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Should I sell my home before I buy?

Most people sell their current home at the same time as buying a new one, forming a property chain. Selling before you buy has risks, but it can also have great advantages

should I buy the freehold of my house>

Advantages of selling before you buy

  • It puts you in a stronger position when buying. The seller you want to buy from would almost certainly prefer a buyer who has the cash in the bank (and/or a pre-approved mortgage) rather than enter a chain, where their sale is dependent upon you finding someone to buy your house
  • You are less likely to be gazumped. If you put in a decent offer the buyer is unlikely to take another if it means entering a property chain
  • You remain in control of the sale of your own house – because you won’t need to make a quick sale, you will not be pressurised into selling cheaply
  • Those with time on their side are usually in the strongest negotiating position
  • You may get a better price if you find a seller who is keen to move quickly
  • You will know exactly how much you can spend because you’ll have the money from your sale in the bank – buying your new home won’t be dependent on you achieving the expected price on your existing one
  • If the economy is in a state of flux and it looks likely house prices will fall, then houses get more affordable as you wait


  • If you sell first, expecting to be able to buy quickly after, you may be disappointed and instead have to rent for a time, which can prove very costly
  • If prices are rising fast, by the time you’ve sold your house and sorted out somewhere to rent, a new house will be much less affordable. For example, if you rent for a year, and prices rise by 10% in that year, then you will only be able to afford 10% less

Renting can be stressful, but being in a chain, being gazumped, or feeling you’ve undersold can be worse.


Find and Compare Local Estate Agents

This form will take you to www.estateagent4me.co.uk for the results
  • Consider whether online estate agents are an option for you and compare ratings and packages from online estate agents
  • Keep an eye on the property market while you are selling just in case that perfect house comes along. You’ve got time so you might as well use it
  • Develop relationships with a number of estate agents before you sell, so that you get in there first with all good properties that come up for sale
  • Try and slow down the selling process, by agreeing a longish period between agreeing an offer and exchanging, and between exchanging and completion. This might give you enough time to buy a new place in the meanwhile

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  1. Hello,

    If you first home is mortgage free and you want to buy a second home as a main residence, do you still need to pay the extra Stamp duty rates?
    Thank you

    Comment by Hina — June 22, 2020 @ 9:43 am

  2. Hello Anthony, if you’re asking about Stamp Duty Land Tax, it’s only a consideration when buying, so if you’re selling your property and not buying another you won’t have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax.

    Comment by HomeOwners Alliance — September 16, 2019 @ 10:44 am

  3. Are there any tax implications of a gap between selling and buying – if selling main residence and no second property involved? Assuming not?

    Comment by Anthony Watts — September 16, 2019 @ 8:32 am

  4. excellent opinion… when we buy a house then selling before buying is good for us because it puts us strong financial position. as you have adequate cash with you this will help you to buy a better house than before. i loved this article and i will surely share this article with others.

    Comment by wishang — January 2, 2019 @ 7:11 am

  5. Hello Maria, thanks for your questions. If you were to become a member, we’d be happy to look into this for you as we can provide you with access to our Home Helpline where you can speak to someone in more detail https://hoa.org.uk/homeowners-alliance-membership/

    You might also want to look at our information on mortgages here https://hoa.org.uk/services/mortgage-service-from-london-country/

    Comment by Chandni Sahni — December 3, 2018 @ 10:58 am

  6. What are the taxes I should consider if I want to buy a property out of my area now before I put my house on the market? Would you advise someone with money [small amount of cash + mortgage] to buy a property first then slowly move into that property while the main property is being cleared up in preparation for putting it on the market to sell? Is that a good idea? Can I get a short term mortgage?

    Comment by maria allen — December 1, 2018 @ 11:26 am


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