How can I buy and sell a house at the same time?

Selling your home while trying to also buy another house can be complicated and confusing. Research from Ocean finance shows that over 60% of adults have lived in the same house for more than 15 years and one in ten have not moved for 31 years.

5th July, 2021

Updated 08/11/2023

Selling your home while trying to also buy another house can be complicated and confusing. Research from Ocean finance shows that over 60% of adults have lived in the same house for more than 15 years and one in ten have not moved for 31 years. With so many steps to navigate and so many different parties involved, it’s no wonder that people are unsure of the process. If you’re confused about the next steps when trying to buy and sell a house at the same time, look no further. We’ve put together this handy guide to guide you through the process. Read on for more information or use the menu below to navigate more easily.


Obtaining a property valuation

The first step involved is assessing your finances by obtaining a valuation for your property. There are free online tools that will give you a rough idea of the valuation like the Zoopla online valuation tool. Alternatively we can offer you a free no obligation valuation on your property. We will look into your property in more detail than the online tools and give you an accurate valuation. This will allow you to work out how much you have to play with. You will also need to decide how you plan on purchasing the next property you are buying, the options are:

  • Cash: If you are fortunate enough to have the funds available to purchase the property without a mortgage you can use your own funds, the proceeds from the sale of your property you are selling, or a combination of both to buy the new property. This will put you in a much better position than most other buyers meaning you can negotiate a better deal on the property and have more chance of having your offer accepted over other buyers. Some people looking to downsize will buy a property lower in value and release the cash back out from the sale of their house meaning you can make money from moving home.
  • Mortgage: Most buyers will require a mortgage in place to purchase the new property. If you have a mortgage on your current property this can be cleared off as part of the sale, and a new mortgage taken out on the property you are buying. There is also an option to transfer your current mortgage across to the new property. This is known as “porting” your mortgage. It’s worth bearing in mind you may have an early repayment charge on your mortgage if you are in a fixed term. Porting your mortgage can allow you to avoid having to pay this.


The costs of selling and buying

There are some important costs you should bear in mind when considering buying and selling a home at the same time.

The costs of selling your home

  • Agency costs:  estate agents typically charge either a fixed fee or a % commission on the sale price.
  • Legal fees:  you will need a conveyancing solicitor to act for you on the sale of your property, typically this costs between £500-£1000.
  • Mortgage early repayment charge: If you are in a fixed term mortgage you will most likely have an early repayment charge for your mortgage to pay, which is usually a % of how much you owe. You can use the moneysaving expert mortgage overpayment calculator to work out how much you will have to pay to clear your mortgage.

The costs of buying a new house

  • Stamp Duty: this is calculated based on the purchase price and if you own any other properties. Click here for a free online stamp duty calculator.
  • Conveyancing legal fees: you will need a solicitor to check out the property you are buying and check that legally there are no issues. They will also transfer the title into your name with the land registry and register the mortgage charge against your new property. There are also a number of other legal processes that need to be done when buying a house.
  • Purchase Price: you will need to consider the purchase price of the property you are buying. The property may be listed at a certain price, however if there is a high demand for that property, theres a chance it could go over the asking price. Equally, if the property has been on the market for a long time, you may be able to make a lower offer if you are in a strong position as a buyer.

Sell your house for cash to SmoothSale

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Getting a mortgage agreement in principle

The next step if you are buying with a mortgage is to find out how much you can borrow. You can do this by speaking to a mortgage provider or using a mortgage broker and applying for a mortgage agreement in principle. This is effectively you getting confirmation from the bank/mortgage provider how much you can borrow from them. It’s not specific to a property but will allow you to work out how much you can afford to spend on your next house.

Getting an offer on your property

The next step is to get an offer on your property. This will put you in the best position to buy a new home as it means that your offer will be taken seriously. Having your home under offer will make you a proceedable buyer and will avoid delays when trying to sell on. This doesn’t mean you will need to actually sign contracts and move out of the property straight away. The moving date will be arranged much further along in the process. There are a few options when selling your home to decide which way to do it:

  • Estate agent: if you decide to sell your property using an estate agent you will need to factor in the commission/fee they charge and the time it takes to sell the property. Typically selling using this method will take the longest, and many buyers for your property will be in the same position as you, having to sell their own home, apply for a mortgage etc. The risks of selling with an estate agent are that the buyer is not committed to purchase the property from you until right at the last minute, meaning there is a chance that your sale can fall through and chain breaks at the last minute, leaving you out of pocket and missing out on your dream home.
  • Auction: this is a faster method of selling your property however does not come without its risks. Typically auctions work by pricing a property very low with a guide price and generating lots of interest in the property. Then when the auction day comes lots of people bid and drive the price up. You can protect yourself from selling the property at too low a price by setting a reserve, however the reserve can only be set 10% over the guide price. This leaves sellers in a dilemma. If you set the guide at the appropriate level, it may leave you in a position where the reserve price is at a level that’s too low to work with your onward plans. If you set the guide too high you wont get enough interest to get lots of people bidding and drive the price up, then the property may not sell and this may then make it more difficult to sell in the future, as there will be an online history of the property going to auction and not selling. Once the hammer goes down in an auction, the buyer is committed to purchasing your property or they will lose their deposit, this does however mean you will have a deadline you need to meet to move out the property, which can mean you end up having to move into rented or temporary accommodation until your new property is ready.
  • Cash house buyer: Using a service like our cash house buyer service will allow you to sell your property quickly and easily without the hassle and risks associated with selling through the other methods. This route won’t allow you to achieve the maximum amount possible for your property, but does take the stress out of selling your house. Selling to SmoothSale means you choose the completion date, if you need to change it at any point you can do, and the service is completely free. We cover all of the costs.

