Buy first or sell first?

Asked by Massmove, 01742 Wed Feb 24, 2010

We are looking to upgrade and buy in a nearby town but aren't sure if we should try to sell our house before buying or vice-versa. Seems to still be a buyers market in Massachusetts. We no longer have a mortgage on our house but would need money from the sale to put towards the new significantly more expensive house. Should we try to buy first and then pay down the mortgage when we sell? Are sellers accepting offers with the contingency of buyers selling their property first?

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Mary Sheppard’s answer
Mary Sheppard, , Concord, MA
Thu Jul 29, 2010
You should sell your house first. Sellers want a buyer who is ready to close and they don't want contingencies.

To make the right purchase you need to know what you can afford. Selling your home first will dictate what you can afford and will put you in a better position to decide on the type and amount of loan you need for your next purchase. Additionally, it sounds like you could have the down payment which would allow you to skip a potenital mortgage insurance cost.

I think selling first makes sense, but I don't know enough specifics about your situation to guarantee anything.

Is it a sellers market in *any* part of the U.S.? I don't believe so. I would say in general it is a buyers market in Massachusetts. Basically if you are getting less for the sale of your property and you purchase in a buyers market you are getting more for less. So a sale and a purchase cancels this out. If you didn't intend to reinvest the money into another house then that is another story.

Feel free to email me or call me if you are interested in more information on Concord and the surrounding Boston North West area.
0 votes
Margaret Ric…, Agent, Westford, MA
Mon Sep 16, 2013
The real estate market can change quickly as we've seen this past year. You don't want to be in the position of buying a new home without have sold your current property. Depending upon your home, market conditions, demand, it could take months for a home to sell if the market stalls.
Your best solution is to hire the right agent to coordinate the sale and purchase of a new home. If necessary, placing your things in storage is an option and renting until you find the right home at the right price in the right neighborhood. The purchase of a home is a long term investment that requires the best advice from a qualified agent.
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Pat Blair, Agent, Concord, MA
Wed May 8, 2013
Sell first and make your sale contingent on finding a home of your choice within a short period of time. Go into a rental if need be, and there are short term rentals to be had. In most towns it is a sellers market and no one wants to deal with an offer subject to your selling your home
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Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Fri Feb 26, 2010
In today's market, where average marketing times are being counted in months, rather than weeks, (and sometimes years) this is a no-brainer. Unless you can afford to buy, without the sale of your home (and afford potentially months of carrying costs... ie: heat, electric, water, maintenance, landscaping, taxes... etc...) you should sell your home first.

Make sure that you get it solidly under contract, past all contingencies before putting any purchase under contract... and for your safety, you may want to consider adding a "House Closing" contingency to your purchase contract (this would be something to discuss with your buyer's agent).

Good luck.
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Tom and Joan…, Agent, Boston, MA
Fri Feb 26, 2010
Mass Move:

I am a regional broker based in Weston, but have a lot of experience in Concord. I am the President of the BNI chapter in Concord, and you have so many options. I want to first answer your questions and then discuss creative options.

1. Home sellers are accepting home sale contingencies, but if you want the best deal CASH is king!
2. Depending on your financial position it may be easier to buy first and then sell, but you have to hire a confident and great Realtor. Last year I handled several sell in the morning buy in the afternoon.

3. If you decide to buy first you can apply for a mortgage with a home equity second so that when you sell your home you pay off the home equity and does not effect the mortgage or you can get a mortgage that allows a big pay down and then re adjusts.

Please contact me if you want to discuss further. T
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Patrick Thies, Agent, Anytown, IL
Wed Feb 24, 2010
Selling your house may take longer then finding a new house. Unless you have already found something that you are interested, I would say try and sell your house first. You can always look while the house is for sale.

If you need to sell the house and use the money to purchase then having the house sold when you go to purchase may put you in a better buying position then trying to purchase with a home sale contingency.
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Laura Myers…, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Wed Feb 24, 2010
Hi Massmove
Here in our market we have majority of short sales or bank owned property where a contingency on the sale of another home wont work. If you can buy without the proceeds of your current home then that is best and then buy down (no prepayment penalty on your loan, make sure) . You can have your home up for sale while you search as well so you have an idea of market conditions. As you stated a buyers market will mean you will receive the same type of offers on your home to consider as you will be writing on the new home you buy. So keep that in mind and gather as much data up front to be an informed seller and buyer.
If you need help with an agent to interview I don't mind connecting you.

All my best
Laura Myers
Keller Williams Arizona Realty
0 votes
Tom Lynch, Agent, Great Barrington, MA
Wed Feb 24, 2010

Every house generally sells if priced right and marketed properly. I would say the first step is identifying an experienced realtor to provide "comps" and discuss with you the current market value of your house. Better yet, speak to several realtors to discuss pricing and how they market properties. If you are confident your house will sell relatively quickly, then put it on the market and start looking! If you find something you like before your house sells, there is the possibility of taking out a "bridge loan" to finance the new property.

Good luck with both selling your home and buying a new one! By the way, it sounds like you may qualify for the $6,500 tax credit!

Tom Lynch
Associate Broker, Berkshire Property Agents
Great Barrington, Massachusetts 01230
0 votes
Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Wed Feb 24, 2010
Some people have had their house for sale for 1 1/2, maybe 2 or more years. No sale.

Can you afford to make payments on a new house without selling the old one first? Do you want to?

For your safety and peace of mind I would sell, rent a short time, and then buy. This way you stay where you are until you are free to move with no doubts. Sometimes, a sale breaks down on the very day it was going to be signed and bought. Only when you have cash in hand are you sure it will happen.

Buy later, sell now. Be safe.
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Barb Sabo, Agent, Munroe Falls, OH
Wed Feb 24, 2010
if possible, try to do both. you have the luxury of equity. get out there and see if you find something, meanwhile get pre-approved for a purchase all the while with your home listed to sell.
Barb Sabo
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Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Wed Feb 24, 2010
Visit with any qualified loan officer first and see exactly what your budget can handle and check your credit score--if you don't sell first can you carry the expenses for both properties and if so for how long-- if you need the proceeds from the sale of your current home, for the next, you really need to list as soon as a decision to move, or not is made. Your loan officer will best advise you based on your personal finances.
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