The Ins and Outs of Limit Orders: How to Set Your Preferred Buy and Sell Prices

What is a Limit Order?

Limit orders are an essential tool for any investor looking to enter or exit a trade at a specific price. Unlike market orders, which execute at the current market price, limit orders allow you to set a specific buy or sell price for your securities. This gives you greater control over your trades and can help you achieve better results in the long run.

How to Set a Limit Order

Step 1: Choose Your Brokerage Platform

To start using limit orders, you’ll need to choose a brokerage platform that offers this feature. Many online brokers provide the option to place limit orders, so do your research and select a platform that suits your needs.

Step 2: Define Your Preferred Price

Once you’ve chosen a brokerage platform, it’s time to set your preferred buy or sell price. When setting a buy limit order, choose a price you are willing to pay for the security. This price should be lower than the current market price to ensure your order gets executed. On the other hand, when setting a sell limit order, choose a price higher than the current market price.

Step 3: Specify the Quantity

After defining your preferred price, it’s important to specify the quantity of securities you want to buy or sell. You may want to consider factors such as the size of your portfolio, risk tolerance, and investment goals when determining the quantity.

Step 4: Time in Force

When placing a limit order, you will often have the option to choose the “time in force.” Common options include “Good ‘Til Canceled” (GTC), “Day Only” (DO), or “Immediate or Cancel” (IOC). GTC means the order remains in effect until it gets executed or canceled, DO means the order expires if it doesn’t execute during the current trading day, and IOC means the order gets canceled if it cannot be filled immediately.

Step 5: Review and Place Your Order

Before finalizing your limit order, it’s vital to review all the details, including the price, quantity, and time in force. Once you are satisfied with the order, click on the “Place Order” button, and your limit order will be submitted to the market.


Q: What happens if the market price never reaches my limit price?

A: If the market price fails to reach your limit price, your limit order will remain open until it gets executed or cancelled. This means that your order might not get filled immediately, or it may not get filled at all if the price never reaches your desired level.

Q: Can I change or cancel my limit order?

A: Yes, you can change or cancel your limit order as long as it hasn’t been executed yet. Most brokerage platforms allow you to modify or cancel your order through their trading interface.

Q: Can a filled limit order be partially executed?

A: Yes, a filled limit order can be partially executed. For example, if you placed a sell limit order for 100 shares at a specified price, but only 50 shares are bought by other investors at that price, your order will be considered partially filled.

Q: Are there any risks associated with using limit orders?

A: While limit orders give you more control over your trades, it’s important to note that there are risks involved. For instance, if the desired price isn’t reached, your order may not get executed, potentially causing you to miss out on opportunities or suffer losses if the market moves against you.


Limit orders are a valuable tool for investors who want to set their preferred buy and sell prices. By understanding how to set limit orders and the associated risks, you can better navigate the market and improve your trading results.

Remember to research your brokerage platform’s specific features and guidelines when using limit orders, as they may have additional rules and options for setting these orders. Happy trading!

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