Is It Wise To Buy A Home Before Selling The One You Own?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty 91362

Common Approaches And Issues When Buying Before Selling

Buying before selling a homeOne of the age old questions in real estate is should I buy a home before selling my exisiting home? In Real Estate circle we call this the chicken and egg question. Essentially it means which should come first. For most people it will be selling the home they already own first.

Buying a house before you sell your own is usually not a good idea. There are exceptions to every rule, but unless you have significant funds (enough to cover both mortgages for a year or more), you are probably better off waiting. If you have found your dream home, though, and you are not sure you can wait, it’s worthwhile to look at some of the options to accomplish your goal and the issues that come along with buying before selling.


This is the first thing any bank will ask when you approach them with a home you want to buy. You maybe one of the lucky few with enough money to pay on two mortgages indefinitely, but if you are not, the bank is likely to turn you away. Things do not always go according to plan, and the bank is not one to take unnecessary risks.

It is important to understand that real estate buying and selling are uncertain ventures, impossible to put definite timeframes on. Yes, you may get lucky and sell your house a week after you buy the new one. However, it is just as likely that your much-needed sale will take months if not over a year to complete.

Contingency Sales

You may have heard about the concept of the contingent home sale. In select situations, some sellers are willing to accept home sale contingency clauses. These clauses make it possible for some to buy before selling, because you do not actually buy until your home sells.

A home sale contingency clause means that you make an offer on the new house to buy and don't actually have to move forward unless you are successful completing the sale of the home you already own. When your current home sells, you are then able to move forward and everyone is happy. The problem for most sellers is that it is a very big "IF" that you will sell your home. The seller has no idea whether you will do what it takes to sell your place including pricing it properly!

Sellers rarely accept these clauses unless they are in a tight spot – unlikely if the home is really desirable. If you have few other options, though, it can’t hurt to ask.

Bridge Loan

A bridge loan is something that very few people qualify for, and most banks are not eager to offer them. Designed to wrap up the payments of your old mortgage and your new one to “bridge” the gap between your homes, if you do qualify for one it could help you buy before selling. However, the bank will once again want to know that you have the kind of money to cover these payments.

Bringing in Renters

Renters do offer you the opportunity to have someone help you pay the old mortgage while you cover the new one. However, renters come with numerous problems more often than not, and are not recommended as a short-term solution. It can take years to find good renters – ones that will take care of your property, pay the rent on time and generally avoid causing problems. While selling Ashland Real Estate a few years back I remember one of my clients deciding to rent out their home instead of selling. I remember it like it was yesterday because I voiced my opinion that it was a bad move and they didn't listen.

Not only was the real estate market on the way down but I told them how risky it would be getting the right person in the door. Sure enough a few years later the seller had enough of being a landlord and wanted to sell. The only problem was the home had lost ten percent of it's value due to the market correction and on top of it the seller had to repaint the entire home and replace all the carpets to the tune of over $10,000!  

If you are just looking for someone to cover a year of mortgage payments, you might wind up with more trouble than you expected.


There is a reason you are considering buying before selling, and it is probably because you have found the perfect home for the perfect price. There are rare times when this could be worth jumping on – such as an amazing deal that will almost surely net you a serious profit. Most of the time, though, it is just not worth the risk. If the bank will not go for it, it’s probably because there is more to lose than there is to gain.

Avoid buying before selling unless you have enough money to comfortably carry both mortgages. Anything less is just asking for trouble.


About the author: The above Real Estate information on Is It Wise To Buy A Home Before Selling The One You Own was provided by BillRE/MAX Executive Realty Hopkinton Mass Real Estate Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 26+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

For Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate and home sales see Maximum Real Estate Exposure

I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Upton, Southborough, Westborough, Ashland, Holliston, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Franklin, Grafton, Northboro, Shrewsbury, Bellingham, Northbridge, Uxbridge, Sutton, Millbury, Worcester, Millville, Douglas, Natick and Wayland MA.

Building lasting relationships by helping people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 26 years.

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Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys providing helpful information to buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and others.


Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Bill and MaryAnn Wagner 12/12/2013 12:19 AM
  2. Pamela Seley 02/18/2014 06:13 AM
  3. Winston Heverly 03/06/2014 12:01 AM
  4. Shirley Parks 03/23/2014 02:17 PM
  5. AnnMarie Belair 02/18/2015 09:25 AM
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Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

In my opinion, it is best to sell before purchasing, even though it may mean an interim move in a fast paced market.

