The best thing for you to do when you have a sale and settlement contingency is first go to the lender and see if you can actually obtain two mortgages. That way, you can proceed with your new home before your old home sells. That way you’ll have a lot of options.
The painful second part is that you need to sell to buy. You want to go see houses and make an offer, but nobody will accept your offer because your home hasn’t sold yet . The best thing I can tell you is that you’ve got to make your house perfect. You’ve got to get that offer first, and once that offer is obtained, it’s way easier to find your perfect home.
The problem is, if you find the perfect home first and then you decide you want to put an offer in on a house and they don’t accept it, no home that you look at after that will meet that same criteria. You’re going to feel that there’s just nothing for you to buy. So instead of being disappointed, get your home sold first if you can’t carry two mortgages. It’s the only way to guarantee you find the perfect home.