Should I sell my home before I find a new one?

Should I sell my home before I find a new one?
21st September 2020

“Do I really need to put my house on the market before I have found the home I want to buy?” is something we get asked, a lot. Like the chicken and the egg situation, it can be hard to know where to begin, so we take a look at your options, and offer some tips to help being stuck in a dreaded chain.

Although it's one of the questions we get asked the most, it’s a difficult question to answer. It's understandable that you might want to hold back from putting your current home up for sale until you’re sure you’ve found ‘the one’. You don't want to end up with a buyer chasing you on when they can move into your home, when you haven't found your new one yet. But what happens if you’re too slow off the mark and the new home you’ve set your heart on is snapped up by another bidder before you’ve had a chance to find yourself a buyer?

This is a frequent dilemma, experienced by many prospective property sellers. So, what does come first – selling or finding? Our experience tells us that listing your home for sale first is often the best way forward – here are our two top reasons why:

You’ll be in a stronger position if you do fall in love with somewhere new

We know from experience that it’s very unlikely for a homeowner to accept an offer from a buyer who has a house to sell, but hasn’t done anything about selling it yet. However, putting your property on the market at least shows you’re serious about moving and would like to be considered as a potential buyer once your home has sold.

If you’ve already secured a buyer for your own property, you'll be in a position to make a solid offer to the vendors of whichever property you’ve fallen in love with, and can proceed with confidence that the foundations of your move are taken care of.

If you don’t immediately find something you like, that’s fine too. Having your property on the market gives you a head start and means you don’t have to rush to sell, especially if you’ve not yet found your next home. It also means you have time on your side – you can get a feel for the property market, research new areas you might like to call home, and allow yourself to plan your next steps. You have nothing to lose by being on the market and opening the doors of your home to prospective buyers.

You'll help to keep the property market moving (and may even encourage the sellers of your next home to list their property!)

This might seem an odd benefit, but it’s an important one. Kevin Shaw, Managing Director of Sales at Leaders, explains: “Imagine if every person who wanted or needed to move decided not to list their home for sale until they had found somewhere they wanted to buy. Effectively, there would be no properties available to buy – the huge demand for new properties on the market simply isn’t met with the supply. This causes a huge gridlock in local property markets, which in turn affects house prices and can greatly delay the moving process for many people.”

The first step we recommend if you are wanting to move is to get an accurate valuation of your current property. By using the guide price given by your estate agent, you will be able to organise your finances and budget for your move.

The next step is to have a chat with a mortgage advisor who can advise on the best deal for your circumstances. Armed with all of this information, you can put your home on the market. Here are a few tips to help along the way:

  • Do your research before you list your home - Explore the potential areas you would like to buy in, and what sort of property you want to purchase
  • Keep an eye on the property market - You know you want to move, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled in case the perfect house comes along. Setting up instant alerts with Leaders and portals like Zoopla can help you stay up-to-date with the marketplace
  • Organise all your paperwork - If you do agree a sale before you find a property to buy, make sure your admin is as organised as possible. Be sure to instruct reputable solicitors, seek financial advice early on and stay proactive when it comes to finding a new home
  • Get prep-approval of your mortgage - If you require one, be sure to get your mortgage pre-approved. This will not only save you time in the long run, but you’ll appear a more serious buyer when you go to make an offer on your next home.


Want to know how much your house is worth? Arrange your free, no-obligation property valuation today - get an instant valuation online here, or arrange a face-to-face valuation here.

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