The Chicken or The Egg or When You Have a House To Sell

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group S-96414

The Chicken or The Egg or When You Have a House To Sell

We all remember the old saying, what comes first the Chicken or the Egg?     What about when you have a home to Sell and you need to find a new abode?    What comes first, Selling or Buying?

The answer all depends upon the current market.   What are the conditions in your area?  

When the question is asked of me today in this market, I have to answer that unless you are willing and able to purchase without selling, you should be selling your home first.  

Why?   It makes you a stronger purchaser.    The Seller can consider your offer and know that when you agree upon price and after all normal (home inspection, mortgage) contingencies are met, their home will be sold.    If they consider your offer with a home sale contingency, they are effectively putting their sale on hold until you sell yours.   How do they know you are going to price it and market it correctly?   They don't.    That is why most Sellers will not consider this unless they are highly compensated for the risk.     

Okay, So you have to sell in order to buy.     But you need a place to live after you sell.   What do you do?   It's tricky.   Much easier when it was your first home purchase, right?    Sure it was.  Likely you didn't have all this stuff, your down payment was in the bank, you didn't have kids, pets and a buyer that you had to wait for.   

My recommendation is get your home on the market.    Do it right.   While your home is on the market start actively looking for homes that meet your criteria.     Having something in mind that you could go to at all times would be ideal.   Knowing what your trade offs are will make you feel more comfortable that you will be able to find  your new place when that offer comes in.     Let's face it.   It doesn't matter if you are looking for a $100,000 home or a 1.5 million dollar home.   We all have trade offs.   

What if you are following the recommendation and find the perfect home but yours isn't sold?   Reevaluate your position in the market.    Here comes those trade offs again.    Do you love that home so much, that you are willing to change your position?    Just maybe that will be the answer.    Do you put an offer in and risk losing your deposit or do you put in an offer with contingencies and see if the Seller will engage?    The answer to that is individual.    You will consult with your agent about the pros and cons of doing any of those things.     Regardless, if your home is already on the market, you have a heartbeat on the direction that is taking.


So, What does come first?   The Chicken or the Egg?        




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Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Carol Ann, it is tough for a seller that has their house on the market to not get excited about their next home. If there's isn't getting action, then the angst just increases. Good Post

Jul 07, 2012 01:43 PM #9
Al Raymondi
Ocean View Realty Group in Ormond By The Sea Florida - Ormond Beach, FL
Ormond By The Sea Florida - Home and Condo Sales

Terrific post Cal, and good advice for this market.  This is not like the old days when a seller would wait several months for another home to sell.  And you remember the domino effects that caused at times.

Jul 08, 2012 05:55 AM #10
Carol-Ann Palmieri
RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group - Franklin, MA
"Cal" the Real Estate Gal

Hi Caron.   Thanks for checking it out.   


Hi Barbara.      True, but with limited inventory, they have to be ready.   Thanks for checking in!


Hi Doug.   Not many here either.


Hi Debb.  Great 4th.  I hope you did too.   Thanks for reading.


Hi Anita.   I am thinking the same thing.


Hi Brenda.  Great minds think alike!   Thank you!


Hi Ed.   Thanks.  The unknown is kind of stomach wrenching.


Hi Al.   Thank you.    It is a different market for sure.     I never did like that domino  thing!


Thank you all for reading and commenting.  It has been a crazy week with the holiday smack dab in the middle.   I'm sorry it took me so long to get back on.     




Jul 08, 2012 07:47 AM #11
Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

Miss Cal,

Another excellent blog written by you. Simple for me to say I agree with your recommendations. i will suggest and I hope all is well with you and your family.

Jul 08, 2012 09:12 AM #12
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

So right Carol Ann, this is an endless conversation I have with all sellers...have your home in a solid agreement before committing to the next home with a contingency clause in the P & S.  I'm sure you didn't make it down to the Arts festival- it was so dang hot here!

Jul 08, 2012 09:13 PM #13
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker
iXL Real Estate-Wiregrasss\ - Enterprise, AL
email: / cell: 334-494-7846

Excellent analogy, simple, yet effective - "chicken or egg". I'll have to remember that when I run across this situation again. THANK YOU!

Jul 08, 2012 11:05 PM #14
Marie Story
Coldwell Banker - Pinecrest (Miami) - Pinecrest, FL
Broker Associate, Pinecrest (Miami) Specialist

Quite often my clients are in that situation and my recommendation is to sell first.  Get your property on the market ASAP and just start looking around.  I say this because it is usually more difficult to sell than to find a property to buy.  And let's say you do sell and you haven't found anything you like yet, you can rent short term.  I know that that is an inconvenience, but it is a solution.  But if you have bought and haven't sold yet - you're in a pickle!

