For those of you who have bought and sold a home at the same time, you are well aware of the stress and frustration involved in getting everything to fall in place at the same time.  Here are your options for managing the process of buying when you have a home to sell:

  • Own two homes. Owning two homes means you purchase your new house without having sold the existing house.  By doing so, you are responsible for paying all of the expenses of  both houses until the previous home sells.  This is the least stressful, but also potentially the most risky and expensive.  It’s the least stressful because you are in complete control of the moving process and don’t have to worry about transaction delays or issues because you can stay in your current home until the new one closes.  However, the expenses can add up fast, especially if your old home doesn’t sell quickly.  Before deciding to pursue this option, be sure to check with your lender and make sure you can qualify for financing.
  • Move twice.  Moving twice is usually less expensive, but requires you to move twice and find temporary housing with a short term lease, (which isn’t cheap).  Once your existing home sale is completed, you are in the drivers seat as a potential buyer, with no contingencies and great flexibility with timing.  This flexibility can go a long way with a Seller who is trying to manage timelines for selling a house and buying another.
  • Simultaneous closings.  There are basically two options here.  One, make an offer contingent on the sale of you current residence, which most Sellers won’t even consider in today’s market.  Your other choice is to wait until your existing home goes into contract and make an offer contingent upon the successful closing of your home, which most Sellers are willing to accept.  The risk involved in going with the second option is what happens if your existing home goes into contract and you cannot find another home?  If that happens, you are likely going to have to move twice, (depending on what your contract says).  Both of these options have the potential for a disaster in the event either of the closings get delayed or the contract falls apart.  When things go bad, it can be a real mess as multiple transactions hinge on one another, similar to a house of cards.

Buying and selling a home is likely one of the most stressful things you will experience.  You are faced with minimal options, none of which are that appealing.  The best advice is to commit to a plan and stick with it.