Great advice in prior answers. I think doing a combination of both starting to look at homes and to start prepping your home to get it on the market is the best suggestion. We are reaching PRIME SELLING season. And with the rates being so low, your amount of qualified buyers increases. My traffic on my listings since before Christmas have tripled..things were very slow.
Your first step though is to get with a Realtor to do a CMA (Comparable market Anaylsis) of your property, look at your numbers on payoff vs what you could sale for and net and then see what you'd have left after the sale. From there, you'd get a with a lender to see what you'd qualify for on a new home and that way you'd know what price ranges of properties you could start be looking for. You need the number from the sale of your property to give to the lender, if you are planning to put a down payment on.
In the sale of your home though, meeting with a REALTOR is only part one in this strong buyers market. You'd also want to meet with a HOME STAGER (an expert in preparing your home for top dollar). Home stagers come in and evaluate your home and gives suggestions or assist you in prepaping the property. Home staging does several things. It makes your home appeal to the most of amount of buyers by neutralizing as much as possible, de-cluttering to make more space (make the home look larger) and it always makes the home show great for pictures that go online on the mls and home search websites as well as if your realtor does a virtual tour, the STAGING IS A MUST for these tours and in this market. It gives you the edge. ..
I am BOTH a Realtor and a Nationally Accredited Home Stager. Anyone that lists their home with me gets a free staging evaluation and assistance prepping their home as part of the listing with me. Or if you already have a Realtor you love, the staging can be done seperate for a small fee. I'd more than happy to meet you at your home to do a CMA and pre-evaluation of needed staging to get you moving in the direction you are seeking.
I'm ready to assist.
Realtor, Nationally Accredited Home Stager, Accredited Buyers Representative
Virginia Beach, VA
e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org