Dec 12, 2013 09:08 PM #51
Judie Berger
Premier Sothebys International Realty - Siesta Key, FL
Sarasota Luxury Homes Expert

I'm OK with buying before selling but only if (1) you afford both payments for a fairly long period and (2) you really must have that new home because there's something unique about it that has made finidng your next home difficult. It is clearly taking a risk and that needs to be thought through before proceeding.

Dec 12, 2013 10:40 PM #52
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

It's a common question and I pretty much recount the same options with pros and cons. Been there myself a couple of times through relocations.


Dec 12, 2013 10:56 PM #53
Raymond Patterson
The Patterson Team @ Keller Williams Excellence - Lutherville Timonium, MD
President - Patterson Team Homes

As with any situation, there are some that can handle it and some who can't.  For those who understand the entirety of the situation it is a great option to buy the home of your dreams before someone else does.  For others it could be the start of financial ruin.  It depends on the individuals involved.

Dec 13, 2013 02:19 AM #54
Jim Miner
Miner Noh & Associates - Phoenix, AZ
Loan Modfication & Short Sale Specialist

Do the sellers want to lose thousands of dollars, if so then they should buy first then sell.  

Dec 13, 2013 03:50 AM #55
Alexander- Slocum
Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Realty Team- Vancouver WA Real Estate

Hi Bill, another "wrinkle" to this is when the seller is building their dream home, and wants to wait until they are closer to completion of that home before selling their existing home.  We discussed the pros and cons with them, and they are willing to take the risk in delaying the sale of their current home.  Thanks for the great post!

Dec 13, 2013 07:21 AM #56
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Many of you have left really good points. I appreciate all of your comments. It is interesting to see how some markets vary slightly on what is common and what is not.

Dec 13, 2013 07:31 AM #57
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

Your last two sentences wraps it up nicely with a perfect bow--if you don't want two mortgages, don't do it.

Dec 13, 2013 08:29 AM #58
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

To me it all boils down to... do you make enough to do it and are you comfortable with the possibility of 2 mortgages for a time. If the answer is you make enough and you dont mind then OK but your advice is sound

Dec 13, 2013 03:30 PM #59
Marnie Matarese
Showing you the best of Sarasota!

Two mortgages may sound doable until you get into five or six months of double payments.  Always try to seel before you buy if money is an issue to you.

Dec 19, 2013 08:11 PM #60
Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead

Happy Holidays, Bill.  I included a link to your 20 real estate tips in my upcoming newsletter (going out later this week) and I'm including this post and that one in my upcoming hootsuite updates.

Dec 25, 2013 01:23 AM #61
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Thanks very much Debbie I appreciate you sharing the post!

Dec 25, 2013 08:24 AM #62
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Well written article Bill that provides insight if it's wise to buy a home before selling the one that  they currently have. This is of great information to home owners who are planning to do such action. Thank you for sharing and keep them coming.

Dec 26, 2013 12:40 PM #63
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Unfortunately, if the offer is contingent upon the sale of any property owned by Buyers, it is unlikely it is going to be accepted if Sellers who received multiple offers...

Feb 20, 2014 03:03 PM #64
Barbara Gregus
CARES Consumer Advantage Real Estate Services - Sandia Park, NM
Sandia Park Paa-ko Homes
This is very good information Bill. You laid it all out pretty well. Keep it up and stay the best!
Feb 20, 2014 08:41 PM #65
Cindy Graesser
Keller Williams - Temecula, CA
CG Premier Realty Group. "We'll Get you Moving!"

Good info- well written.  I need to print and give to my clients. lol

Feb 21, 2014 06:59 AM #66
Joe Graham
Graham Real Estate Group - Naperville, IL
Naperville Real Estate Marketing Specialist

Great information! Thanks for sharing.

Mar 06, 2014 05:07 AM #67
AnnMarie Belair
Real Estate Worcester County MA - Sterling, MA
Sterling Realty Belair, INC

Great article Bill Gassett ! I reblogged!

Feb 18, 2015 09:26 AM #68
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Thanks AnnMarie Belair I never got the notification - just seeing this now.

Feb 24, 2015 02:55 AM #69
Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

This is the age old question but i agree with you to sell your home first and then buy a replacement. i would add, the sellesr should strat looking at available homes to get a jump start on their quest. 

Apr 14, 2015 04:32 AM #70
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