How to buy and sell a home at the same time

same day closing

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Buying a house can be stressful; selling a house can be stressful – add in buying and selling a house at the same time, and it could end up being downright chaos IF it’s not done correctly. There is a lot of conflicting advice out there, so we’re weighing in on some of the most common questions/issues that you’ll face when buying/selling concurrently.

Should I buy before I sell? You’ll get some mixed advice on this one. Some experts will say that if you are able to, you should purchase your new home before selling your old one, because it can make the process much easier. Keep in mind that part of qualifying to own two homes involves showing you can afford both homes. You’ll need to have money set aside to pay the closing costs and any down payment for the new house. Once your new home purchase is completed, you can move in and put your old home on the market.

On the flip side, an easier move may not be worth the risk and complications of having 2 mortgages. The approval process is much more difficult when you have 2 mortgages, especially if you are relying on the sale of your current home for the down payment on your new one. If your old home takes some time to sell, you’ll be paying both mortgages for an undetermined amount of time. It’s a quick way to drain your savings. If it doesn’t sell, you could rent it out until the market improves, however being a landlord isn’t for everyone!

Can I add a Contingency to Sell or Rent Back? Contingencies are a great way to make sure you are protected, and there are a few options available. One traditional trick of buying and selling a home at the same time is the contract contingency. When making an offer on your new home, you can add a Contingency to Sell or simply put, the purchase of the new home is contingent on the sale of your current home. This prevents you from being on the hook for 2 mortgages, however, if it’s a strong seller’s market it could be risky.

Another option is to ask your buyers to let you rent back your home for an additional number of days after the closing – known as a rent-back contingency. Your new buyers may not agree to this, but it’s worth asking. In addition to giving you more time to find a house and close, you wouldn’t have any contingencies on your new home purchase because it’s already sold. The drawback to renting back your home is that you’re on a deadline, and if your purchase doesn’t go through, you still have to move.

Should I sell first, and buy second? This may be the least stressful option, but it does require the most amount of moving. You sell your current home and find a temporary place to stay until you purchase your new home. You won’t be on the hook for a new mortgage yet and you’ll have all the profits from your sale already in your possession.

You may be able to put your belongings in storage and make temporary living arrangements.

What is a same day closing? If you add a Contingency to Sell option, meaning you need to sell your current home before you can purchase your new home, you may end up having both closings on the same day. You would sell your home at the first closing appointment, and then purchase your new home at the second closing appointment – both on the same day. This allows you to use the funds from your home’s sale towards the purchase of your new home. These can be tricky to navigate since everything needs to be scheduled perfectly, but they do happen often. You’ll need to have all of your items completely out of your old home before you sign the selling paperwork, and you may not be able to move your items into the new home until after you sign the purchase paperwork. You could be in limbo for the whole day waiting on paperwork – so you need to be flexible.

Have questions about buying and selling concurrently – give us a call, we can guide you through your options and offer you some suggestions on what might be the best path for you.


Jennifer Ives-Groebl
Vice President, Senior Mortgage Lender
NMLS MLO ID: 532621

Author: Jennifer Ives-Groebl

Jennifer has been with Litchfield Bancorp since 1994 and was promoted to Assistant Vice President and Senior Mortgage Originator shortly after graduating the Connecticut School of Finance & Management in 1998. Stationed in both our Torrington and Litchfield locations, Jennifer is well known and respected in the local residential real estate community and recognized as a resource for some of the more difficult transactions. Jennifer resides in Torrington and is actively involved in the local community. She is a long time member of the Torrington/Winsted Rotary club and is currently serving as its Assistant Treasurer. Jennifer is involved with Litchfield County Board of Realtors and serves as chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Public Relations Committee. She is also a member of the Fuessenich Park Partnership; and through Education Connection, has participated in the Mentoring Program.