Should You Sell First Before You Buy a Home

Buyer or sell first?

Should you sell first Before you Buy a Home?

executive home for sale

Torn between buying a new property and holding onto your current one? You’re not alone, especially in Nova Scotia’s unpredictable real estate landscape. If you’ve ever asked yourself whether you should list your current home first or take the plunge into a new purchase, you’re facing a common conundrum. 

The good news? I’ve got your back with practical solutions. Don’t fret; your trusty neighborhood real estate agent is here to unravel the mystery for you! 😊 Let’s untangle your choices and give you a Nova Scotia-inspired strategy that fits like a glove.

Financial Situation:

Your financial situation is a major player in this decision. If you have the financial resources, you might be tempted to buy a new home before selling your current one. On the flip side, some folks prefer to sell their existing property first, relying on the sale proceeds to finance their new purchase.

In Nova Scotia, where real estate markets can vary, having a solid grasp of your financial standing is crucial. According to recent statistics, Nova Scotia’s real estate market has shown steady growth over the past year, with a median home price increase of approximately 10%.  This means that if you’re considering buying before selling, you might be entering a market where property values are on the rise. Conversely, if you’re selling first, you could potentially benefit from the current market conditions to maximize your home’s selling price. 



The first step would be to talk with your financial advisor or mortgage person as they will be able to give you the solid dollar amount you have to work with for your next home purchase. They can also start the process to refinance your current home, or advise you about porting your current mortgage to another property or withdrawing equity of your current home to use as down payment on a new property. 

At the same time you should be contacting a real estate professional to do a market analysis for your property.  They will come view your home in order to give you a home evaluation.  Mainly looking at the condition of the home, age of mechanical systems, age of decor, layout. They will be noting any repairs or upgrades that would help increase the value.  The agent will then take this information and compare your home  to ones that have recently sold properties from similar areas, and often doing a plus minus calculation of the value of features of each in order to come to a probable sale price of your home. 


Market Conditions:

In Nova Scotia’s dynamic real estate landscape, understanding the market conditions is pivotal when deciding whether to sell or buy your next home first. Let’s delve deeper into the specifics to help you make an informed choice.

1. Quick Sales and Limited Inventory: Most of Nova Scotia’s real estate market is currently favoring sellers, which means that properties are selling rapidly, often with multiple offers. While this is fantastic news if you’re looking to sell your current home, it also means that finding your dream home could pose a challenge. The reduced inventory of available properties has created a highly competitive environment among buyers.

 2. Declining Inventory Trends: To put this into perspective, recent data from the last quarter indicates that Nova Scotia’s housing inventory has seen a substantial decrease of approximately 20% compared to the previous year. This decline in inventory availability has been a significant driver of the increased competition among buyers. In practical terms, this means that when you list your current property for sale, you’re entering a market where demand exceeds supply, potentially yielding favourable terms for sellers. 

girl holding house

For instance, in Halifax, the provincial capital, which is a hotspot for real estate activity, the average days on market for a property have dropped by 15% compared to the previous year. This rapid pace indicates that properties are getting snatched up more quickly, making it a promising time to list your current home.

So, when contemplating whether to sell or buy first in Nova Scotia, these market conditions become vital factors to consider. Selling your existing property in a market that favors sellers could result in a quicker, more profitable sale, providing you with the financial strength and flexibility needed to secure your next dream home. However, keep in mind that these conditions may also mean you need to be prepared to act swiftly when you do find the right property, as competition among buyers is fierce.


Timing is everything, especially if you need to make a quick move. Listing your home first may be the only feasible option in such a scenario. A fast sale could free up your finances swiftly, giving you the financial freedom to embark on the hunt for your new Nova Scotia home. However, if your property doesn’t sell within your desired timeline, you might find yourself in a tight spot, possibly needing to arrange temporary housing or purchase your new home before your current one sells, potentially resulting in two mortgage payments.

You will need your agent to take a macro look at the market conditions of where you are selling and compare them to the market conditions of where you want to buy, in order to make a well thought out plan of action. They should be analyzing, how do the list to sale ratio compare in the different areas and  what are the average days on market? 

Taking into consideration, the time of year that you are aiming to list your property can make a difference as well. Typically, there is an influx of properties that come to market as the snow starts to melt, so competition is a bit higher then, so you would have to analyze the the trend of months worth of inventory to understand whether it would be worth listing while the competitions is less, but there is enough inventory for your to have a selection of homes to choose from. An agent who has insight into past or future financial reports that may affect consumers decisions will be a benefit to setting the selling vs buying plan into action. 

Emotional Attachment:

Emotional ties to your current home can add an extra layer of complexity to your decision-making process. Your home often holds cherished memories, and it’s where you’ve built a life in Nova Scotia. Here are some tips to help you navigate the emotional aspect of letting go:Emotional ties to your current home can make the decision even trickier.

If you find it hard to say goodbye to your beloved Nova Scotia abode, you might want to consider searching for your new home before letting go of the old one. The excitement of a new beginning can make the transition smoother, helping you ease into your new Nova Scotia nest.


family with flowers

Create a Home Inventory: 

Before you start packing up, take the time to create an inventory of your most cherished possessions and memories in the house. This can help you preserve the sentimental value of your home while allowing you to let go of the physical space.

Say Goodbye Gradually:

Rather than abruptly leaving your home, consider gradually transitioning by spending time in your favorite spots, reflecting on your memories, and even hosting a small farewell gathering with friends and family

Focus on the Future:

Shift your mindset from dwelling on the past to looking forward to the exciting opportunities that await you in your new Nova Scotia home. Visualize your new beginning and the memories you’ll create there.

Declutter and Depersonalize:

 Start the packing and decluttering process early. Removing personal items and family photos can help potential buyers envision themselves in the space, making it easier for you to let go.

Seek Support:

Talk to your loved ones about your emotional attachment to your current home. They can offer support and understanding during this transition.

Deciding whether to list or buy first in Nova Scotia’s real estate market involves careful consideration of your financial situation, awareness of market conditions, and an understanding of your personal timing and emotional attachment to your current home. With the right research and guidance from your local real estate agent, you’ll be better equipped to navigate this exciting but challenging journey. Happy house hunting in beautiful Nova Scotia! 🏡🌊

In Summary:

Selling Your Current Property First


  1. Knowing how much money you will have available to purchase your next property.
  2.  Avoids the risk of having two mortgages at the same time, if you sell your current before you buy.
  3.  Being in a stronger negotiation position, as you’re not depending on the sale of your current home, to purchase your new one.


  1. The possibility of having to find temporary housing if your property closes before you find a suitable home.
  2.  The risk of potentially not finding the perfect home before you sell your current one.
  3.  The cost of two mortgages if you’re unable to sell your home before moving into your new one.

Buying Your New Property First


  1. The convenience of not having to move twice, or find an in-between home.
  2.  The ability to take the time to look for your dream property.
  3. The possibility of negotiating a better deal as a cash buyer, if you’re in said position. 


  1. The risk of carrying two mortgages if your current home does not sell as quickly as anticipated.
  2.  The possibility of being in a weaker negotiation position if you’re dependent on your current home sale, to complete the purchase of your new one.
  3. The added stress of having to sell your current home quickly, if you’re unable to afford two mortgages for an extended period of time.

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