I am asked this question quite frequently and there is no easy answer as this is a very individual decision.
First, it is a good idea to be very clear on why you want to move. Do you need more space? Do you want less space? Would you like to free up equity as you have owned for a number of years? Or would you like to make a change in neighbourhood?
Second, you need to evaluate what your tolerance for risk is. If you decide to buy first, there is the possibility of owning two homes at the same time. If you choose to sell first, you may not find what you are looking for before you must move out of your present home.
- You know your place is sold You have a deadline to find a new home and you will be very focused in your search.
- Have a back up plan for a place to stay temporarily until you have possession of your new home (family, friends, renting, hotel, etc) if the closing dates do not match up
- You are not buying for the sake of having a place to live. You have the luxury of taking the time to find the home that truly fits your needs.
- No feeling of “homelessness”
- The possibility of owning 2 homes is there. There is “bridge financing” to cover that time period (check with your mortgage broker/lender)
Remember: Your real estate agent and mortgage broker can help you through the process on which direction is right for YOU as how active the real estate market is in your neighbourhood, may be what tips the scales.