I just got off the phone with a client looking to sell her Las Vegas property and we had the age old discussion: to buy first or sell. She found the new home she wants and plans to list her home and time it right for the completion and close of escrow of her new home. However, she may need the money from the home for sale to put down on the new home. And, she only wants to move once.
Well, in the end she will be selling, renting, and then closing. There are a handful of factors that go into the timing: What is worth more to me? my time, effort, and convenience or my money?
If your answer is time, effort, and convenience then you will likely buy your next house before you move from your current one. You will plan to move only one time. You will need to be sure to have several months of mortgage payments and utility payments on hand for both houses. You will be able to move one time and not worry about finding somewhere to store your belongings temporarily. You will have a place to stay for your family, pets, and things. You may consider speeding up the process of selling your previous house by making the pricing or terms very favorable.
If you answer to the question above was "my money" then you will have a more difficult road ahead but you will potentially save big at your pocketbook. You will have to find temporary storage for your belongings, family, pets, etc. as you rent or stay with family or friends. You will then have to move again once the second house has closed. You will not likely be stuck with multiple mortgage payments and you will only pay utilities of the current house you own. Keep in mind you may have to pay rent and utilities at your temporary location. Be quick to act in getting your second home closed.
Trading up or trading down or relocating is not a simple process. The more resources you have at your aid in the whole process the smoother everything goes.