It’s a balancing act: Is it better to buy first, or sell first?

It’s a balancing act: Is it better to buy first, or sell first?

When the time comes to move, almost every homeowner faces the same conundrum – is it better to sell up first, or buy the next property first? Or even try to juggle both simultaneously?

So to help you make the right decision for you and your family, here are a few of my thoughts about your options.  


Option 1. You sell first.

This is the path that most homeowners choose, for obvious reasons.


The advantages

  • It’s safer, and less stressful.
  • You can take care of selling your own home, and come out with the actual budget you will have to spend. You won’t overstretch yourself.
  • Having cash in the bank when you do find the property you want will give you greater negotiation power.


The disadvantages

  • You could miss out on your dream home while you wait for your own to sell.
  • If you do find a property you like, you will likely have to put in a clause that your offer is conditional on the sale of your own home – which isn’t too appealing for most sellers.
  • Your house could sell fast, but you are then unable to find your next home as quickly. This could cause stress with needing to find somewhere to stay in the interim (and eat into your cash).


Sometimes the property market is a game of patience which may mean waiting around for the right buyer to give you the right price. Or it could result in selling for less and negotiating a longer settlement date – so you don’t have to rush to buy again.   


Option 2: You buy first.

Quite often the thing that prompts this move is that a desirable property comes on the market, putting homeowners in the position of ‘acting now’.  


The advantages

  • There is no need to stress about finding your next home once your current one sells – it is all ready for you to move into!
  • In a fast moving market, it can be good to secure the right property first before selling yours, otherwise you may miss out.   
  • You don’t have to ‘live in limbo’, meaning you can start planning where the next journey will take you.


The disadvantages

  • It is definitely the riskier option of the two.
  • You may need bridging finance in order to purchase the new property – this will usually mean more debt.
  • The process of selling your current home is even more stressful, as there is a lot riding on its sale.
  • No matter the market conditions, you never really know what your home will sell for. What if you aren’t able to get the price you need to cover the mortgage of the new property?


No one can predict the future, and it may be that securing your ideal home is the right choice – and the sale of your own home does end up following closely after. Bridging finance, or commonly known nowadays as a ‘relocation loan’ is not as costly as it once was. And if this is something you would be comfortable with for two to three months, then that is a personal choice.   


Decide what is best for you

Ultimately, my advice would be to work out what is best for you and your situation. Some people are more risk averse than others, and I often find that going with your gut instinct will lead you down the right path.

Working with a reputable agent is also recommended, as they will be able to provide you with current market conditions about your local region and allow you to weigh up more realistic outcomes.

Of course if you’d like to understand what your home may be worth today, it would be great to hear from you.