26 November 2015

Top tips for handling your second move

Buying a house can be stressful, but house hunting while also trying to sell your old property makes the process even harder.

We’ll talk you through some key points to consider and offer some tips that can make the process as stress-free as possible.

There are three ways to approach a second move:

  • Buy and sell at the same time

    The most popular option is to buy and sell together, but it may not be the best strategy for every situation. It can be stressful to manage both a sale and a property search at the same time. And your ability to find an ideal new home at the same time your old house sells may come down to luck.

  • Sell first

    If you’re able to, selling first may give you some significant advantages. With money in the bank from your sale, you’ll know exactly what you can afford. Also, sellers generally prefer buyers who are free from the property chain, as they would rather not wait in limbo while you try and sell your own house.

    However, selling first can also carry risks. If you struggle to find something you like straight away, you may end up stuck in rented accommodation for an extended period. This can cause inconvenience such as having to re-direct mail as well as having an impact on your finances especially if you put some of your belongings in storage. The market could change in between selling and buying, leaving you able to borrow less or at a worse rate, or house prices could rise, meaning you have to pay out more for a new home even though you sold your old property for less.

  • Buy first

    If your dream house comes on the market before you're ready to sell you may decide to buy first, especially if you have particular wants for your new home or you would like to buy in a highly sought after location. However, choosing to buy first can put you in a weaker selling position, as buyers may be aware of your need to sell, tempting them to lower their offers on your old property. If you cannot sell your existing home for a while or if you sell for less than you had expected it can leave you in a difficult situation if you had planned to use the money raised from the sale to go towards the purchase of your new house.

De-stressing your second move: key points

  • Research the property market

    What is a realistic sales price in your current neighbourhood? How quickly are similar properties being sold? How will this affect your selling timeline and finances? Getting free valuations from multiple estate agents and online research into other recent sales in your neighbourhood can help clarify the picture.

  • Build a good relationship with estate agents

    Talk to your selling agent about your contract needs upfront. Are you flexible, or can you only accept an offer on the condition you find a suitable place to buy? Sellers want to avoid being in a property chain, but impressing a selling agent through an in-person meeting, regular communication and being on time to viewings can tip the balance back in your favour.

  • Give yourself a selling advantage

    Get your home ready for viewings to make sure you show your house at its best. Consider simple renovations, thorough cleaning, decluttering and creating an inviting first impression through homely smells, fresh flowers or a fire in the fireplace. Decluttering and moving some things into storage will not only boost your home’s appeal, it can also make your move easier when the time comes.

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