Your trusted property experts

How to Sell and Buy a House

Author avatar
Share Share article to LinkedIn Share article to Twitter Share article to Facebook

If you’re selling, chances are you’re buying too. But, property chains are known for being stressful and difficult to manage. To try and help things go more smoothly, here’s a guide on how to sell and buy a house.

Process of selling and buying a house

  1. Decide if the timing is right
  2. Figure out your finances
  3. Get a solicitor
  4. Speak to a mortgage adviser
  5. Build relationships with estate agents
  6. List your home for sale
  7. Find a buyer
  8. Start the hunt for your new home
  9. Make an offer
  10. Keep the chain moving
  11. Set a completion date
  12. Move home

Buying a house while selling a house – explained 

When buying a house, selling your current property is usually essential. Here’s what you need to consider.

#1 – Decide if the timing is right

Knowing if it’s a good time to sell is a very personal decision. While it’s good to pay attention to factors like house prices, ultimately, you need to ensure you’re ready. Before you decide to sell, consider your income, job and any major life events. 

#2 – Figure out your finances

The cost of moving house adds up, so you need to ensure you can afford it. Factor in everything from stamp duty to estate agent fees. Don’t just consider the upfront costs, but ‘hidden’ ones too, including mortgage valuations and surveys.

This is the stage where you need to figure out how much you can afford to spend on your next home. For example, how much equity is in your current property? How much can you afford to borrow?

Use Our Mortgage Calculator

There’s also the deposit to consider, as this will need to be paid on exchange of contracts (when a sale becomes legally binding). If you exchange on the same day your buyer exchanges, you’ll be able to use the deposit they pay to pay yours.

However, you may well be looking to upsize when buying a new home. Therefore, you may need to come up with more money. A rule of thumb is to save a deposit between 5-20% of the sale price.

#3 – Get a solicitor 

The conveyancing process has many moving parts, so it’s vital you find a good solicitor. They’ll take on a range of legal work and carry out many property searches before contracts can be exchanged. 

Ensure you check they have the capacity to take your workload on. Finding someone who is proactive is absolutely key. 

We can connect you with a conveyancing solicitor from our approved panel, all who work on a ‘no transaction no fee’ basis.

Find a Solicitor

#4 – Speak to a mortgage adviser

A mortgage broker can help guide you on what options are available, and what steps you should take. We can connect you with a member of our approved panel, who work on a no-obligation basis.

Take the stress out of buying and selling. Get a mortgage quote below.

#5 – Build relationships with estate agents

When it comes to knowing how to sell a house, building relationships with local estate agents is key. They work for the seller, with their interests at heart, and have inside, local knowledge you can tap into. Some tips for choosing one:

  • Shop around’ for the best agent to get the best value for money 
  • Invite a few local estate agents to value your home, ask how they’d market your property
  • Ask if they have any advice or suggestions on anything you could do, alter or improve to enhance the sale of your home
  • Consider their valuation, fees, as well as how their current properties are marketed – how good are the photographs, floor plans and property descriptions?
  • Choose an agent with a good reputation for dealing with similar types of property to your own
  • Choose an agent you feel you can relate and communicate with well during the selling process. Selling your home is a large financial transaction and it can be an emotional roller coaster, so ensuring you have a great agent is essential

They also might be able to show you properties you may not otherwise find, if you get on their good side. However, a buying agent would be better placed if you need someone to fight your corner. 

Using an online estate agent is another option, which could help you save money. However, they may not have the specific area knowledge you can use to your advantage.

#6 – List your home for sale

Once you’ve found the right agent, it’s time to put your property on the market. Knowing how much your home is worth can be tough, but overpricing it will result in less interest from potential buyers. 

Sometimes, estate agents will go in with a high valuation to secure your business, so be aware of this when listing your home for sale. Do your own thorough research to determine the price. 

Ensure you work well with your estate agent here. If your property is on the market for too long, this could impact the sale price.

#7 – Find a buyer

The idea buyer will be proactive, organised and have a mortgage agreement in principle. A first-time buyer will be chain free, so this can put them in a more desirable position for you. An alternative would be selling your property to a cash buyer

Accepting an offer can be difficult, as you might be tempted to hold out and wait for a higher one.


