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The Buy or Sell Dilemma

When looking for a new home, do you buy or sell first? This is an old question in real estate and actually has an easy formula to calculate--find out what works for you.

The 2013 real estate buzz centers around renewed buyer confidence and low inventory in the market. Both trends bode well for business and the economy but how do these trends impact homeowners looking to make a move this spring?

There’s an age-old question in real estate - Do you buy first or sell first? Before homeowners can honestly answer that – they need to ask themselves a bigger, more personal question. Am I risk aversive or a risk-seeker? There is no right or wrong answer for buyers and sellers – it simply comes down to what’s right for you.

Risk-aversive clients may need money from their home sale to buy their next home. These cautious buyers will certainly feel less pressure with one mortgage versus two; but may very well feel under the gun to find their dream home or temporary housing. Sellers who do not find the right home right away – although initially disappointed and anxious – may actually become more attractive buying candidates with cash in hand and a mortgage pre-approval. Executives looking to relocate for career reasons often choose to sell before buying, regardless of their propensity for risk. Oftentimes, business professionals want to wrap things up locally before researching their new surroundings, getting input from new colleagues and visiting target communities.

Buyers who find their new home before selling their current home may have the satisfaction of knowing they found a great new place, but are faced with the uncertainty of juggling two mortgage payments. In a hot market like we are seeing now, with buyers outnumbering properties in sought-after communities, knowledgeable sellers will not consider offers based on sales contingencies on when there are so many buyers in the market. Homeowners that buy new homes before selling their current residence may also accept a lower offer for their home - just so they can keep the process moving.

When it comes to the buying-or-selling-first dilemma, there is no perfect solution or universal rule. Whether it’s a slow market or a vibrant one, the decision to buy or sell first is a personal choice based on one’s finances, personality, goals and tolerance for uncertainty.  

Debi Benoit, principal of Benoit Mizner Simon & Co., has been Wellesley’s #1 real estate agent since 2006.  The Wall Street Journal twice ranked her among the top 100 real estate professionals in the country.  With offices in Wellesley and Weston, Benoit Mizner Simon & Co provides buyers and sellers in both markets with in-depth knowledge and experience combined with unparalleled client service.

With offices in Wellesley and Weston, Debi can be reached at 617-962-9292 or debi@benoitmiznersimon.com.

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