July 2007 Vol. 2 No. 7

 Should You Buy or Sell First?  Debbie on NECN  July's Home Value Improver  About Us


Should You Buy or Sell First?

So you're ready to take the plunge. You'd like to sell your house and buy a new one. Or, you'd like to buy a new house and sell the one you have. Which is it? Making the decision to buy first or sell first can dog a lot of homeowners. There are several factors to take into consideration, but the most important one is the current state of the housing market.

Consider supply and demand: The easiest way to look at the dilemma is to base it on supply and demand. In a hot market when supply is low and demand is high, buy first. You don't want to sell your house and then find slim pickings when it's time to buy. However, when the market is cool (such as right now), demand is low and supply is high. Sell your home first with the confidence that there is plenty on the market, and you'll find what you like. Plus, having already sold your house is money in the bank (literally).

Examine the risks of buying without selling: While the equation seems pretty simple, there are several layers to examine. You know that if you buy first and your home doesn't sell quickly, you could get stuck with two mortgage payments. No one likes the sound of the term "bridge loan." What few people think about, however, is that not having a good down payment affects the kind of financing you get on your new house. You need a signed purchase and sale agreement on your current house to get a good loan. Without this in hand, you could get stuck with a lousy interest rate, which could cost you for decades to come.

Sell first, but protect yourself: If you sell first and then can't find the house you want, you're stuck. You could put all your belongings in storage while shacking up with friends or relatives. Can you say "hassle?" A better bet would be to negotiate a closing date that is far enough out to give you plenty of time to find a house. I had one client who signed a purchase and sale agreement on a house in April, but did not close on the new house until late August.

The bottom line: It is always better to deal with the hassle of not having a place to live right away than it is to take on the financial risk of not selling your home. My bottom line today is: Sell first!

Debbie on NECN

7-11-07 NECN

I was happy to provide some commentary to NECN on the $250 million fund established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to help selected subprime borrowers.

Click here to watch!

July's Home Value Improver

Turn your entry space into a great mudroom!

Clutter is not your friend. Have you ever had to dig through piles of shoes and folders to find your son's backpack when the school bus is coming around the corner? If so, it's time to take control of your entryway, or other space in your home that can be used as a mud room. If you don't have money or the technical expertise to install a whole system, try these simple steps.

1. A space to call one's own: Give everyone his or her own space. Separate each family member's shoes with shoe bins (which fit perfectly under a bench); decide whose coat hook is whose, and where they will go. It might be fun to even hang a family member's photo above his or her coat hook.

2. Categorize, categorize, categorize: Put stray items into categories. For example, keep your everyday and current season coats in front in an easy- to-reach spot, but keep your less-worn coats in a back hall closet. Keep ballet bags separate from school backpacks.

3. Find new uses for old furniture: An old chest of drawers or an armoire near the front door will offer a wealth of storage - and look cool, too. Imagine in the winter: A drawer for each child, or a drawer for mittens, one for hats, and one for scarves.

4. The key to all this: Don't forget to set aside a special spot for your keys. Ideally, you want this to be within reach of your door so that you can pull them out of the door lock and put them in their designated spot.

5. Consider guest needs: As if it's not bad enough to trip over your own kids' shoes, three pairs of your daughter's friends' shoes in your hallway can make a mess, too. Think about a basket by the front door that guests can toss their shoes into. It doesn't have to be gorgeous or organized, just convenient and somewhat out of the way.

6. Adapt to changing needs: Consider your mudroom a work in progress. When you realize that a part of the system is not working, change it!


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This month we're dealing with a challenge that many homeowners face - whether to buy or sell first. The answer is different depending on market conditions, but there is always one thing you should do first -- ask a trusted mortgage professional for advice.

By talking through your specific situation with a mortgage expert, you will be able to weigh the pros and cons, understand how the market may impact your decision and, ultimately make the best decision for yourself.

I'm always happy to answer your questions about mortgages. Consider me your mortgage resource!

Best regards,
Debbie Siegel
Westchester Mortgage

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Click here to read my "Mortgage Minute" in ForeclosuresMass.com's monthly newsletter. This month's column: "Are You Ready To Be a Landlord?"

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