  • The buyer’s position
  • How they’re financing their purchase
  • How prepared they are
  • How much interest they’ve shown in your home
  • How long their chain is

#8 – Start the hunt for your new home

It’s advisable not to start your own search until you’re under offer on your sale. Until this time, you’re not in an attractive position to the seller. 

This isn’t always the case but if you aren’t seen as an active buyer (because you’re not yet under offer), you may lose out to other buyers.

What if you have a ready buyer?

It’s perfectly reasonable to accept an offer on your own home from a hopeful buyer, while explaining you’ve not secured a home, but are doing everything possible to find one.

Issue your purchaser with a contract of sale and allow the conveyancing process to begin, but don’t exchange contracts until ready to do so on your own purchase. This means you’re not committed to selling until you’re committed to buying – ideally on the same day.

#9 – Make an offer

Once you’ve found a property you like, it’s recommended to get a property survey. This will flag any issues with the home and potentially save you money later down the line. Get a survey quote below.

Find a Local Surveyor

Getting a survey can also be a good haggling tool when it comes to negotiating a house price too.

#10 – Keep the chain moving

Property chains are notorious for delays, but you can do your best to ensure they don’t happen. Buyers and sellers alike should take responsibility to keep things moving. Some top tips:

  • Be open and communicative
  • Micromanage the sale
  • Ensure you know who’s doing what, and when
  • Have contact details for everyone in the chain
  • Work closely with your solicitor
Find a Solicitor

#11 – Set a completion date

If all goes to plan, a completion date will be set when contracts are exchanged. This date should work for everyone, as it’s when the buyer will pick up the keys to their new home. This will take a lot of back and forward correspondence with others in the chain. 

Communication will take place through your solicitor, so ensure they’re responsive and on the ball. It’s possible for a seller to maintain control over this timescale, but you should be prepared to compromise. 

#12 – Move home

You’ll need to make the necessary arrangements, for example redirecting your post and informing people of your change of address. Following a moving day checklist can be helpful here to ensure you don’t miss anything.

You should also find a removals company you can trust. We can connect you below.


Potential issues when you buy and sell a home

A lot of sellers look at prospective new homes before putting their own property up for sale. This can cause a few potential problems:

Unable to secure the purchase

You could find your perfect home but the seller’s agent is unable to recommend a ‘subject to sale’ offer. This could mean the property is sold to someone else who’s ready and able to proceed – possibly at a lower price. You’re potentially riding for a fall by exposing yourself to a property that you love with no realistic prospect of securing the purchase.

Weak negotiating position

If you secure your dream home, you’re then under pressure to swiftly agree a sale on your existing property in order to secure your new house. Acting quickly can leave you in a weak negotiating position on both transactions – this could mean you’re unable to achieve your property’s full value.

Is it the right time to buy?

If you’re unsure whether it’s the right time to buy or sell property, there’s no need to rush the process. Taking your time will ensure you make the best decision for you and your family. Here are a few key points to think about:

  • If you’re struggling to find the perfect home, consider renting before you buy
    • You can live in a furnished property and rent in a location that meets your needs 
    • You’ll be chain free
    • Renting can be an effective way to trial an area you might want to live in one day
    • Renting gives you more time to plan – and you’re not bound to any long-term contracts
    • You can ‘try before you buy’ and determine if the type of property you’re renting and the area is the type of home you’d like to purchase
  • The decision to sell your home should depend on your personal circumstances and whether the time is right for your requirements
  • Get a property report to help you get to know an area before you move
Get Your Property Report

Get a good solicitor

Finding a good conveyancer is hugely important when buying and selling; they’ll carry out essential legal work. We can connect you with a member of our approved panel, all who work on a ‘no transaction, no fee’ basis. Get a conveyancing quote below.

Find a Solicitor

Last Updated: August 2nd, 2023

Phil Spencer

Join Phil Spencer's 'My Move iQ'

Sign-up for FREE and access

FREE home moving toolkits

Exclusive offers and discounts

FREE tickets to the biggest property and home shows

My Move iQ Competitions

Unlock exclusive benefits

Browse more in this category:

Selling a house