Moving is a challenge, pretty much no matter how you slice it.

There’s the matter of packing, moving, unpacking and resetting all of your furniture and belongings, including all the “stuff” you’ve been holding onto, collecting, saving and carting around for years.

That collective process alone can be transformative, if not also reasonably exhausting. We’ve all done it – some more times than others – and yet somehow we get through to the other side and look back with some level of self-amazement at how we did so much in so little time. 

As monumental as the actual physical move is, it sometimes pales in comparison to the complicated workings surrounding the actual transition that prompted the move.

Upsizing, downsizing, right-sizing, local moving, cross-country moving, moving closer to family, moving further from family – no matter what the “why” is, the “how” and “when” become the critical factors that shape the move’s timing and logistics.

This is where the age-old chicken-and-egg dilemma in real estate comes into play. 

It speaks to the key question of order of process: Do you sell your current home before buying your next home, or do you buy your next home before you sell your current home?

The sell-first-buy-second scenario provides a higher level of financial confidence and security, but leaves the possibility that you could end up selling your current home without successfully finding and buying the replacement home you truly want.

The buy-first-sell-second scenario ensures that you secure your next home, but does so at some financial strain or risk as you now must set about finding a suitable buyer for your current home, lest you end up owning both properties for an extended period of time.

The debate of which scenario works best is often swayed by market conditions, which can lead to varying levels of confidence regarding how many options exist for your next home vs. how many buyers exist for your current home.

Given today’s historically low inventory of property for sale, the challenge seems to be less about being able to find a buyer for your current home, and more about finding suitable options for your next home. 

So, how do you solve the chicken-and-egg dilemma? How do you achieve the necessary sale of your current home while you simultaneously set about finding and buying your next home?

Should you stay in your current home since it might “show” better with your furniture in place? Or should you move out prior to attempting to sell your home so that you are not bothered with showings and/or the pressure of having to move out by your closing date?

The solution, it seems, comes in a variety of packages, each depending on the individual circumstances (as well as the shared will and agreement) of the buyer and seller on both sides of the transition and transaction.

Like snowflakes, each solution effectively has the same framework and shape, but they are most certainly unique to themselves. We will discuss them further in our next column. In the meantime, you can watch this clip to hear more:

Chip Collins is the broker-owner of Collins Group Realty. or