HomeLife Benchmark Realty

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A question many people ask their real estate sales representative when they're in the market for a new home is what they should do first: buy the new home or sell their existing one.

There are no hard and fast answers, however, because conditions in the real estate market at the time play an important factor in the decision.

If the market is relatively slow, with a lot of homes listed for sale and relatively few buyers, then it will probably take longer to sell your own home. Conversely, you should have little difficulty finding a new one.

On the other hand, when it's a seller's market and there are a lot of buyers seeking homes, it will take longer to find a new home and less time to sell your existing property.

Depending on the community, it takes anywhere from 20 to 60 days to complete the sale of a home in a normal market. This selling process begins from the time you decide to put your home on the market until the day a purchase agreement is concluded. Another 30 to 60 days can usually be added to this time frame before the transaction closes and the new owner takes possession.


A good strategy is to begin by spending three to four weeks investigating the market. Look at listings on Internet to get an idea of what prices are in the area(s) you like and take a few drives through those areas to see if you can envision living there.

Next, decide on a price for your home. A reputable real estate representative will do a market value evaluation of your property free of charge or obligation. The value he or she determines will be based on recent selling prices of comparable homes in your area, as well as the salesperson's appraisal of your home and its features.

By determining the estimated market value of your home and the amount of equity you've accumulated, you can better identify how much to consider spending on a new home.

Then list your home for sale. Under normal conditions, it will take approximately 20 to 60 days to sell. If buying activity in your area is slow, it could take longer to sell your home.


One of the best ways to ensure a quick sale of your home is to price it properly. There is a natural tendency to try to sell your home for as much as possible, but over-pricing it compared to similar homes in your area will only lengthen the time it takes to sell. You will probably also be forced to drop your price down to a more realistic level sooner or later in order to attract offers. Trust the advice of a good real estate sales representative: he or she knows the market and can be objective about your home.

Even if you get an offer immediately after you list your home, remember that you can always try to negotiate a longer closing date to give yourself enough time to find and arrange the purchase of the new home.

Once your home is on the market and potential buyers have begun to inspect it, you can begin the process of finding a new home in earnest. Find a sales representative who is familiar with the area(s) you like and begin to inspect the homes listed for sale in your price range. The salesperson who listed your home should also be able to help you purchase your new home or if you are moving to a distant area can refer you to qualified sales representative in those areas.

Many people are concerned about being able to arrange both the sale and new purchase so they don't end up with either two homes or no home at all. A knowledgeable real estate representative can explain several techniques that can protect you, such as making a purchase conditional on the sale of your existing home or arranging interim financing.

If you wish to move into your new property during a holiday period to minimize disruptions for your family, you should begin the buying and selling process three or four months prior to the date you want to move to allow sufficient time in order to complete both transactions comfortably.

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