List First or Buy First?

Unless you are a first time buyer, one of the big decision points when purchasing a new home is whether to buy first or list first.


In a strong market such as we have today, sellers won't often consider an offer 'subject to the sale of a buyers' home' so purchasers are left with a big decision before signing an offer and I've noticed a few folks deciding to just wait a bit because they find the decision somewhat daunting.


There are risks and rewards from both approaches, but finances ultimately dictate. With banks changing lending rules and putting limits on refinancing, the option to buy first sometimes isn't there. Have a conversation with a very good mortgage broker or your personal mortgage rep to ensure your numbers are clearly outlined as well as the purchase process, down payment options to avoid unneeded mortgage insurance costs and other details.


If you buy first, the risk is that you will be holding two properties without knowing your exact sale price or sale date. The benefit is that you can wait to find the right new property without being rushed to purchase just what is available during a given window of time. If you are looking for a unique property or one with specific characteristics such as view, walkout basement, specific area or homestyle or else a condo in a specific building, it is often these types of homes that are purchased prior to selling.


If you sell first, the risk is that you will not yet find a new home and need to find temporary housing between possession dates. You will have certainty that your home has sold, have a firm sale price and have full understanding of your budget and dates.


If you are deciding a plan forward then take the time to ensure you have the market data you need and that you know there are options out there when looking for a new home. Being prepared makes it much less daunting and much more exciting.

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