Closing on a new home can be one of the most exciting times of your life. So exciting, in fact, that it’s not hard for people to get wrapped up in the moment and forget about the other side of the coin — selling the home you already have! That being said, buying and selling a house at the same time calls for careful planning and consideration. To avoid paying two mortgages, or living in your car for a while, here are some steps to ensure everything lines up.

Use the Same Real Estate Agent for Buying and Selling

Often called a simultaneous closing, buying and selling a home at the same time is common in the real estate industry and something agents are very familiar with.

While you can coordinate a purchase and sale through two separate agents, or even try selling your home on your own, committing to one agent from beginning to end streamlines the process. When you list your house, your agent can start the search for your new home right away. And, by working closely together through the sale process, your agent is more likely to understand exactly what you want and need from your future home.

Get on the Same Page with Your Buyer

Facing such a careful balancing act, the most important thing you can do is keep open communications across all parties, including your potential buyers. To avoid paying two mortgages, you may have a hard close-by date when selling. If you have a buyer waiting for your current home, make sure they understand what your intentions and needs are.

Know Your State’s Laws on Buying and Selling a House at the Same Time

Simultaneous closings have been common practice for years and are perfectly legal if properly handled, but some states do have strict regulations that could complicate the process. When choosing the right agent for you, test them about their knowledge of these regulations. If they don’t have enough experience with this kind of transaction, it might be best to look elsewhere.

Also, more variables mean more risk, and some mortgage lenders and title companies will be wary to approve this kind of transaction. In these cases, diligence is key and it may be helpful to consult a local real estate attorney who can inform you of the proper steps needed to navigate your state’s laws.

Be Involved throughout the Buying and Selling Process

A seller who expects a simultaneous closing to be a hands-off experience is in for a rude awakening. Throughout the process, you’ll need to keep in regular contact with your agent, monitor the proceedings closely, and be ready to accommodate potential buyers if they have any questions or concerns. Before you know it, you’ll be able to get out of the real estate market and on with your life.