Jul 08, 2012 11:55 PM #15
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Sell first, then buy I always tell my clients! You can typically find a new home to buy way faster than it will take to sell your home. Sellers always worry if they'll find a new home and to-date every time I've sold a home for a seller within 10 days we've managed to find them a new home to buy.... I get them looking at houses on line in advance and driving by houses and neighborhoods so when we need to put the pedal to metal... we don't skip a beat!

Jul 09, 2012 12:01 AM #16
Sylvia Jonathan
Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties - Irvine, CA
Broker Associate, SFR

It's indeed a quandary. In a housing market with limited inventory, he client needs to look at homes for sale first to find out if a replacement home CAN be found. This is easier in some price ranges than others, i.e. the higher the price usually the more inventory. I definitely recommend to sell first and start looking while in escrow. A seller could consider a contingent offer for a limited time frame if the buyer's home is under contract. No need to lose the deposit! You make the contingency palatable to all parties and keep your fingers crossed.

Jul 09, 2012 12:40 AM #17
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Al and Cal, as the market shifts again, we are seeing people sell and have scramble to find a place to live.

Jul 09, 2012 02:04 AM #18
Carol-Ann Palmieri
RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group - Franklin, MA
"Cal" the Real Estate Gal

Hi Bob.  Thank you!   All is well here and I hope you had a great time!


Hi Ginny.     The whole contingency thing hardly ever works in anyone's favor.    I wanted to get to the festival, but didn't.   Next year, I will have to plan appropriately.    Thanks for the offer.


Hi Travis.   Thanks!  You are welcome.  


Hi Marie.  I feel the same way.


Hi Nina.  I agree!


Thanks all for taking the time to read and comment.  I appreciate it.





Jul 09, 2012 02:28 AM #19
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

I haven't seen a seller accept a contingent on sale in years.  When I explain this to buyers that need to sell first, many of them are shocked.  They think they can start shopping even before their home is on the market.  Not in my area.

Jul 09, 2012 02:40 AM #20
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Great advice.  Sellers will not accept your offer with a contingency for sale of your home.  Too risky!! But a buyer will accept that their accepted offer is contingent on you finding a house within the next couple of weeks.  They're only tied up in limbo for a short time and you have that time to sign on that house you had your eye on.

Jul 09, 2012 03:38 AM #21
Laura Moore
Coldwell Banker - Granite Bay, CA
Competent ~ Caring ~ Committed

We are seeing more buyers and sellers entering into rent back agreements.  A couple of extra days or weeks can sometimes make a huge difference in smooth transitions.

Jul 09, 2012 04:11 AM #22
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

In the world of short sales, an equity seller is gold. Many buyers are happy to wait a bit for the sellers to find a new home.

Jul 09, 2012 06:33 AM #23
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Difficult to say. It depends on the market and what the sellers want to buy. It's possible it could work out, depending on their financial situation and the type of home they are buying, but most homeowners would need to sell first. 

Jul 09, 2012 06:42 AM #24
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Carol-Ann,

Definitely get the home on the market, because many people need to prepare their home a lot before they can sell. Better to be done with that, so you have many things packed up already for the move to come.

Jul 09, 2012 11:59 AM #25
Carol-Ann Palmieri
RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group - Franklin, MA
"Cal" the Real Estate Gal

Hi Syllvia.   We have spurts of price ranges that are low in inventory.   That's when it makes it difficult. 


Hi Bob.    We are seeing that here.


Hi Judy.  It surprises me is that Sellers are shocked that they need to sell first.


Hi Leah.     If we have to do a contingency this is the better approach.


Hi Laura.    Good thought.


Hi Karen.    I haven't experience this yet but Leah suggested similar too.  


Hi Pamela.    I did have a very high end transaction that the Seller was willing to wait.   


Hi Dorte.    That is definitely my preference.  


Thank you all for reading and weighing in.  I appreciate your comments.



Jul 09, 2012 09:25 PM #26
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Thanks for the posting, Cal, I'm going to reblog it.    I get this question a lot!

Jul 10, 2012 01:00 AM #27
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

You are correct.  Sell first, or at least get into a solid escrow.  Great post. 

Jul 10, 2012 02:30 AM #28
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