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

Real Estate Agent with Real Estate Worcester County MA 9052279

Original content by Bill Gassett 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.

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Comments (1)

Steve Khan
Amerifirst Financial, Inc. - Gilbert, AZ

Nice article Ann Marie (and Bill).  This type of scenario normally always comes down to the buyers debt to income ratio as you pointed out and how comfortable the underwriters are in allowing the borrowers to carry two mortgage payments.  Good information and thanks for sharing on AR.

Feb 18, 2015 12:28 PM