Once you have got an offer on your property, often referred to as being Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC), you will need to find a solicitor to act for you on the sale of the property. Sometimes the agent helping you sell your property will be able to recommend one.

Getting your offer accepted

So, you have a mortgage agreed in principle, you have an offer on your property and you’ve found your dream purchase. Once you have viewed your new property you can call the estate agent and put an offer forward. The estate agent will normally ask you some questions about your position to see if you are a proceedable buyer. They may also ask for some proof of funds in the form of:

  • Bank statement showing your deposit
  • Mortgage agreed in principle letter
  • The agent may also do a chain check – this is where they call whoever is dealing with the sale of your property, to confirm it is sold and what position the buyer is in.


Offer accepted

Congratulations, your offer gets accepted! Now we can start the ball rolling to get you in your new home. You will need to instruct your conveyancing solicitor who will act for you on the purchase of your new property, this does not have to be the same as the solicitor acting for the sale of your property. You will also need to tell your mortgage provider that has accepted you about your purchase. The estate agent selling the property to you will issue a document called a memorandum of sale which essentially links together all the information about the purchase with your solicitor, and the solicitor acting for the vendor of the property you are buying.

Mortgage offer

Even though you have a mortgage agreed in principle, the lender will still want to carry out their checks on the specific property you are looking to buy. This is usually in the form of a valuation. The mortgage company will arrange a surveyor to attend the property you are buying in order to carry out a survey/valuation. They will assess the overall condition of the property and confirm a valuation. This valuation will be sent back to the mortgage lender who will carry out their underwriting checks to confirm if they are prepared to lend the amount you have requested to borrow. If they feel the property is overpriced they can down-value the property, which will result in you not being able to borrow enough money and the sale falling through.

Searches/Legal checks

Whilst your mortgage lender is arranging the finance for the property, your solicitor will need to begin running the checks to make sure legally there are no issues with the purchase as well as running checks on you as a buyer known as an AML (anti-money laundering) or KYC (know your client). They will order searches on the property from local authorities and other sources. These are to find out any information about the property and surrounding area, for example development plans that may affect your home in the future. Once they have this information they will carry out a “report on title”, this is where they will report back to you any issues or concerns they have with the property. The solicitor will usually raise some enquiries with the seller’s solicitor.

Exchange of contracts

Now a stage has been reached that you are ready to exchange on your purchase, and your buyer has also carried out all the checks on your property so is also ready to exchange. All of the solicitors will communicate to agree on the exchange of contracts. This all has to happen at the same time to create a complete chain. As you can imagine this can be extremely difficult and can often take weeks to agree between all the parties involved.
At this point you will also agree on a date for completion on the property. Usually there is only a small window of time between exchange and completion (3-5 days) as this is the time it takes the mortgage company to draw down the funds.

Arranging Removals

Now you have a date set for moving you will need to quickly arrange for removals so you can get into the property on the completion date.

Completion Date

Finally the big day arrives. Usually your removal company will arrive that morning to start loading the van up to move your stuff into your new home. This can be an extremely stressful day as most sellers won’t want to hand over the keys until the money has changed hands via the solicitors. This isn’t always guaranteed to happen in the morning so homeowners can sometimes be left with removal vans waiting outside their house until late in the evening with the costs racking up.

As you can see the process of buying a house at the same time selling your house can be very difficult and logistically hard to organise. It’s also worth bearing in mind the buyer of your property can be going through this whole process as well if you are not selling to a first time buyer and can show how easy it is for chains to fall through and break.

If you are looking for a much more stress free way of being able to sell your home quickly, get in touch with one of our property specialists, not only can we offer you a quick guaranteed sale of the property, we can help you with the purchase of your property, arranging removals and finding the best solicitor! You can have your property sold within 7 days, so you can spend your valuable time focusing on your new property and onward plans. Get a cash offer today! Alternatively, get in contact on 0800 368 8952.


How can I streamline the buying and selling process?

Crafting a well-thought-out plan and synchronising transactions is key. Ensure your financials are in order and explore financing options for a smoother transition.

Is it possible to sell first and then buy?

While it’s feasible, synchronising both processes minimises the risk of being without a home. Explore contingency plans to navigate potential challenges.

What role does market analysis play in setting the asking price?

Market analysis guides you in pricing your property competitively, attracting buyers while maximizing your returns.

How do I enhance curb appeal without breaking the bank?

Simple improvements like landscaping, a fresh coat of paint, and decluttering can significantly enhance your property’s curb appeal on a budget.

Can I negotiate a better deal without compromising the sale?

Master the art of negotiation by understanding both parties’ needs, creating a win-win scenario that ensures a successful and satisfying sale.

How do contingency plans mitigate risks in the buying and selling process?

Contingency plans act as safety nets, addressing unforeseen challenges and ensuring a smooth transition between properties.

Sell your house for cash to SmoothSale

Simply enter your details below to get a no-obligation cash offer for your house.


Sell your house for cash to SmoothSale

Simply enter your details below to get a no-obligation cash offer for your house.


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