Which should you find first – a house to buy or a buyer for your current house?

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The short answer: it depends.

The rest of the answer is chock full of questions! How fussy are you? Are you able to do a bridge loan? Would it bother you to live with family/friends/hotel guests? Have you seen anything yet that you want to buy? Have you already tested the market for your house?

Potential Scenario:

You find the house you want and make an offer contingent on selling yours. The seller accepts it and, luckily for you, your house is updated, immaculate and in show-ready condition. You list the house for sale the following day and buyers flock to see it. The lucky streak continues and you have an acceptable offer in your hands within a few days and life is great! Next, you’ll do inspections and mortgage application and before you know it, you’re closing escrow and moving to your dream house.

Easy peasy, right? Right…. except it doesn’t always happen like that. You’re probably thinking: “What could go wrong?” Plenty! Here are just a few examples that come to mind:
– The seller doesn’t want to accept a contingency to sell and someone else beats you to the punch.
– The seller accepts the contingency and adds a 48-hour clause and your house isn’t ready to go on the market. You go crazy trying to get it cleared out and cleaned up only to be notified that another offer has come in that seller wants to take, and you aren’t even up for sale yet.
– The seller accepts your offer and you go on the market…… for months. You change the price & have open houses and still nothing. Your deadline to sell comes and seller terminates your contract.

There are some ways to head off disaster, though. We can look into those next time. For now, if you’re thinking about moving the in the foreseeable future, please prepare by giving some thought to the first questions I asked: How fussy are you? Are you able to do a bridge loan? Would it bother you to live with family/friends/hotel guests? Have you seen anything yet that you want to buy? Have you already tested the market for your house?