Buy a Home, or Sell your Home first?

Joanne Taylor

778-227-1443
604-538-8888
info@joannetaylorhomes.com

 

 

 

Awarded

Rotarian of the Year

Rotary Club of South Surrey

2013

 

 

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BUY OR SELL FIRST?

It's the age-old question, do I sell my home before I buy, or do I buy my new home before I sell? It's natural to want to buy your new home first so you have the security of knowing where you'll be living. But there are advantages to selling first, buying later:

 

  • You'll know how much your house is worth, so you can be sure of how much you can spend.
  • There's a chance you won't have to make your offer subject to financing.
  • You'll most likely be able to arrange a long closing to give you time to look...
  • It could be a stressful situation, but it's also stressful to own two homes.

 

There is no generally correct answer to the classic real estate problem of whether it's better to buy first or sell first.

 

Moving from one house to another involves financial risk of carrying two houses simultaneously, or, ending up on the street and having to move twice.  

 

Let us investigate which alternative has fewer disadvantages.

 

IF THE CLIENT BUYS FIRST:

 

1) One may have the satisfaction and security of knowing where he or she is moving to, but only perhaps..


2) The smart thing to do is to include a clause in the offer, stipulating that the purchase is Subject to the sale of the buyers house by a certain date (such as in 60 days).

 

3) If the buyer needs new financing, there would also have to be an appropriate clause to that effect.


4) Because of these two subject-to clauses, the buyer will have reduced bargaining power (in comparison with a subject free cash offer).  The seller will be less inclined to negotiate on his asking price.  Some Sellers may not even look at offers with a subject to sale clause, unless, the price is right.


5) Then there is the uncertainty of whether the buyer's house will sell during that limited time period. To avoid tying up his principle's house needlessly, the listing broker will insist on inserting an escape clause: The sellers acceptance of this offer is subject to him being able to continue to market his house during the next 60 days, then the seller will give the buyer 24 hours to remove all subject clauses and make this a firm binding contract. Failure to do so will render this contract null and void and the seller will be free to accept the other offer.


6) The lending institution that will grant the new mortgage for the buyer may not give a firm commitment until the buyer's house is sold. Besides the uncertainty of how much new financing the buyer will need, the problem may be the buyer's inability to carry two houses.


7) Next, the buyer will find himself under pressure to sell: he has a limited amount of time to sell. Precious days will be wasted on getting the show on the road: processing, publishing and circulating the listing. It may be on the computer without a picture. 


8) Selling in a buyer's market often compounds additional problems. Over-optimistic / unrealistic sellers tend to overestimate their homes market value and underestimate the length of time that is required to sell their house.


9) The buyer will not have the luxury of being able to hold out for a good price on his own property; in fact, he may be forced to progressively reduce his price in order to attract an offer. Everybody has seen the ads, Owner has bought and must sell. Some ruthless buyers may decide to wait and see how low the unfortunate owner is willing/able/forced to go.


10) To add insult to injury, the buyer may be served (during the 60 days he has to sell) with the 24-hour escape clause before his old house is sold. As for most people, it is too risky to borrow bridge financing and to carry two houses. They will have no choice but to step aside and lose out on the home of choice. If somebody buys first, chances are that he will buy high (little bargaining power) and sell Low (due to time pressure) and/or he may lose out anyway on the house.

 

IF THE CLIENT SELLS FIRST:

 1) The preliminaries of putting the house on the market can be taken care of without wasting precious time.

 

2) While their house is for sale, there is nothing to stop them from familiarizing themselves with what is on the market; should they find a suitable home before they have a firm offer on the old house, the subject-to-sale method is available.

 

3) If they get an offer on their old house before they have found something they like, then they have the luxury of being able to drive a tough bargain (to make only small concessions on their asking price).  They can also protect themselves by adding in their own clause subject to them finding a home, so really, if they don't find something they love, they don't have to sell at all. 

 

4) If the buyers are renters, then a long possession date should be no problem. A long possession date could be a bargaining factor and should be attempted on all offers.

 

5) After the buyers have received a firm offer with a substantial deposit (for their peace of mind), they can get their mortgage approved and,

 

6) Drive a hard bargain on their next purchace. The owner of the house they want to buy will view them as cash buyers and will be more disposed to making price concessions.

 

So if you sell first and buy later, there is nothing to stop you from looking while marketing your own house, and if you play your cards right, you will sell high and buy low.

 

Regrettably, there is no universally perfect solution to this dilemma. Each client will have to weigh the risks of having to move before the next place is available: if they bunk with friends or relatives or rent temporary quarters, there is the expense of having to move twice, storing the furniture somewhere and possibly having to put a pet into a kennel.

 

For what ever it is worth, all of these problems are surmountable and merely inconveniences in comparison with the financial burden and fiasco of having to carry two houses for an indeterminate period of time.