RiverLife Real Estate


Forget chickens & eggs – does buying or selling come first?

Looking around your neighbourhood lately, you may have noticed those bright SOLD stickers appearing faster than usual on For Sale signs. In fact, the average days on market to sell has dropped to 33 for single-family homes in Calgary, the lowest number in three years!

While this shows strength in our real estate market – something homeowners welcome – it also has many individuals and families that want to move asking me a common question: should we sell or buy first??

For the past five years, the answer has been easy: you want to list your home first. You can start looking for something to buy in the meantime, but typically you want to have an offer on your own home before offering on a new one… unless, of course, you are in a position to keep both.

But lately, with the quick pace of the market and the low inventory levels, those looking to both sell and buy are often having a tougher time with the latter and are waiting to list their home until they have found a suitable home to purchase.

Inventory levels have been extremely low for the past four months. March finished with just 2,727 active single-family listings in Calgary and 4,007 residential listings total. In comparison, the average single-family listings for all of 2012 was 4,813. In 2008, it was 8,143! So you can see how the current inventory levels translate to a tight marketplace.

It is always a balancing act when needing to buy and sell at the same time. On one hand, people want to avoid paying two mortgages at once. On the other hand, being homeless, even for a few months, can be a terrible hassle.

Yes, you can always make an offer that is conditional on your own home selling, but I speak from experience over the last couple of months when I say that the vast majority of sellers will refuse to take an offer with this condition as they feel confident that a “cleaner” offer will come along in this market.

It is indeed a challenging scenario. But with a great realtor and mortgage broker on your team plus careful planning and intelligent decision-making, you can make your ideal move in any market and with the right timing for you.

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