Buying and selling your Boston condo simultaneously,can be an issue you might be facing now or in the future. Unless you are a first-time buyer, you have probably asked yourself ‘What should I do first – buy or sell?’. I’ve helped a number of clients in this situation and my answer usually starts with ‘it depends’. It depends on a number of factors and this post will explore the pros and cons with each. In this blog I’ll discusses various ways to protect yourself so you won’t find yourself homeless.

Buying and Selling simultaneously can feel like a high wire balancing act. You are hesitant to place a Boston condo under contract, without knowing when your current place might sell and for what price. Yet, you don’t want to sell your current place until you know where you want to move to or what you could likely afford. Where to start?

Whether or not you buy first or sell first your Boston condo, you should do a little bit of both in tandem, meaning you should have some sense of where you want to move to and familiar yourself with condominium prices in that area. You should also have some sense of what your current home is worth and how long it might take to sell.  How do you do this? Fist I would suggest that you have your broker provide you with  a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). You should also be aware of the general market conditions – is it a buyer’s market, a seller’s market or a balanced market.


One of the first steps is to assess your financial situation. There are numerous expenses associated with selling Boston condo. Do you need the equity out of your current place for a down payment on the new place? Do you have money set aside for closing costs when you buy? Talking to a lender might make the buy/sell decision very easy. You might need to sell your current home first to be able to qualify for a new mortgage.

Buy First

If you are fortunate enough to be able to carry two mortgages and have sufficient cash reserves for a down payment and closing costs, buying first might be the easier option for several reasons:

  • Sellers are more likely to accept your offer if it is not contingent upon you selling your home first.
  • You won’t have to worry about moving into temporary housing.
  • You have more flexibility in moving dates.
  • When selling your home, it will be easier to show and you won’t have to worry about being interrupted every time a buyer wants to see it.

However, there are a few risks to consider:

  • Your home might take longer to sell than you think and you could be carrying two mortgages for some time.
  • Your home might sell for less than anticipated.

Sell First

For many people, selling first is the only option. You might need the equity out of your current condo for a down payment or you might not qualify for the new mortgage because of excessive debt ratios. The pros with selling first include:

  • You won’t have to worry about carrying two mortgages.
  • You can write an offer on a new place without a sale of home contingency, which makes your offer more attractive.

Of course, there are also some obvious risks:

  • You might not find your next home by the time you have to move out.
  • Your financial situation might change making you ineligible for the new mortgage.
  • Mortgage rates could rise and make your new home out of reach.
  • The market can shift and the available inventory can change quickly.

I’ve discussed the pros and cons of either buying first or selling first. Now we will look at how to protect yourself when you are trying to do both simultaneously. There are several options you can use in a contract to protect you when you are buying and when you are selling. Let’s look at the contingencies to use when you are the buyer of a new Boston condo.

Sale of Home Contingency

As a buyer, you can make your offer contingent upon the sale of your Boston condo. If you can’t sell your home, you can void the purchase contract with no penalty. To make this work takes a little finesse. and you Boston real estate broker can walk you thorough this. An offer with this type of contingency is not viewed favorably by a seller. In a strong seller’s market, which we are in now, an offer with this type of contingency would be frowned upon. The importance of having a competent agent being able to make your case cannot be overemphasized. The seller on the other side of the transaction will want to see evidence showing why they should take their luxury condo off the market and accept yours. Now lets check the other side of the equation.

Contingent On Seller Purchasing Another Boston condo

This contingency will protect you as the seller from being forced out of your condo with no where to go. This contingency will allow you to put your current luxury condo on the market and get it under contract, but still have the ability to cancel the contract if things don’t work out for your next home. Obviously, you want to be careful how you use this contingency. Buyers might be a little hesitant to make an offer without some reassurance they are not wasting their time.

Post Settlement Occupancy option

If you need to sell your current place before settling on your new home, but would like a little breathing room to pack and move, consider using this option that allows to the seller to stay in the house for a short period (days or weeks, not months). The cost is usually the buyer’s pro-rated carrying costs – mortgage payment + taxes + condo fees (if applicable).

With all these contingencies and options noted above, there are more details that haven’t been discussed, such as timelines, deadlines and penalties.

This is only a quick overview of some of your options. However, everyone’s situation is different. If you would like to discuss your unique situation more in-depth or just have a few questions, don’t hesitate to contact me via email at or cell/text 617-595-3712

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Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs

In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.


For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.


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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.

John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
Boston, Ma 02114



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