In today’s market where the majority of people who are actively pursuing real estate are involving themselves on both sides of the coin — the sale of their existing home and the purchase of their new home — the question of what to do first is an important one.

On the one hand you don’t want to purchase before selling because you don’t want to end up stuck with two mortgages, potentially. On the other hand, what happens if you sell but can’t find anything to purchase? While the question is significant and must be taken seriously, rest assured that I have yet to be personally involved in a situation where someone was forced to deal with two mortgages, or ended up without a door to put their key in. If planned intelligently, you can certainly minimize any of those risks to the point where they become virtually non existent.

As a general rule of thumb it’s most advisable to sell before purchasing. The prominent idea being that you only have one house to sell — yours — but dozens of houses to choose from on the purchase side. Call it playing the percentages, minimizing your risk, whatever.

The theory does hold true. For the most part I always recommend selling first because the sale of your current home is, quite often, the source of the most uncertainty. However, if you decide to sell first does that mean you do nothing on the purchase side? Absolutely not.

Just as bad as ending up with two mortgages would be realizing that there is nothing suitable to purchase within your budget, after you’ve already sold your current home. To avoid that pitfall you want to beginning searching for new homes right away, satisfy yourself that there are realistic options out there, so that you know you’re not selling without good reason.

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of the entire process is the listing of your existing house/condo. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — the most integral point in time of the listing is the first one to two weeks. You will generate the most sincere and qualified interest during this time. Take it from me, no matter how could your reasoning is for the property being on the market three months down the line, there is no way the listing will have as much impact as when it was fresh. So, if the initial ten days or so are most important it makes sense to guarantee yourself the best possible chance of selling within that timeframe.

Everything from the pictures, to the comments on the listing, to the showings, to the follow up process, must be executed without a single error. When I’m speaking with those new to the business and I try to explain the importance of the perfect listing, few realize how important it is. That is of course until two months down the line when they begin wondering why other units in the building, or houses in the neighborhood, have already sold and they wonder why their particular property is without a dance partner.

As important as listing intelligently is, as step one of your sell then buy process, the single most significant factor is how well you price your home. At the end of the day that is what will determine how quickly and headache free you sell.

If you are amongst the many who have taken it upon themselves to take advantage of this buyers market, do yourself a favour and take advantage intelligently, and to the best of your ability. For questions on this article feel free to email Amit at

– Amit is a Realtor/Developer with Re/Max.