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You’ve Outgrown Your Home, Do You Buy or Sell First?

A Buy or Sell First sign is placed on a patch of grass. This article answers the question, do you buy or sell first?

Do You Buy or Sell First?

There comes a time in your life when you outgrow your home. Your family has grown and you simply need more space to have a functional household.

When this happens, homeowners tend to linger on the question, “Do I buy or sell first?”

If you are in this predicament, you are not alone. 42% of Ontarians are concerned about whether to buy their new home before selling their current home.

The first step to help you find the best answer is to get the right help. You need to find the right real estate professional for your needs.

A good place to start is by asking friends and family for referrals and meeting with at least three candidates.

I know that is the first I turn to for recommendations.

My next step is to head online for resources.  Since I live in Ontario, I found a website that can check the status of registered real estate professionals and find out what questions they should ask before deciding whom to hire.

RECO regulates real estate pros in the province and protects the public interest through a fair, safe, and informed marketplace.

To me, that sounds like winning already.

You can always look for pros, like estate & letting agents bletchley, to help you out during the process too.

Real estate infographic.

The Stats

In a recent survey sponsored by RECO,  800 Ontarians were surveyed and indicated they have bought or sold in the past two years or are considering buying or selling real estate within the next two years.

I think anytime we make a large investment in buying or selling a home, we have many reservations.

70% of young people are worried they simply just don’t know enough about buying or selling a home. While 84% worry about being able to afford it.

76% claimed that they worry about affording the possible associated costs that come with owning a home like home repairs or renovations.

60% were worried if they could keep up with mortgage payments and 68% were concerned they’d be outbid in the process.

While I am slightly under the age margin (I’m 32), we are in our second home and we have considered getting into another home in the future if we need to.

Ontarians aged 35-54, who have already bought and sold their first homes have fewer concerns than their younger counterparts.

Their biggest concerns are very different from the other groups.

For example, 57% worry about how long their home will sit on the market when they do decide to sell. 52% of them are less concerned that the real estate bubble will burst than younger people.

Selling First

There really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. But, as with any situation, there are always pros and cons to consider!

Having a good contingency plan in place is optimal, you can even learn more by reading this blog post.

TIP: Get in touch with a registered real estate pro before starting the buying and selling process.

In case your closing dates don’t align, it can potentially leave you with two homes or no home, for some time.

No one wants that!

Buying First

If you choose to buy first, there are a lot of positives that can make the process much more pleasant. For example, not having a closing date looming on your existing home, you’ll have time to wait until the right home comes up for sale. 

If you do make an offer on a home and it doesn’t go through, you can always wait until the next one!

The cons of buying first can result in not selling your house fast enough and ending up with TWO mortgages to pay. It can also affect the chance of securing a mortgage for the new home as well. So, that’s something to think about.

TIP: If you do make an offer, protect yourself by making it conditional on the sale of your current home.

Keep in mind that adding this condition to your offer may make it less attractive to the seller. But, it gives you the option to back out if things don’t end up working out on all levels.

The biggest advantage of selling first besides not ending up with two mortgages is the knowledge of knowing how much the sale brought in.

Helping you see how much of a budget you have to work with for your new home.

The only issue is that you will have a closing date looming over you. If you don’t have a plan you may end up rushing the buying process and settling for a home that isn’t for you.

Or worse, you may end up paying more than you wanted to because you feel the ticking of the clock.

TIP: Have a backup plan, consider a short-term rental or moving in temporarily with friends/family.

By doing so, it can help you to purchase the home that is ideal for you. Without deciding on pressure or in a rush and could end up resulting in buyer’s remorse.

If the purchase of your new home closes first, you might need something called “bridge financing” to cover the down payment and other closing costs until the sale of your current home closes.

Be Confident

At the end of it all, whether you choose to buy first or sell first, it’s important to remember that a registered real estate professional is knowledgeable about market conditions.

They will help you find solutions throughout the entire process. Plus, find a plan that works for you.

Also, remember to use the resources available to you and to find the right registered real estate pro. It can make all the difference!

They can answer all of your questions and put your worries to rest. I’m a firm believer that finding the right agent or broker can be very helpful.

Make sure you visit RECO to find the right one for you.

Have you outgrown your home?

Will you buy or sell first?

Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!

The name Nancy is shown as a signature.

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  1. I am actually renting so this doesn't affect me personally. But my friend is currently going through a divorce and her & her husband are facing this dilemma right now. She is worried she will be stuck without a place to live once hers is sold. I will pass along these tips to her so she can get educated on it.

