The chicken and the egg – should I sell first before buying a property?

When it comes to moving home, many homeowners find themselves asking the same questions. What should I do first? If I put my house up for sale and cannot find anything; will I be left homeless? And what if I find my dream home but haven’t even got mine on the market? Will I be taken seriously?

It’s a big decision. To sell first; or to buy first. Below, using our experience as estate agents, we explore the pros and cons of both approaches.

Should I sell up before finding my new home?

If you have already agreed a sale on your existing property, this will give you more time to focus on finding your next home without as many distractions. You'll be able to concentrate fully on the search safe in the knowledge that you have agreed a deal with a prospective buyer.

What's more, taking this route means you will have a better idea of your budget as you'll know your agreed selling price. You can also factor in additional costs such as estate agent and conveyancing fees with more certainty, reducing the chance of becoming unstuck financially further down the line.

If you have already agreed a sale on your property, you're also more likely to have stronger negotiating power when you come to buy as, in theory, you are now ‘proceedable’. The seller of the property you are trying to buy may therefore view your offer more favourably against purchasers whose financials are less certain or who are part of a more complicated chain.

The chances of being gazumped are also reduced if you have already agreed a sale. This is because the seller of the property you are trying to buy is more likely to take their home off the market while your sale progresses.

There are a few disadvantages to agreeing a sale first. Firstly, you could miss out on your preferred home to another buyer if your pre-agreed sale runs into complications.

You might worry that if your sale moves quickly, that you be forced to move into rented accommodation while you wait for your new home to become available to move in to. This cannot happen without your agreement. Until you ‘exchange contracts’ no sale is legally binding. This means that right up to the day of exchange you still have the right to withdraw from the transaction. In summary, if you haven’t found a home that’s also ready for you to move into; you can simply refuse to exchange till your purchase is ready.

As with all aspects of the moving process, it's important that you weigh up all decisions and don't act impulsively.

The pros and cons of finding a property before selling

If you decide to find a property you love first and work backwards, it could give you a clear indication of how much you need to sell your property for in order to purchase the home you really want.

What's more, once you have found a home you like and agreed an offer with the seller, you will arguably find it easier to focus fully on selling your property quickly and for the best possible price. You will feel a lot more motivated.

A downside to trying to buy before selling is that you might not find a buyer as quickly as you’d hope or it may take a lot longer than anticipated. If this happens, the move you were planning may never really get off the ground.

Weighing up – selling first can be more rewarding

Selling first can be unnerving as you may feel under more pressure when looking for your next property. However, this approach can certainly be more rewarding as it puts you in a stronger position as a buyer and gives you a better idea about your finances.

What’s more, you’re not committed to a sale until you exchange contracts and that can only happen once you’ve found a property you’re happy with. So, in theory, you have nothing to lose by choosing to sell first. You can also provide yourself with more time to buy by agreeing a longer period between accepting your buyer’s offer and the exchange.

Of course, every seller’s circumstances are different, so it may suit you best to buy first. Here at Knight Edmonds, our team are highly experienced in selling property in Maidstone and can provide you with all the advice you need to make your initial decision.

We can then guide you through the whole sale process, helping things to run smoothly and working with you to achieve your objectives.

Contact us today on 01622 291 491or to find out how we can help you to kickstart your property journey. You can also request a free and instant online valuation to give you an initial idea of how much your home could be worth