencies for you to sell your home first are simply not done. When someone is willing to purchase your place, sign a contract and give a deposit, they are not going to want to wait for you to first find your new home. I know from your other question, that you are considering additionally hindering yourself by attempting a "private sale" which I assume to mean being a For Sale by Owner. I would strongly suggest you contact a skilled, experienced agent, as we can guide you through the entire process of selling your current place and getting the new one, in the most efficient, effective way. This will save your tremendous time, money and aggravation.
Halstead Property, LLC
Judging by your zip code it looks like your are on the UES, there's a good chance that you own a co-op so the closing of your sale most likely would take 60-90+ days depending on how your co-op board responds to sales. Even condos on UES can take that long as well although usually the time is shorter because your buyer may not need a board interview. All that to say you should have time to indentify a property you like while you have a pending contract on your apartment. It is harder to get an offer accepted with a contingency in manhattan (if you are looking to purchase in manhattan) but it is done all the time. The key will be communicating the terms of your contingency to the sellers agent. The more detail you can give them about your sale the more likely it is that they would be open to the idea of accepting an offer with a contingency. Just consider the information that you woukd waney to see if a buyer of your apartment was to have a sale contingency.
It can happen I've done a few over the past couple years as our market heats up it becomes more difficult. One factor in your favor is that we just hit vacation season so a segment of our buying population will be headed out east or to ct for July and August. So you as a buyer you will compete with a smaller pool of buyers and sellers that have their apartments on the market now really want to sell so they will listen to unconventional terms. I'm not saying they will take your offer but they will listen a lot more closely than they would in April may or June.
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The Daniels Team
Licensed Real Estate Sales Team NY & NJ
831 Broadway New York NY | 79 Hudson Street Hoboken NJ
T:201.478.6722 | F:646.201.9717
Before you put your property on the market, get an equity line equal to what you will need for a down payment on a purchase. Put the money in the bank!
Next, wait until you are in full contract on the sale of your house before you even start looking at what to purchase.
When you find the property, use the banked funds for your down payment and tell your attorney to schedule the closing of your house earlier the same day (or the day before) the closing of your purchase.