Buying & selling your house is one of the most stressful things you will do. I am not denying that it is also extremely fun and exciting, but all the important and ‘boring’ stuff is what makes it stressful. Since we moved last spring, I thought I should share all my top tips on ‘buying a house and selling your old one’.
Us deciding to buy a new house was a bit of a spur of a moment kind of thing. My husband works for a house builder & we decided to get built in wardrobes that they do, so we visited their show home. I just fell in love with it. We didn’t really stop talking about it and low & behold, 2 months later we had our old house on the market. For us it took about 9 months to sell & buy our new house. This included one sale that fell through and minor delays with Covid-19.
Ok, so let’s dive in to what you can expect & what you should do when buying & selling at the same time.
1 – You can’t buy your new house until your old one has been sold
As frustrating as this may be, this is the first and most important thing you need to know. You can look around & do viewings, but you won’t be able to buy, until your house has been sold. We were buying a new build, so we got details on all the timelines when we can expect our house type we wanted to be ready. This was very useful as our estate agent could inform people viewing our house on the timelines we were on.
2 – Get your current house valued
If part of your deposit towards your new house will be from the equity of selling your current house, you really need to get it valued by an estate agent. Always get at least 2 estate agents to give you an estimate. You can always check recent sales in your area on similar houses, which will give you a rough guide. But you want to make sure that your guesstimate doesn’t turn out to be miles off what you will be able to sell your house for. As this will have a knock-on effect on your mortgage offer.
3 – Mortgage in principle
This follows the second point- once you have your current house valuation, make an appointment with your mortgage provider. You can use mortgage brokers if that’s what you prefer. (a little secret- we used mortgage broker when we were 1st time buyers and we didn’t find them particularly good, so we always go direct to our bank). Make sure you take with you your last 3 months worth of payslips and a list of your monthly expenses. You will need to have a monthly allowance for birthdays, Christmases, holidays, pet care, car running costs etc. This is only so your mortgage provider can asses what you will be able to afford and continue to live comfortably. Have your employer details to hand as well.
4 – When shopping – stick to the budget
As you already have a house you are selling, you’ll know this one, but budget is everything. Don’t even look for houses that are outside your budget. Have your ideal price range in mind & then your stretched one in mind. But always negotiate & try to get the best deal you can. Buying a house is a super exciting time, so a lot of people forget about what they can & can’t afford. It is very-very important to stick to your budget.
5 – When selling – stick to the budget
Same as when buying, you need to have your budget in mind. Obviously you always want to sell at your asking price, but you need to have the lowest offer you will be willing to accept- in mind as well. If you are selling as a couple, make sure both of you agree on this. If you have done any extra work to your house recently, have existing warranties, anything you are willing to leave in or sell with the house – let your estate agent know. These are always nice extras to offer people viewing your house, might just be the thing that helps you sell your house.
6 – Stage your home for photos & viewings
If someone tells you that first impression doesn’t count- they’re lying, they do count. Especially when you are trying to sell your house. I am not suggesting that you have a messy house, but staging it like a show home will just make it pop. We didn’t have a messy home, but before every viewing we would tidy things up, clean the floors, especially because of the dog hair from Mr Cooper. Here are the main things we did for staging our home for official estate agent photos and each viewing:
- Cut the grass & made sure all dead blooms are cut off
- Dust all surfaces
- Tidy every room up
- Put all your washing & washing up away
- Clean the floors
- Light candles/ have plug in air refreshers to make your home feel welcoming
- Have magazines displayed creatively
- Fresh flowers
- Remove all valuables from line of sight, as we heard a few stories from other people of jewellery going missing during viewings
7 – Choose the right estate agent
This probably is no brainer, but ask around & see if anyone recommends a good estate agent. When they come around to give you the estimate make sure to ask all the questions, check their commission, how they like to work. Also check how big of a team they have, as the bigger the team, the less likelihood of you speaking to the same person or getting a more personal service. We went with Polkadot & they were amazing. They were recommended by our friends as well.
8 – Solicitors – use the same for your sale & purchase
Using the same solicitor for your sale and purchase, will speed things up massively. Plus it will save you time chasing 2 people.
9 – Chase, chase, chase
It doesn’t really matter how long your chain is- just chase. Chase weekly. If you are waiting for an answer, chase every day. Chase estate agents and your solicitors. Literally- chase them for an answer, an update, for information. Me- I’m not a patient person, so chasing comes quite naturally for me. I needed updates weekly from everyone, as I like to know where we stand at every given moment,
10 – Speedy document return
After you fill in the documents that are requested from you- return them quickly. Wether it’s your solicitors or bank, just do it as soon as possible. It will speed things up and then the ball is in the other persons court.
11 – Gather your warranties & certificates
You will need to note down all warranties you have on your house, details of boiler, your utility providers. Any extras you might have done to improve your house- if you have details or paperwork, you’ll have to add those on.
12 – Removal company
When we were buying our first house, we decided to do the move ourselves with a van. James’ dad did help us as my back got injured. But straight after we moved in I said- next time we move, I’m not lifting anything, we are getting a removal company in. So, that is exactly what we did. We went with Reeds Removals and they were really good. They had someone come around before hand to check what furniture we had and how many boxes we would need to give us an accurate quote.
As we were moving during the global pandemic- the guys that were doing it on the day were amazing. They were quick loading and unloading and they packed up some loose things we had as we ran out of boxes. They were really good with social distancing- we stayed downstairs while they were loading up all of upstairs and vice versa. I absolutely would recommend using a removal company, as it will take big chunk of the stress out of your moving day.
I really do hope that the above top tips have helped you get some idea and guidance on your home journey. As if buying a house wasn’t stressful enough, adding another extra step of selling your old house- just makes it that bit more complicated.