This question is asked by nearly every home seller I work with. The answer depends on your risk tolerance level and personal circumstances. Review the following scenarios to decide what might be right for you.

Scenario 1: You are in a seller’s market.

Typically, you want to start with the transaction that will take the most amount of time. This means, if you are in a seller’s market you would want to buy first since finding the right home to purchase will likely take more time than it will to sell.

Answer: Buy first

Scenario 2: You are in a buyer’s market.

On the flip side, if you are in a buyer’s market you will usually sell first and then buy.

Answer: Sell first

Scenario 3: You are able to write a subject to sale offer.

A subject to sale offer is the best of both worlds, as it allows you to purchase a home on the condition that you are able to sell your own.  Not all sellers will accept this kind of offer, but in a buyer’s market they are more likely to do so.

Answer: Buy and sell at the same time

Scenario 4: You can afford to own two properties.

If you can afford to pay the mortgage on two properties temporarily, you eliminate some of the risk involved in purchasing before you sell.

Answer: Buy first

Scenario 5: You have some place you could live in the interim.

Whether you buy or sell first, there is a small risk that the possession dates on both properties may not line up.  Have a backup plan for a place you can stay while waiting to move into your new home.

Answer: Sell first

As always, a real estate professional will help you to navigate the ever-changing market and give you the best advice for your specific situation.