Q: We’ve decided that we want to move but our friends are giving us differing advice… should we put our house up for sale before we start looking for something to buy, or is it best for us to find something we want first?
A: This is a very fluid topic. However, my answer to this would always be to put your house on the market first.
It obviously wouldn’t do any harm to look at prices and check that it’s possible to buy what you want with your expected budget. However, any offers you make would almost certainly be rejected until such point that you are ‘proceedable’ – that is, you are in a position to proceed with the purchase. And if you need to sell your house to raise the funds to buy, you’re not in that position until you have agreed a sale on yours.
A cash or first-time buyer for your home would put you in the strongest position to make an offer on something else because, assuming their finances are in place, they are proceedable, therefore putting you in the same position. You would also have strength as a buyer if your home was under offer to someone with a proceedable buyer for theirs.
Different agents and sellers have varying viewpoints - some won’t even entertain allowing viewings by buyers who aren’t able to proceed straight away, and at the other end of the scale, there are some out there who would accept an offer and be happy to wait until such time that their offeree had a buyer – probably though for a set amount of time, or until an acceptable offer was made by someone in a stronger position.
It also depends on the state of the market. In a buoyant market with greater demand than supply, there is a greater chance of a buyer being found in a shorter amount of time than in a market when supply is greater, so more sellers would be inclined to wait.
And individual circumstances are also an influencing factor - some sellers need to move as soon as possible and others are in no hurry.
Fact is, you can’t buy until you’ve sold, so find a buyer first and give yourselves maximum clout. You’d be sorely disappointed if you found your dream home and couldn’t buy it, and with an offer on the table, you’ll have a more accurate idea of your budget too.