Can you put an offer on a house before selling yours?
It's possible to put an offer in on a house before selling your current one. It can give you a head start in the property market but not without potential complications.
In a competitive market, it’s important to be seen as a buyer who is ready and able to move. It stands to reason then that the owners of your next home may prefer to sell to someone who already has their home up for sale.
Whatever your situation, it’s important to be prepared. Coming up, we’ll offer some tips on buying and selling a house at the same time.
First of all, what is a property chain?
Being part of a property chain is a common scenario when buying and selling simultaneously. A property chain is a sequence of linked house purchases, where each transaction depends on the previous and next.
If you're in a chain, the speed you can move will depend on everyone else in the chain, meaning you could face delays if someone else's purchase or sale is held up.
That's why it's crucial to be prepared and consider the possible financial implications, for example, the potential of carrying two mortgages for some time. For free financial advice that’s tailored to your situation, speak to our mortgage partners.
Related: What does porting a mortgage mean?
Tips on how to buy and sell a house at the same time
- Get a valuation
When selling a property, you need to make sure you know what your current property is worth before putting it on the market, by getting a professional valuation.
- Hire an experienced estate agent
Look for an experienced estate agent with local knowledge who can help guide you through both processes. They can advise you on pricing, offer support during negotiations and keep your move running smoothly from start to finish. Find your local Hunters branch
- Consider financial solutions if needed
Consider obtaining a bridging loan if your sale and purchase timescales aren't aligning. A bridging loan is a short-term financing solution that 'bridges' the gap between selling your existing home and purchasing a new one.
- Get your paperwork in order
Make sure you have all the required paperwork in order before moving forward with any offers or sales, including proof of income, mortgage information and other relevant documents.
- Review your financial savings
Check that you have a healthy budget to cover costs such as legal fees and surveyors for both properties. You can use our cost of moving calculator to help you.
- Keep your house presentable for viewings
Be prepared to show your property off at short notice if a potential buyer wants to view it, so ensure it's in a presentable state with plenty of kerb appeal.
- Research the area you're buying in
Research the area you are looking to buy in so that you know what kind of property prices to expect. Your local Hunters agents are the go-to experts of the area, so feel free to come to them for your questions, large and small.
- Arrange for a survey
Arranging for a professional survey of the new property can help identify any potential structural issues or necessary repairs that might impact your decision to buy or the price you're willing to pay.
- Stay up to date with the market
Keep up with market trends and changes in the area you're buying and selling, so you can be sure you are getting a good deal on both properties.
For example, 42% of sellers accepted offers that are more than 5% below the asking price in June 2023, the highest level since 2018. Information like this can help you not only when reviewing offers for your home, but when deciding to put in an offer on a new property.
- Consult with your mortgage lender or broker
Speak to your mortgage lender or broker before putting an offer in on a new property so you're clear on how much they are likely to lend.
- Be flexible where you can
Keep in mind that each party in the chain is also trying to coordinate their move, so extending a little understanding and flexibility can go a long way in maintaining a positive atmosphere throughout the transition.
- Don't be afraid to negotiate
Be realistic about what you want from both properties and don't be afraid to negotiate if required on either purchase.
- Have patience throughout the process
It can take some time to get to completion on both sides and there may be some delays along the way so try to stay patient and trust in your estate agent.
- Keep in contact
Keep in contact with your estate agent and all parties involved to ensure everyone is on the same page and keep the transition as smooth as possible.
- Always have a plan B
Make sure you have a plan B in case something goes wrong in the chain, such as being prepared to live in rental accommodation for a short period, so you are not left without options if needed. Hunters can help you to find a temporary let so speak to them for advice.
Although situations when buying and selling can be challenging, they're a regular part of the property market and regular processes. By staying informed, prepared and patient, you can navigate selling and purchasing a property with the help of your estate agent.