  2. We build our own home 19 years ago,now that the kids are moved on we really need to start asking ourselves about selling and getting something smaller

  3. we sold a mobile home and it was easy went through the bank they paid us and it was simple of course that was like 10 years ago

  4. I was nervous when buying my home, because it's such a big investment! I wanted to make sure I got the best price for the best place for me. So I visited a lot of places, which took a lot of time, but that's how I was able to determine what features I needed and which ones were more on a 'dream list'. Our realtor really helped with everything!

  5. We have been in our first house for 11 years. We often talk about moving to a bigger house but are worried about the whole selling process.

  6. I hate the whole experience and find it too stressful. The packing, the negotiating, the inspection… Not for me. I love it once everything is done but really don't enjoy the process.

  7. My husband bough our home before we met and it is perfect. I have no plans on selling or buying but I sure love renos!! 🙂

  8. We sold our house 6 months ago and it was a nightmare. Everything went wrong. In the end it all worked out but honestly it was the worst 6 months of my life.

  9. We have gone through this process 3 times … having the right help is very important as some 'professionals' are anything but.

  10. We sold our last home & moved into a apartment. Kids went to college. We didn't like apartment living so we brought an 110 year old home & bring it back to where it should be. It has all the high baseboards and other stuff! Glad we did the buy & sell!

  11. we have purchased a new 2nd home to have as a rental property, we have discussed selling it tho, scary as it's a great investment, and with our current home, we need extra room for my mom to move in and to buy a bigger house we would have to move out of our area, which we love and our neighbors, so we are going to be building on.

  12. A lot of change has happened in my life and I have to make some decisions. When it comes to buying/selling, change scares me

  13. we actually recently went through selling our first home. it was kind of annoying going back and forth with agents who then go to the clients etc. thankfully it didn't take long to sell. one thing that scared me while trying to sell was not getting the amount for our house to be able to get our next house

  14. I'm thinking about selling but I worry about being able to get the house looking good! It feels like a really stressful process.

  15. (Sabina edwards) I've only had one house, the one we are currently in. Can't imagine any reason soon to sell it. When we first got it, we were a family of 4, my sons GF ended up moving in with us for two years (I tell ya it was tight) and now we are back down to just two of us. We both still work so there would be no real reason to sell. I don't make enough of an hourly wage to drive to my work place (less then $19/hr) but hubby does drive to the city to work. We've put a lot of work into our house, new roof, new windows, we did the siding ourselves as well. Had a two car garage put up (Its a wood shop folks, the vehicles have never even been inside there) and we do gardening as well.

  16. I have yet to buy a house, but I think I've watched enough HGTV shows to know what I'd be getting into.

  17. i want to buy but it worries me that i cant afford it and what happens if i lose my job. i also never have bought before and dont know how or if ill get ripped off

  18. I've never bought or sold a home, but I would be afraid of hidden costs. It would be very important to me to 'shop around' for a good retailer, do my own research, and make informed decisions.

  19. I worry about if we picked the right mortgage rate when we buy a home and what we still need to do to the home before we can move in.

  20. I bought my only home over 30 years ago andhave no intention of purchasing another..so have no thoughts about this subject

  21. I've never owned a home. We rent, and have never been in the position to buy so I have no experience with selling or buying.

  22. We had a good experience when we bought our first home (which we still live in), but now after 12 years here I'm kinda wishing I could buy a brand new home. We've been renovating because our house is just over 30years old. I'm not keen on doing a lot of renovations….it's not enjoyable for me personally.

  23. We bought our first home last year and I stressed out about the entire process. It's so hard to know if you're making the right decision when you choose a house…and don't even get me started about the actual moving process! I truly hope this is our forever home because I hate the thought of doing it all over again!


  24. My worst fear about buying and selling homes is the transition, do you buy first or sell first. I don't want to get stuck with multiple mortgage payments!

  25. I haven't had any experience buying a home (rented till I got married and moved into my hubby's house), but with the expensive real estate here in Vancouver, I worry about finding a house that is in a good location, and for an affordable price. On top of that, I am worried that our house is not on par with all the other houses in the market and therefore won't sell.

  26. When we listed our house, our realtor suggested staging our place which we incurred some expense since we have to rent a storage place to put our stuff until the house sold.

  27. We've bought but not sold. I'd be anxious about timing a buy and sell, and about having to keep our house "showing" ready until it's sold!

  28. I haven't bought a house yet, but I'm saving to buy one in the next few years. Budgeting for it is the hardest part . I've never stuck to a budget so it's hard to get into the habit.

  29. as a realtor I really appreciate reco! I have bought and sold many houses and I love helping others to do the same. I don't worry too much personally, but I like to be able to help address the concerns of others

  30. I always like to sell first, then buy. This helps the anxiety of wondering if you will get the house you want to buy because you may not sell in time.

