Should I Buy Or Sell First?

When it comes to making a move when you already own a property, one of the most common questions is “Should I Buy or Sell First?“.

The answer to that question isn’t so easy though, and varies depending on your situation, the market, and what you are planning to buy.

Should You Buy or Sell First?

Here are some things to consider before making a move:

Market Conditions

A strong seller’s market means that it will be easy to sell your property, so if the current market is a strong seller’s market it would be wiser to buy your next property first because it may be more difficult to buy and it will be easy for you to sell your place once you’ve found something.

On the other hand if the market is a strong buyer’s market you are definitely going to want to sell first because it may take longer than usual to get a sale. Also, on the purchase side in a strong buyer’s market there are lots of options available for your next home.

How Picky Are You?

When the market is more balanced you may need to start looking at other factors and the decision to buy or sell first could then come down to YOU. Are you the kind of person that can go into 100 homes and really only like one, or are you a little more flexible and can see positives and negatives in a lot of homes? If you are a very picky buyer you are probably going to want to buy first because it may take a long time to find exactly what you are looking for. This means you are also going to have to be more realistic on your list price and try to price as close to market value as possible so that you can get a sale on the other end faster.

Is Your Home Rare?

If your current property is very rare and not like many other properties on the market, it is likelier to stand out better to potential buyers, assuming the reasons it is rare are good reasons. If there are a lot of negative factors that may discourage a lot of buyers (such as proximity to train tracks, being on a busy street, needing lots of work, etc.) then it may take you longer to sell. On the other hand, if you have the kind of home that is straight out of a magazine, it will most likely be easier to sell.


Is your home ready to go if you do find a place to buy? Getting a property on the market for sale should never be rushed. If there is outstanding work that needs to be done you are better off getting this done before considering a move. Rushing out to buy something then trying to sell a home that needs a ton of work while still trying to get around or above market value is a recipe for disaster. The better the condition the less deal hunters you will attract.


If you are moving in the same area this is probably something that won’t be as much of a concern. But, if you are moving to Toronto from a small town in Northern Ontario where houses may not sell as fast, you probably are gonna wanna put the sign in the lawn first. If houses typically take over 60 days to sell in your area it is often wiser to sell first unless you can buy with a really long close.

Building Status (Condos Only)

Are there any major red flags in your condo building that may make it very difficult to sell? Is the building in the middle of a major lawsuit? Has there been a special assessment in the building? Are the maintenance fees very high? There are many condo specific issues that could make your property more difficult to sell.


As you can see above there are many factors at play when it comes to buying or selling first. It is always wise to consult with a professional (or more than one professional if two different markets) to get a better understanding of your situation and the markets where the transaction will be taking place. If you are looking to make a move in the Greater Toronto Area, I can definitely provide you with some guidance there or if you are looking in areas outside of the GTA I know many awesome realtors across the globe to get you the right advice for your specific market so don’t hesitate to reach out.