The chances are if you’re selling your home you’ll want to buy another.   This entails both potential profit and an element of risk.  You need to be decisive as well as conversant with market conditions, to avoid a traumatic situation.

In my opinion, you cannot buy and sell simultaneously – you cannot buy subject to sale, nor sell subject to purchase.

You have to take a decision.  Do you sell first, having to give a buyer a firm occupation date and hope you’ll find a property to move into in time?  Or do you buy first giving yourself sufficient time in which to sell your home to pay for the one you’ve bought.


Market conditions

Irrespective of whether you buy or sell first, find out about market conditions – acquaint yourself with the market in the area(s) in which you’d like to buy, as well as in the suburb where you live. In both cases, if you are dealing in a sellers market, demand will exceed supply.  That means you will probably sell soon if your house is competitively priced, but may not find a replacement easily.

The converse applies in a buyer’s market.  You’ll probably find the home of your choice quite easily but unless your property is realistically priced, you may need some time in which to sell.


Selling first

If you decide to sell first, the advantage is that you will know exactly how much money will be available for your purchase and when.

The disadvantage is that you may have to move into rented accommodation if you can’t find a suitable property to buy immediately, or what  you buy is not ready for immediate occupation


Buying first

The advantage of buying first is that you may be able to move straight from the one property to the other with minimal disruption to your family.

However, the disadvantages are that you won’t know exactly how much you’ll get for your home, and whether you’ll have to dip into reserves or arrange bridging finance to cover the purchase.

We have heard many buyers with a home to sell ask: “But what happens if I can’t sell it?”

With respect, there is no such thing as a property that will not sell.  There is only a seller who is not prepared to accept what the market will pay.  Don’t imagine you can sell high and buy low.


Conditional transactions

If you try to make purchase of a property conditional upon sale of your own, what you’re really doing is asking the seller to give you an option.  And why should a seller agree to that?

In addition, conditional purchase suggests you’re not sure you can sell your home.  Again, why should the seller accept that risk on your behalf?  He is just as likely to find another buyer, particularly in a seller’s market.



Buying before selling can be worry-free if you follow these guidelines:

Make sure there’s enough time in which to sell your home  – for your purchaser to pay you, and for you to meet the commitment on the property you buy.

Be realistic about the likely sales price of your existing property – establish what comparable properties are selling for in the area. Ask the agent you’re selling through for a true market valuation of your home and be clear that what you want is its market value and what it will sell for, not insurance or replacement value.

When making an offer on another property, be conservative about the funds you’ll have available – base calculations on the lowest, not the highest, valuation of the property you’re selling. Remember that as a buyer, over and above the purchase price of the property, you will be responsible for payment of bond costs if you are raising a bond, and of course, transfer costs.  It is important to find out from your agent what these costs will be.

If you have an existing bond over your property, make sure you give your bank 3 (three) months’ notice of cancellation of the bond, failing which the bank may at their discretion charge penalty interest.

In addition when selling your property, you will be required to obtain at your cost a Certificate of Compliance from a registered Electrical Contractor certifying that the electrical installations on your property are in order. If you have electrical fencing and/or a gas installation (stove, heating) in your home, you will also be required, at your cost, to provide Certificates of Compliance issued by registered and authorised installers in terms of the existing legislation. This is now required by law.  

Depending on where you live and the rules of the relevant municipality, you will be required to pay your rates account in advance (in some cases even 5 (five) months) when called to do so by your Attorney.  Subject to when transfer is registered, you will receive a proportionate refund. You will also remain liable for monthly payment of all rates and taxes (subject to the aforementioned) and bond installments on your property right up to the date of transfer.

Having taken note of these few points, you can go ahead and buy before selling with peace of mind.


Click on the below links to open to articles


Why Exclusive Authority to Sell

Work with an estate agent

The question of the estate agent’s brokerage fee

First impressions count

Beware the dangers of over-pricing

Renovate or buy a new home: which is better?