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Buying and selling a home at the same time

Don't let the thought of selling and buying a home at the same time leave you feeling frazzled. We've got the lowdown on how it all works. 

Guest Author
Words by: Annabel Dixon


Buying and selling a home at the same time can be up there with life's more stressful experiences.

It's a nail biting time as you find yourself praying that your chain holds together, wonder why things are taking so long and keep everything crossed that the home you so badly want becomes yours.

So how can you keep things moving and ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible along the way?

Let's take a look at the steps involved when you're buying and selling a home at the same time.

1. Get your property valued

First things first, find out how much your current place could be worth.

Head over to My Home to get an instant online estimate for free. Our instant valuation is based on powerful market data and even shows you your home’s sales history. 

And if you register with us, we can also send you regular updates when your property's value changes.

We can let you know what similar properties in your area have sold for, to give you a good idea of market rates. Because knowledge is king.

And you can also search for house prices by town, road name or postcode over on our House Prices page when doing your research.

But nothing beats having a local estate agent round to have a proper look around your place.

They’ll take into account its particular features, general condition and any work you might have done to it. 

Local estate agents are best placed to understand the value of your property type and how the market is faring where you live.

We recommend lining up at least three estate agents to get a range of expert views.

Thinking of selling?

Get the ball rolling with an in-person valuation of your home. It’s free and there’s no obligation to sell if you change your mind.

2. Work out the costs

Get to grips with the bills you’re likely to come across for both selling your current home and buying a new one.

When selling a home, you'll need to factor in the costs for the estate agents' fee (usually between 1% and 3% of the total value of your home) and solicitors' fees. 

When you're buying a home, you'll need to factor in the costs for stamp duty, local searches, solicitor and mortgage arrangement fees and a property survey.

The cost of buying a home explained

3. Get a handle on your finances

Work out where you stand when it comes to your finances. It’ll give you an idea of how much you could splash out on your next home.

Check what savings you have stashed away and how much of your current property you actually own - in other words, how much equity you’ve got in it.

If you have a mortgage on your home, remind yourself of the balance and the loan T&Cs. 

You may be able to take the loan to your next property. Or you may be better off securing a new mortgage.

An independent mortgage advisor will come in handy here.

Is it worth using a mortgage broker?

Save money with Mojo Mortgages

Allow Mojo's remortgage experts to find a great deal for you. 95% of Mojo applicants find their mortgage joy with a successful application.

Buying and selling frequently asked questions

4. Prep your home for sale

Ask yourself if there is anything about your home that may put off potential buyers or delay a sale. And tackle any issues before you put your place on the market.

You might also want to spend time making sure it looks its best. Remember, first impressions count. 

10 ways to get your home ready for viewings

How can you maximise your kerb appeal?

How legal kerb appeal can help you sell your home

5. Line up the professionals

Get the right crew around you to help make the process as plain sailing as possible.

Hiring an estate agent is key. There’s a variety of factors to think about when choosing one so check out our other selling guides for more details. 

How to find the right estate agent for you

Why you should use a Zoopla agent

Sole agency versus multi agency

Another important member of your team is likely to be a solicitor or conveyancer (a specialist property lawyer).

They deal with all the legal aspects of a transaction, known as conveyancing. 

Get one onboard early on to help reduce the chance of delays when the hard work really starts.

How does a solicitor help you to buy a house?

Looking for a conveyancer?

We've partnered with Yourkeys to bring you their range of professionals who’ll meet all your needs.

You may also want a surveyor waiting in the wings, ready to carry out a property survey when you’ve found the place you want to buy.

What type of survey do I need?

Before signing any contracts, make sure you’ve carefully read and understood all the T&Cs. 

6. Dig out the paperwork

Yes, get those dry but important documents in good order. 

There’s plenty of paperwork to get ready as a seller, from title deeds showing that you own the property, to certificates for any work you’ve had done to it.

What documents do you need when selling a house?

And you’ll need various documents as a buyer too, such as proof of ID and income. 

A boy sitting in a cardboard box with his pet dog

7. Hit the market  

It’s time to get the show on the road! While your estate agent is busy marketing your home and arranging viewings with potential buyers, get house hunting.

Open a My Zoopla account and set up all of your property searches.

Fancy a cosy cottage in the Cotswolds? We'll send the latest ones to hit the market straight to your inbox.

Register for property alerts

And make the most of our tools to help you find the home of your dreams. Tried our advanced search filter yet?

8 tools to help you find your new home

8. Agree a sale

The right buyer for your place is not necessarily the one who can pay the most for it.

Think about their circumstances too. Are they motivated, reliable and likely to stick with the transaction?

With any luck, you’ll be able to accept an offer on your current home sooner rather than later.

Getting your sale underway before you put in an offer on a new pad is likely to make you more appealing as a buyer. But you can always do it the other way around.

9. Get your offer accepted

Found your perfect home? With your buyer’s ‘hat’ on, put in an offer that the seller can’t refuse. 

How to decide what offer to make on a property

At this point, it’s worth asking the seller to take the place off the market. It’ll reduce the chances of it attracting attention from other buyers - and you getting gazumped.

What is gazumping and how can I avoid it?

10. Kickstart the conveyancing

Now your solicitor will really swing into action. There’s a lot of hard work to do once you’ve accepted an offer on your current home - and had your offer on a new place accepted.

This includes drafting contracts, carrying out local searches and surveys, firming up any mortgage arrangements, resolving any issues, and more.

You’ll need patience and perseverance, particularly when you’re in a property chain.

A chain is where buyers and sellers are linked together because they are buying and selling homes from one another.

The longer the property chain, the more complicated things could get.

How to manage your property chain

Communication is key. Respond quickly, manage expectations and don’t be afraid to nudge things along.

11. Set exchange and completion dates

Once everything is tied up, you’ll exchange contracts, making it all binding. You’re on the home stretch now. 

What's the difference between exchange and completion when buying a home?

And then it’s time to complete. That’s the point at which ownership officially changes hands. 

It’s important that this happens on a date that works not just for you but your buyer, your seller, and anyone else in your property chain too. 

There, you’ve reached the finish line. It’s time to pop open the bubbly!

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.