  31. I have never bought a home but I think I would be nervous about picking the wrong one or not being able to get what I need or want.

  32. I worry about the housing market staying stable, as our home is really our nest egg. If things change in Ottawa, selling it could be pretty scary.

  33. When we did the buy/sell we had bought our house first so the stress of selling, getting an offer and closing was pretty surreal. we manged to do it but it took longer then thought and having an 8 month old while having to keep house show ready was another ordeal

  34. I worry about the little things: is the basement going to stay dry, how long are the shingles good for, does the roof leak. Will I like my neighbors.

  35. We had such a smooth experience when we bought our first home. A good realtor makes it easy! We haven't thought about selling, but it would scare me a bit

  36. I'm so glad we bought our 'forever home' as our first home! Selling & having to buy again would be super stressful!

  37. we bought our home 15 years ago (and the process went smooth) and at this time really not thinking about selling – but if we were I would wonder about the market

  38. I worry we may lost out if we cant find the right buyer because we redone the home to be wheelchair accessible in and out

    1. Definitely something to think about! Sometimes it can be a selling point, especially if you have widened the door entries!

  39. I bought my current residence over 8 years ago and sold my previous home privately. It came right down to crunch time but I sold in time! I will be mortgage free soon so I would sell this home and rent if I didn't find the perfect home when the kids leave. Good plan!

  40. I didnt have any experience when I bought my home 6 yrs ago it was scary and I do recommend getting the place inspected

  41. Selling our house was so stressful, we were living elsewhere and just wanted it sold. Finally after a year we had an offer and we were done with the whole situation.

  42. I have a large home filled with a lot of stuff and it's getting to be too much for me to take care of. I'm thinking of selling but what do I do with all the stuff?

    1. It can be a tough market. In our area it is a sellers market right now. A pro can help you choose the right time.

  43. I am still living in the condo that my parents bought when I went to University, other than we own it now. Really don't have experience with buying or selling. We are hoping to move one day, I just hope we can afford what we want.

  44. Not too much experience in the buying/selling market. We are thinking of maybe doing a move in 5 years so hopefully it will work out for us.

  45. I was nervous about the hidden repairs needed when I bought my first house. And within a year I had to fix the plumbing!

  46. My biggest worry about buying another place is whether or not we will be able to afford it since the prices seems to be getting so high. We do own right now but it is just a 2 bedroom condo in a highrise.

  47. We have bought and sold our house in the past and remember being stressed out hoping our house would sell before we closed on our new house.

  48. we rent right now. however we do plan on buying and selling homes later on. our friends currently flipped a few houses and got us thinking about it

  49. I had an excellent realtor and my buying experience was smooth sailing! I will say I did appreciate the small renos the previous owner put in

  50. We bought our first house 6 months ago – everything was really good until our final walk through. There were so many issues that had happened (rough leak, toilet broken and water damage into the living room below, pool leak, and ESA was not completed) so we had money held back. No biggie, right? Wrong! The sellers decided they weren't going to release any of the money to fix the problems afterall! And then after going back and forth for weeks, they threatened to sue us because we had held up some of their money at the lawyer's! The nerve! It all ended up being okay in the end. We didn't get enough to fix all the issues, but at least we got some and now we don't ever have to deal with them again! Not the best experience for your first house, but we've learned that the most bizarre things can happen. Even our lawyer and real estate agent couldn't believe how unreasonable they were! They said our situation was not a common one lol

  51. I haven't bought my own home yet, still renting – but my biggest worry of that transition is 'can I afford this?"

  52. I worry about the costs of buying and the chance of poorly done quick fixes or renovations done by the previous owners.

  53. Not that experience in this but I am afraid of what the prices will be like when we do sell our highrise condo & move (looking at maybe 5 years from now).

  54. Since we just bought our first home and are doing renovations, I'm worried about renovating ourselves out of the neighbourhood. I want a beautiful home, but I want a good return on any investments we put in the house!

  55. We bought our home through an agent & it was a great experience. I worry most about having someone with good credentials whom I can trust.

  56. I'm in the middle of a divorce but I hope to buy out my husbands share of our home. I'm not at a point in my life to start all over. My place needs fixing up but it's still home.

  57. I just saw a house was sold for 4.2 million in Vancouver… no … not a mansion… just a regular house… What???!!!!!

  58. If i lived in a bigger place i would be more comfortable with selling but living in a town with less than 2500,it can take years to sell a home !

  59. money is always the big concern, will you get what you need , will you have to do bridge financing & all the other bills

  60. It is high risk to sell before you buy in a forward moving market. You could sell and not find a place you want then be priced out of the market. Then what…welcome to being a renter. If you need to do a contingent sale then doing all the steps right are very important. An experienced person to guide you through the process is critical.

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