Al and Cal Homes and Community: The Chicken or The Egg or When You Have a House To Sell

The Chicken or The Egg or When You Have a House To Sell

The Chicken or The Egg or When You Have a House To Sell

We all remember the old saying, what comes first the Chicken or the Egg?     What about when you have a home to Sell and you need to find a new abode?    What comes first, Selling or Buying?

The answer all depends upon the current market.   What are the conditions in your area?  

When the question is asked of me today in this market, I have to answer that unless you are willing and able to purchase without selling, you should be selling your home first.  

Why?   It makes you a stronger purchaser.    The Seller can consider your offer and know that when you agree upon price and after all normal (home inspection, mortgage) contingencies are met, their home will be sold.    If they consider your offer with a home sale contingency, they are effectively putting their sale on hold until you sell yours.   How do they know you are going to price it and market it correctly?   They don't.    That is why most Sellers will not consider this unless they are highly compensated for the risk.     

Okay, So you have to sell in order to buy.     But you need a place to live after you sell.   What do you do?   It's tricky.   Much easier when it was your first home purchase, right?    Sure it was.  Likely you didn't have all this stuff, your down payment was in the bank, you didn't have kids, pets and a buyer that you had to wait for.   

My recommendation is get your home on the market.    Do it right.   While your home is on the market start actively looking for homes that meet your criteria.     Having something in mind that you could go to at all times would be ideal.   Knowing what your trade offs are will make you feel more comfortable that you will be able to find  your new place when that offer comes in.     Let's face it.   It doesn't matter if you are looking for a $100,000 home or a 1.5 million dollar home.   We all have trade offs.   

What if you are following the recommendation and find the perfect home but yours isn't sold?   Reevaluate your position in the market.    Here comes those trade offs again.    Do you love that home so much, that you are willing to change your position?    Just maybe that will be the answer.    Do you put an offer in and risk losing your deposit or do you put in an offer with contingencies and see if the Seller will engage?    The answer to that is individual.    You will consult with your agent about the pros and cons of doing any of those things.     Regardless, if your home is already on the market, you have a heartbeat on the direction that is taking.


So, What does come first?   The Chicken or the Egg?        



Carol-Ann Palmieri

Al and Cal Realty Group

Remax Executive Realty




Comment balloon 28 commentsCarol-Ann Palmieri • July 07 2012 05:17AM


Very good post. You are correct, every transaction will be different depending on the needs of the client. And, in life we all have to compromise on one thing or another!

Posted by Shannon Milligan, Richmond VA Real Estate Agent/Associate Broker, RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity. (RVA Home Team) almost 7 years ago

Hi Shannon.   Thanks for reading.   Yes we do unfortunately have to compromise on one thing or another!  

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) almost 7 years ago

As stated it will be different in each situation, good post, thanks for sharing

Posted by Diane Daley (Caron's Gateway Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Hi Carol Ann..... unless the buyers home is under agreement, a real estate agent is just spinning her wheels....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 7 years ago

There are few buyers in my market who could swing two mortgages. So for most this means sell first.

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) almost 7 years ago

Hi Carol Ann,

 Hope you had a great 4th. As usual, this is a well written post, filled with good information. And, I have to say, in most cases...sell first. :)

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) almost 7 years ago

Carol Ann: I don't know the stats but would venture to say most of Middle America could not afford to buy first and sell later. 

Posted by Anita Clark, Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA (ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055) almost 7 years ago

Excellent post Carol Ann (and too funny, I was thinking of writing a chicken or egg post too for some reason lol :) )!  For this market, unless you can afford two house payments and qualify, IMO it's better to sell.  I usually tell my sellers to wait to look really seriously until they are under contract.  It can be tough though for sure...because they could get lucky and sell in a day :)!  


Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) almost 7 years ago

Carol Ann, it is tough for a seller that has their house on the market to not get excited about their next home. If there's isn't getting action, then the angst just increases. Good Post

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 7 years ago

Terrific post Cal, and good advice for this market.  This is not like the old days when a seller would wait several months for another home to sell.  And you remember the domino effects that caused at times.

Posted by Al Raymondi, Ormond By The Sea Florida - Home and Condo Sales (Ocean View Realty Group in Ormond By The Sea Florida) almost 7 years ago

Hi Caron.   Thanks for checking it out.   


Hi Barbara.      True, but with limited inventory, they have to be ready.   Thanks for checking in!


Hi Doug.   Not many here either.


Hi Debb.  Great 4th.  I hope you did too.   Thanks for reading.


Hi Anita.   I am thinking the same thing.


Hi Brenda.  Great minds think alike!   Thank you!


Hi Ed.   Thanks.  The unknown is kind of stomach wrenching.


Hi Al.   Thank you.    It is a different market for sure.     I never did like that domino  thing!


Thank you all for reading and commenting.  It has been a crazy week with the holiday smack dab in the middle.   I'm sorry it took me so long to get back on.     




Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) almost 7 years ago

Miss Cal,

Another excellent blog written by you. Simple for me to say I agree with your recommendations. i will suggest and I hope all is well with you and your family.

Posted by Robert Bob Gilbert, Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties) almost 7 years ago

So right Carol Ann, this is an endless conversation I have with all sellers...have your home in a solid agreement before committing to the next home with a contingency clause in the P & S.  I'm sure you didn't make it down to the Arts festival- it was so dang hot here!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Excellent analogy, simple, yet effective - "chicken or egg". I'll have to remember that when I run across this situation again. THANK YOU!

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: / cell: 334-494-7846 (Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330) almost 7 years ago

Quite often my clients are in that situation and my recommendation is to sell first.  Get your property on the market ASAP and just start looking around.  I say this because it is usually more difficult to sell than to find a property to buy.  And let's say you do sell and you haven't found anything you like yet, you can rent short term.  I know that that is an inconvenience, but it is a solution.  But if you have bought and haven't sold yet - you're in a pickle!

Posted by Marie Story, Broker Associate, Pinecrest (Miami) Specialist (Coldwell Banker - Pinecrest (Miami)) almost 7 years ago

Sell first, then buy I always tell my clients! You can typically find a new home to buy way faster than it will take to sell your home. Sellers always worry if they'll find a new home and to-date every time I've sold a home for a seller within 10 days we've managed to find them a new home to buy.... I get them looking at houses on line in advance and driving by houses and neighborhoods so when we need to put the pedal to metal... we don't skip a beat!

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage ) almost 7 years ago

It's indeed a quandary. In a housing market with limited inventory, he client needs to look at homes for sale first to find out if a replacement home CAN be found. This is easier in some price ranges than others, i.e. the higher the price usually the more inventory. I definitely recommend to sell first and start looking while in escrow. A seller could consider a contingent offer for a limited time frame if the buyer's home is under contract. No need to lose the deposit! You make the contingency palatable to all parties and keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by Sylvia Jonathan, Broker Associate, SFR (Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties) almost 7 years ago

Hi Al and Cal, as the market shifts again, we are seeing people sell and have scramble to find a place to live.

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) almost 7 years ago

Hi Bob.  Thank you!   All is well here and I hope you had a great time!


Hi Ginny.     The whole contingency thing hardly ever works in anyone's favor.    I wanted to get to the festival, but didn't.   Next year, I will have to plan appropriately.    Thanks for the offer.


Hi Travis.   Thanks!  You are welcome.  


Hi Marie.  I feel the same way.


Hi Nina.  I agree!


Thanks all for taking the time to read and comment.  I appreciate it.





Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) almost 7 years ago

I haven't seen a seller accept a contingent on sale in years.  When I explain this to buyers that need to sell first, many of them are shocked.  They think they can start shopping even before their home is on the market.  Not in my area.

Posted by Judy Orr, SW & Near West Chicago suburbs (HomeSmart Realty Group) almost 7 years ago

Great advice.  Sellers will not accept your offer with a contingency for sale of your home.  Too risky!! But a buyer will accept that their accepted offer is contingent on you finding a house within the next couple of weeks.  They're only tied up in limbo for a short time and you have that time to sign on that house you had your eye on.

Posted by Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528, Real Estate Salesperson (Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956) almost 7 years ago

We are seeing more buyers and sellers entering into rent back agreements.  A couple of extra days or weeks can sometimes make a huge difference in smooth transitions.

Posted by Laura Moore, Competent ~ Caring ~ Committed (Coldwell Banker) almost 7 years ago

In the world of short sales, an equity seller is gold. Many buyers are happy to wait a bit for the sellers to find a new home.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) almost 7 years ago

Difficult to say. It depends on the market and what the sellers want to buy. It's possible it could work out, depending on their financial situation and the type of home they are buying, but most homeowners would need to sell first. 

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) almost 7 years ago

Dear Carol-Ann,

Definitely get the home on the market, because many people need to prepare their home a lot before they can sell. Better to be done with that, so you have many things packed up already for the move to come.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) almost 7 years ago

Hi Syllvia.   We have spurts of price ranges that are low in inventory.   That's when it makes it difficult. 


Hi Bob.    We are seeing that here.


Hi Judy.  It surprises me is that Sellers are shocked that they need to sell first.


Hi Leah.     If we have to do a contingency this is the better approach.


Hi Laura.    Good thought.


Hi Karen.    I haven't experience this yet but Leah suggested similar too.  


Hi Pamela.    I did have a very high end transaction that the Seller was willing to wait.   


Hi Dorte.    That is definitely my preference.  


Thank you all for reading and weighing in.  I appreciate your comments.



Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) almost 7 years ago

Thanks for the posting, Cal, I'm going to reblog it.    I get this question a lot!

Posted by M.C. Dwyer, Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist (Century 21 Showcase REALTORs) almost 7 years ago

You are correct.  Sell first, or at least get into a solid escrow.  Great post. 

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 7 years ago