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How to sell your home and buy another

It may not be your first time buying a property, but if it’s your first time selling and buying simultaneously, it can be scary. But it doesn’t have to be!

How to sell your home and buy another

Whilst there are a few more tasks to consider, some elements, like your conveyancing, will all be done together. So it’s just a case of selling your home for the best price you can get, and finding a new home that fits all your requirements.

How hard can it be, right?

Where do I start?

Preparing your home to sell

When you’ve decided to sell, the best thing to do is get your house in order, quite literally. Have a look at our guide to decluttering and our tips on staging your home. Whether you’re planning on a fresh coat of paint, or a simple spring clean, make sure your house sells itself by looking the best it can.

Considering costs

There will be costs associated with your home move and it’s worth knowing what they are in advance. You can use our Moving Cost Calculator to get a rough idea before you put your home on the market.

Remember that if you’re selling through an estate agent, prices will differ depending on whether you go online or use a high street agent– each have their pros and cons. If you are using a traditional high street agent, be sure to find out their fee in advance, and remember that you can always negotiate. 

Getting a valuation and choosing an estate agent

Knowing how much your home is worth is a tricky subject. Some tell you to get a few different valuations from estate agents, however an estate agent is likely to give you a very positive number they believe they can get in the sale, in the hopes you’ll choose them. An easier way to choose an estate agent is by using comparison site netanagent to compare them.

The difference in asking prices compared to eventual sale prices is huge, and in many ways holding out for an unrealistic price can stop you selling and slow down the process. Even if you do convince a buyer to pay a higher price, a mortgage lender’s evaluation may not agree on the worth and refuse to lend on the property.

One of the best things to do is to do some research yourself, using property portals. Look at other homes in your street that are similar to yours, and see how much those were sold for, and how recently. Consider the differences and what features add value to your home. Work out an amount from these approximations.
It’s mistaken to assume that properties always increase dramatically in price – whilst you might feel sure that your property is worth a certain amount, it really is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

Don’t pick a figure out of the air, don’t work it out based on what you need for your next property – look at what is selling in your area, what your key features are, and go from there.

Remember: a mortgage valuation is not the same as one from a RICS surveyor – the mortgage lender is merely assessing the basics to determine whether they want to lend to your buyer. A RICS valuation is more in depth and can be used for a variety of different purposes.


Again, this comes down to whether you’ve picked an online or traditional estate agent to sell your home. With online agents, you’ll be more likely to host the viewings yourself. With a traditional agent, they’ll show the potential buyers around when you’re out. This can make viewers feel more comfortable, able to make judgements, discuss freely and imagine your property as their home. They can also ask about any flaws or issues with the property, which they might feel awkward about with you there.

On the other hand, who knows your property better than you? If you’re happy to show potential buyers around your home, it’s likely you’ll be able to answer all their questions more fully than an estate agent who doesn’t know the history of the property, or the work you’ve done over the years.

What’s a chain and what do I do about it?

A property chain can strike fear in the hearts of both buyers and sellers.

For most, a chain is inevitable – it refers to the chain of sales created when one buyer needs to sell their house in order to buy another. So your buyer may also need to sell their house before they can buy yours. You will have to wait for them to sell before they can pay you. Then if the person you are buying from is also buying a new home, they’ll be waiting on you.

Chains are usually ended by first time or cash buyers, or those who are selling and moving into rental accommodation, or with family. Alternatively, those selling rental properties or second properties may be chain free, which can be appealing to those looking to move in a hurry.

Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done to escape the chain, unless you move into rental accommodation before finding a new home, or you only sell to a cash buyer or first time buyer. 

When do I start viewing properties?

 You can start viewing properties whenever you like, but if you’ve had a few offers on your property you’ll not only have a better idea of what you can afford, but you’ll be taken more seriously.

Your seller doesn’t want to be stuck waiting for you to find a buyer. They don’t know if you’ve priced your property too highly, won’t find a buyer and they may lose out on their dream property. If you’ve got an offer on your home when you make an offer on a potential home, it gives a sense of the process moving along.

What should I look for?

If you’re not sure what to look for when you’re viewing potential properties, check out our property viewing checklist. It covers everything involved in viewings, from understanding online listings to asking the right questions on the day.

When do I get a solicitor?

You can get a solicitor very early on, but really from when you either make or receive an offer is a good time. There’s no harm in getting a solicitor very early on in the process, but ideally you’ll know the price and location of the property so the process can begin.

Who deals with the buyer?

In general, you shouldn’t really have to interact directly with your buyer unless you want to. Your solicitors should deal with each other, or the estate agent will act as an intermediary. However, sometimes it is easier to liase directly with your buyer. Perhaps they want to visit again, to show another family member the property. Maybe they want to measure or ask you questions. It is likely to be more efficient to be in contact, and developing a friendly relationship means you’re less likely to suffer a fall through in the process.

How do we work out timings?

Sometimes it can be complicated, but in other situations it’s completely straightforward. Your solicitor will be able to suggest a completion date, but it really does depend on how complicated the sale is, the condition of the property and the time of year. If searches come back with issues, or your buyer has trouble getting their mortgage approved, or it’s getting close to Christmas or the summer holidays, you may find things slow down.
Take your solicitor’s advice in choosing a completion date and try to be flexible. It’s a fairly long process and the move date can change. Just make sure it works as well as it can for you, so you don’t end up paying for extra storage, or find yourself with nowhere to stay for a few weeks!
For further information about selling your home, have a look at our complete guide to selling your home. If you have more questions about buying a new home, or upsizing, have a look at our buying guide.

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