If you are both selling and buying a home, the timing is important. If you sell your home before you find the next one, you will end up moving twice, once into a temporary location, then later into your new home. If you buy your new home before you sell your current home, you will end up paying two mortgages for a while (which also requires the approval of your lender). However, with a smart strategy, you might be able to have a simultaneous closing, meaning you sell and buy on the same day.

The key is to work on finding your next home while preparing your current home for sale. With the right advice from a good real estate broker, and a realistic price, you should be able to get a contract on your Raleigh-area home within 60 days. If you have done your homework on the buying side, you will already have a few top choices for your next home. If so, go ahead and get your top choice under contract, contingent on the closing of the existing contract on your home. If not, negotiate a longer closing date on your current home to give you more time, and get to work finding the right home. In either case, you should be able to arrange the same closing date for both homes.

If you do not need the cash from your current home in order to purchase the next home, and your lender approves you for a loan on your next home while you still own your first home, it can be very convenient to close on your new home a week or so early to make the move easy.

However, most sellers will need to schedule the closing of their current home in the morning on the closing date, then get that attorney to wire the proceeds to the next attorney in order to close later that day on the home they are buying. In North Carolina a real estate closing is more of an accounting function than a legal representation, so I recommend using the same attorney for both closings in this case, even if that means using your buyer’s attorney for your purchase. That way you can skip the wire transfer and close back-to-back in the same office.

No matter how much you prepare, keep this important fact in mind: although 95% of real estate closings happen on time, they can be delayed for a dozen different reasons, many of which (such as the buyer’s lender) are out of your control. The standard North Carolina contract allows a buyer ten days delay without penalty, but in most cases delayed closings will take place by the end of the next business day. Try to stay calm, and prepare in advance. When choosing a moving company ask them how much it will cost you if they have to hold onto your belongings for an extra day or more.