I want to buy a home but how do I time the sell of my current home

Question of the Week:  I want to buy another home, but how do I time the sell of my current home?

This comes up often, and what I mean by often - almost every customer we work with to help buy and sell real estate asks this question!  If you are thinking of moving up, moving down, upgrading locations, changing school districts, buying waterfront, etc., and you own a home currently - you are most likely thinking about this exact question.  

Option 1:  Buy and Sell Simultaneously

You prep your home for sale, put your home on the market, and start shopping for your next home.  Many people will find a new home before they've sold their existing home and most of our customers in this scenario will move forward with putting the new home under contract vs. the risk of losing the new house to another buyer.  

How to do this:  You are either paying cash for your next house, or you've already gone through the full pre-approval mortgage process and you are qualified to purchase another home while still paying on the existing home.  Sure, there are a tiny few additional options like bridge loans but realistically most banks no longer do these or you'll pay very high rates for the risk associated in bridge loans.  Another high possibility is that your existing home sells fast, and it all works out fairly smoothly for timing sake.


  • You move when you want, on your terms.  
  • You move only once as there is typically no need to go into a temporary situation.  
  • You've probably already been shopping online for quite some time and you know the market, so you are ready to make a realistic offer when you see the right house.


  • You could end up paying for 2 mortgages at once.
  • If you move before your home is sold, your existing home could be vacant and no longer staged. (this could be good or bad depending how well decorated your home was to begin with)
  • You will still be maintaining your previous home to absolute show ready condition while it's on the market and / or under contract waiting to close.
  • You could have less buying power as you'll most likely have been approved for carrying BOTH mortgage simultaneously.  (Lenders handing you money for the next house don't really care that you are selling your previous house - they'll want you to be qualified for both houses)

Option #2:  Sell first, move into something temporary, then buy your next home

You are probably still shopping for your next home on a daily basis like most our customers, but you've committed to getting your home sold first.  

How to do this:  You prep your home for the market and move forward with getting it listed for sale.  We advise you go ahead with your loan pre-approval process so that you know exactly what your parameters are for your shopping budget once your home has sold and closed.  Once your current home is sold, you move into a temporary home and start shopping for your next home immediately.  


  • You know your home is sold.
  • No double mortgage payments.
  • Upkeep of 1 house only, your new one!
  • You may end up having a higher available shopping budget since you aren't trying to mortgage qualify for both homes simultaneously.
  • Temporary living is not exactly comfortable as most of your stuff probably goes to storage.
  • You move twice, which does have it's wear and tear on your furniture.
  • You probably will incur storage fees.

BOTH of these options have there own stresses involved.  You must identify which type of person you are:

  1. Stress most about finances:  The idea of a double payment sends you into counting and rolling pennies almost immediately.  If this is you, you sure better go into option #2:  Sell first, move into something temporary, then buy your next home.
  2. Stress most about "Where are we going to live?":  The idea of being "homeless" (although you really won't be) has you instantly visualizing you and your kids living out of your Suburban.  If this is you, and you can afford the potential double payment issue, you should go with Option #1:  Buy and Sell Simultaneously.  
We are here to help regardless of which path you choose.  We sell homes all over the Jacksonville area including Ponte Vedra, and St Johns.  If you are ready to discuss your plans, we are ready to listen and help make it a successful move in 2015 for you and your family.  
Posted by Brad Officer on
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