Buy to Open and Buy to Close: What is It, and How Does It Work?

You must have been wondering what buy to open vs buy to close means. Well, you are not far from your answer. Despite the numerous exotic-sounding variations, there are just four fundamental positions that can be traded in the options market.

This means you have the option of purchasing or disposing of call or put options. By selling or buying to close a transaction, existing positions are canceled.

What is Buy to Open?

Brokerages will refer to the creation of a fresh (opening) long call. They will also refer put position in options as “buy to open.” A new options investor should buy to open if they wish to purchase a call or put.

An order to purchase to open signals to other market participants that the trader is opening a new position rather than liquidating an existing one. A position taken using a buy-to-open order is sold out of using a sell to close order.

Creating a new short position is known as selling to open. And a buy-to-close order would be used to close it out. A beginner options trader should sell to open if they wish to sell a call or a put.

Understanding Buy to Open Orders

Contrary to stock trading, the terminology for buying and selling options is more complicated. Options traders must select between “buy to open,” “buy to close,” “sell to open,” and “sell to close” in addition to putting a simple buy or sell order, as they would for equities.

A buy-to-open position could suggest to other traders that the trader placing the order has preconceived notions about the market or has something to prove. This is especially true if the order is substantial.

But it’s not necessary to be that way. In truth, options traders frequently spread or hedge their bets, in which case a buy to open may in fact offset an existing position.

A great approach to reduce risk when buying a stock is to buy to open an out-of-the-money put. A buy-to-open order might not execute because the exchange may decide that only closing orders are permitted during particular market conditions.

That might occur if a stock that has options is set to be delisted. It can also take place if the exchange suspends trade in the stock for an extended period of time.

Read Also:

Stock Considerations

In relation to equities, the phrase “buy to open” is also appropriate. The first buy transaction is regarded as a buy-to-open transaction. This is when an investor chooses to create a new position in a specific stock because it does so.

The stock is established as a holding in the portfolio by opening the position. Until the position is closed out by selling all the shares, it is open. Because it closes the position, that is referred to as selling to close.

Selling a partial stake entails selling certain stocks but not all of them. When there are no longer any shares of a particular stock in a portfolio, a position is deemed closed.

When covering a short-sell position, buy-to-close orders are also taken into consideration. The shares for a short-sell position are borrowed through the broker, and the position is closed by repurchasing the shares on the open market.

The buy-to-close order is the final transaction to fully close out the position. This transaction entirely eliminates the vulnerability.

The goal is to buy the shares back at a lower price in order to profit from the price differential between the buy-to-close price and the short-sell price.

What is Buy to Close?

Traders, mainly option traders, use the phrase “buy to close” to describe the process of closing out an existing short position. It is known in market lingo to signify that the trader wishes to close out a current option trade.

Technically speaking, it denotes the trader’s desire to finish out a short position on the same asset by acquiring it.

Understanding Buy to Close

A buy-to-close option and a buy-to-cover transaction differ in subtle ways. While the latter usually solely refers to stocks, the former mostly applies to options and occasionally futures as well. In both situations, the outcome is the same.

In essence, it involves purchasing an asset that was first sold short. No exposure to the asset is the end result. When a trader is net short an option position and wishes to close out that open position, the phrase “buy to close” is employed.

They are attempting to close an open position that they already have by writing an option for which they have received a net credit. This open short option position is typically established by traders using a “sell-to-open” order, which the “buy to close” order offsets.

When it comes to equities, short selling requires obtaining the asset from a different party. Writing a contract to sell futures or options to another buyer is the first step in the process.

In both situations, the trader is hoping that the underlying stock’s price will decline in order to close the deal in the black.

The only method to get out of a stock trade, barring insolvency in the underlying company, is to repurchase the shares and give them back to the source from which they were borrowed.

In a future transaction, the trade expires at maturity or when the seller covers their short position by repurchasing the position on the open market.

The deal for an options position closes when the option matures, the buyer of the option exercises it, the seller repurchases the position on the open market or both. The seller will always make money if the purchase or cover price is lower than the selling or shorting price.

Buy to Open vs Buy to Close

An investor must buy to open if they want to purchase a call or put in order to profit from a change in the underlying security’s price. A long options position is started by buying to open. This allows a trader the chance to make a very significant profit with very little risk.

On the other hand, if the security doesn’t move in the appropriate direction within a set amount of time, time decay will cause the option to lose all of its value.

Time decay favors option sellers over buyers, but sellers may still wish to buy in order to close off their positions. Until the options’ expiration date, an investor who sells options is still subject to the conditions of those options.

However, changes in the security price might encourage option sellers to stop losing money. It might also allow them to capture the majority of their profits much earlier.

Let’s say someone sells at-the-money options with a year’s duration and after three months the underlying stock increases by 10%.

The seller of options can purchase to close and take the majority of the gains immediately. Instead, if the price drops 10% after three months, the options seller will have to pay more to exit the position and minimize losses.

Is Trading Options Good for Beginners?

Options trading requires margin accounts and is more complicated than simple stock trading. Therefore, simple options methods may be suitable for some beginners. But only after all dangers and the nature of options have been comprehended.

The best options for less experienced traders are typically those used to hedge current positions or for taking long positions in puts or calls.

What is the Difference Between a Call Option and a Put Option?

The holder of a call option has the right, but not the responsibility, to purchase the underlying asset at a predetermined price at or before the option expires. Instead, a put contract gives the buyer the option to sell.

In situations where the share price increases rapidly, a short-seller might need to buy to close at a loss in order to avoid suffering further losses. In the worst instance, a margin call could force the broker to conduct a forced liquidation.

The broker would then request that the investor fund the deficit by adding funds to the margin account. Due to insufficient account equity, it would result in a buy-to-cover order to liquidate the position at a loss.


What does it mean to buy to close?

“Buy to close” is a term used by traders, primarily option traders, to exit an existing short position. It is widely understood in the market to mean that the trader wants to close out an existing options trade.

Buy-to-close (BTC) orders pay debit and close a position opened by selling options. Sell-to-close (STC) orders receive credit and close a position that was opened by buying options. The premium paid or collected, relative to the opening order, determines your profit or loss on a trade.

Buy to open indicates a “long” position in which the trader holds the option in his or her account and hopes to profit from a rise in the option’s value. Sell to open is the opposite, in which the trader collects cash from a sale and waits for the option to lose most or all of its value

The Sell To Open order creates a new options contract (called writing) that is bought by a different trader. A Sell To Close order is used when you are seeking to close a position for an options contract you already own. Now you know the difference between Sell To Open vs Sell To Close.

What Is Buy to Open? Brokerages use the term “buy to open” to signify the establishment of a new (opening) long call or put position in options. If a new options investor wants to buy a call or put, that investor should buy to open.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button