Timing is everything. If you’re taking the next step on the housing ladder, it’s important to sell your home at the right moment.
If you are looking to buy a new property, figuring out when to put your current home on the market can be tricky.
Finding a buyer too soon could leave you scrambling to locate a property you want to purchase yourself. Equally, if you leave it too late, you risk losing a home you may have set your heart on.
You may also want to consider whether or not you will be able to buy and sell in time to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.
We weigh up the different factors to help you get the timing right.
How quickly will your home sell?
Finding out how vibrant the local property market is will give you a good indication of how quickly your home may sell.
Use our website to analyse the market. Spend a few weeks or months before hoisting a 'For Sale' sign up tracking properties similar to your own, to gauge how long it takes for them to sell and if there are any price reductions.
Listings on our website show how many days properties have been on the market and detail if the asking price has been reduced. The average UK property sells in just 27 days at the moment. If properties like yours take longer than that, consider why.
As well as tracking in real-time, you can go back through our listings and work out how long properties stay on the market in your area, and if there are any trends, such as immaculately decorated homes selling typically faster than those that need updating.
If you want to sell fast, take note of any insights such market knowledge can give you. Make changes to your property accordingly, such as redecorating to create an impactful first impression.
If the market seems buoyant and you’re confident your home will be snapped up, then you might wait until finding your next home before putting it on the market. But if the market seems sluggish, get it listed before you go house hunting.
Can you make a reliable comparison?
Even if the local property market is very vibrant, that doesn’t mean your home will sell quickly.
One indication of interest in similar homes to yours can be found online. Our website shows how many times home listings have been viewed by prospective buyers. If there are lots of eyeballs on similar properties, that might mean there is high demand.
In high demand areas, you can probably afford to wait until you have found a property to buy before listing your current one. But if nobody is looking, it is probably better to get it on the market as soon as possible.
How unusual is your home?
Unusual or quirky properties can take longer to sell than more conventional homes.
Be objective and ask yourself whether there is anything about your home that may put off potential buyers or delay a sale.
For example, do you have an older property in which the bathroom is downstairs? Is there a right of way through the land your home sits on?
The conveyancing process also typically takes longer for leasehold properties than for freehold ones.
If you think your home may take longer to sell, consider putting it on the market sooner.
How price-sensitive are you?
While everyone wants to get as much as possible for their home, it is worth thinking about whether you have enough wiggle room to reduce the asking price if you need to make a quick sale.
If you are prepared to accept a discounted offer and there are no obvious factors likely to put off potential buyers, you can probably afford to delay listing your home until you have found a property you want to buy.
On the other hand, if your next step up the property ladder is already stretching your budget, consider listing your home early on to give you the maximum amount of time in which to achieve the full asking price.
How quickly will you find your next home?
Deciding when to put your home on the market is not just about how quickly you think it will sell, but also how soon you think you will find a property you want to buy.
Get an idea of how many suitable homes are currently for sale in your target area. If you have a lot of choice, coordinating your sale and purchase is likely to be easier.
But if there are very few suitable homes available or you have very specific criteria and are unwilling to compromise on certain things, you might be better off waiting until you have found somewhere you want to buy before you put your own property on the market.
Can you stay with family?
Do you have the option of staying with family for several weeks or even months if you aren’t able to line up your home sale and purchase at the same time?
If so, it might be worth listing your current property straight away, as you don’t have the pressure of having to find your next home immediately.
Things are trickier if you do need to align your sale and purchase, so you will need to think carefully about how long your current home will take to sell and how quickly you will find a new one to buy.
Could you afford a bridging loan?
Another factor to consider is whether you could afford a bridging loan if you found your dream home before your current property has sold.
If this is the case, you may feel comfortable holding off listing your property until you have found somewhere you want to buy.
On the other hand, if you cannot afford a bridging loan or you want to move your current mortgage to your new property, it will be crucial to line up your sale and purchase.
Are you looking to buy a new-build property?
If your next home is going to be a new-build, you will need to coordinate the sale of your current property with the completion date of your new home.
The good news is that you are likely to know the target date several months in advance, assuming there are no building delays.
In these circumstances, it can be a good idea to list your home early but make sure the estate agent is aware of the situation and informs potential buyers, so that you are all working towards the same date from the start.
How urgently do you need to move?
If your need to move is urgent as a result of having to relocate for a job or because you have outgrown your current home, there is no sense in delaying.
Put your home up for sale straight away and start scouring the market for somewhere you want to buy.
But it is important to remember that if a quick sale is important, you may have to compromise on both the offer you accept on your own property and the features of the next home you buy.
You may also be interested in...
- How to find the right estate agent for you
- First impressions count: 10 ways to get your home ready for viewings
- How ‘legal kerb appeal’ can help you sell your home