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Help! I’ve sold my house but can’t find a new one…

Brexit uncertainty continues to loom and you wonder if your house will ever sell. Then you get a buyer, they offer asking price and in no time at all you've sold and the completion date is fast approaching. Trouble is you haven't found a house to move to. Don't panic - there are options...

April 18, 2019

I’ve sold my house but can’t find a new one. What are my options?

First of all, congratulations! You’ve sold your home and secured asking price against a backdrop of Brexit uncertainty.

In doing so you have avoided one of the biggest stress factors of moving home – buying and selling at the same time. Moving house is more stressful than getting a divorce, according to new research by Yopa. The online estate agent found that moving home took the top spot as the most stressful thing you can do in your lifetime. And one of the major factors in that stress is completing on both a house sale and a purchase at the same time. By selling your house first you have avoided this.

Advantages of selling before you buy

In securing your sale now, even though you haven’t found a new place to live, you have also:

  • Locked in a good price. If house prices start to fall (anything can happen with Brexit!) you can feel smug knowing you got asking price. No mean feet at this time when sellers are being pushed for discounts.
  • Secured a strong buying position. You’re in a great position now when it comes to buy. You are chain-free which is attractive to sellers.
  • Decreased the chance of gazumping. You are chain-free so can move quickly. A seller is less likely to ditch you in favour of another buyer who could be in a chain.
  • Secured a clear budget. Having secured a buyer for your home you know exactly what you are going to make from the sale. This means you can start shopping for a new home knowing exactly what you can afford.

But where will I live?

Yes good point. We can feel the panic rising, but this doesn’t mean you are heading for homelessness.

You can proceed with your sale and move into rental accommodation while you search for your dream home. There are disadvantages to this most obviously paying rent for a time can work out quite expensive. Not to mention the hassle of moving, especially if you have a family in tow, and potentially putting your items into storage. One way around an expensive rental bill is to see if you can move in with family for a short period while you look for a new home.

Another option is to see if your buyers are prepared to have a lengthy time period between exchange and completion. You could delay completion in order to give you time to find a new home. Just be aware that if your buyers are using a mortgage they will have a limit on how long their mortgage offer is valid for which could affect how long they can wait.

Get house hunting

While looking for an affordable local short term let, also make finding a home your main focus. Make sure you:

  • Create a property alert for what you are looking for on Zoopla, Rightmove and OnTheMarket. But don’t rely on alerts and check what’s available every day.
  • Visit all the local estate agents in the area you are buying. Explain your situation and have a heart to heart. They may be able to alert you to properties that are coming to market in the next few days and weeks before they hit the property portal websites. They’ll be happy to help because they will be able to tell their clients they already have potential buyers for them.
  • Have an essential criteria list so you and the agent know exactly what you’re looking for. If you have features you’re willing to compromise on then finding a new home will be easier.
  • Only look at houses that meet your criteria. We know you’re worried but you’ll soon tire of viewing houses that fundamentally won’t work because they are too far from work or are too expensive. Stay focussed.
  • Make sure you have your mortgage agreement in principle and are ready to move on finances as soon as you find the perfect home.

Check out how much you can afford with our online calculators and speak to a fee-free mortgage broker to help you find and apply for a mortgage


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