Yes, you can buy and sell at the same time. In fact, people do it all the time… in a multitude of fashions. If you are ready to make this type of move the first step is to examine your options.
Do you financially qualify to purchase a new home without selling your current one first?
Your first step is talking to a lender to determine your options. In today's market with such a shortage of homes for sale, it can be a scary prospect to sell your current home quickly and be unable to find a new home to buy. More people are buying first if they can, then selling their current home after closing on their new home. It also makes the process more manageable without having to move and close on two homes the same day. And with the current seller's market the prospect of be unable to sell your current home may not be a scary as being homeless. The other benefit is when you list your home for sale after you have moved to your new home you can stage it and not worry about keeping it in showing condition while you are living in it… a real bonus if you have children or pets.
What happens if you have to sell your current home first? Or don't feel comfortable buying a new home without having your current home sold first?
If you plan to sell your current home first, you need to have a plan in place for when you get an offer. Most people look for their new home immediately, and make their offer subject to the successful closing of their current home. You may get lucky and quickly find a home to buy where you can coordinate the same closing date on both homes. If not, sometimes people plan to move in with family or friends for the transition. Sometimes people move into a short-term rental, but that can also be difficult to find in today's market. The most important thing is knowing what your requirements are before accepting an offer on your current home… that can be the most important part of the negotiation process in the sale of your home.
Another possibility is making an offer on a new home contingent upon the sale of your current one. In this case, your current home must be ready to go on the market immediately… when your current home will be listed for sale is part of your offer. Typically if you come to an agreement you will have the inspection of your new home right away. If another buyer makes a non-contingent offer you run the risk of not only losing that home but you will also be out the inspection cost.
See Making an offer contingent upon the sale of your current home for more details about contingent offers.