Buying and Selling a House the Complete UK 2024 Guide
Looking at how the process of buying and selling a house works and how we can help you sell your home fast...
It's no secret that buying and selling a house can be stressful. When you consider all of the plates that are spinning during the two different processes, there is no wonder why homeowners can be left feeling overwhelmed and unsure, let alone when they are attempting to buy and sell a property at the same time.
In this blog post, we will be looking at how the process of buying and selling a house works, the cost of buying and selling a house, and how we can help you sell your home fast and for free.
Looking for a quick answer? Check out our quick nav below!
What is the average timeline when selling and buying a house?
Exactly how long it will take you to sell your home will depend upon your property size, location, condition, and the property market where you are located. However, as a rule of thumb, the average home seller in the UK can expect the timeline for buying and selling a home to take approximately six months.
Below is the average timeline you can expect based on data from ViewMyChain.com:
|Securing a mortgage in principle
|Around 24 hours
|New home listing on the market to an offer being accepted
|Around 10 weeks
|Acceptance of an offer to property searches being ordered
|Arranging the mortgage
|Between 3-6 weeks
|Searches being ordered to the exchange of contracts
|Exchange of contracts to completion
|Same day to 4 weeks
|Around 6 months
How do you start buying and selling a house?
Everyone starts the house selling and buying journey differently, however, the majority of people will start by getting their home valuated. This is because it gives you a rough idea of your property's value and will allow you to base your budget for your next home on this. By being aware roughly how much your property is worth, you are able to make yourself a more motivated buyer, and you are able to give yourself the best chance of a successful sale.
Do I need my property valued when selling a house before buying a new one?
You don't necessarily have to have your property valuated when selling a house before you purchase a new one, however, it is advised that you do. In order to set yourself off on the best foot with your buy and sell a house journey, you should take the time to get your current property valuated, so you have an idea of your budget when buying your next home.
Getting a price valuation for your house before selling doesn't need to be difficult. There are numerous online house valuation tools that can give you a rough idea of your property's worth. Alternatively, local estate agents will often be willing to come round and price up your property, usually for free!
If you are a first time buyer you will have no property to value so you will not need a price valuation before a property purchase, and if you are a cash buyer then chances are you will not be selling, only purchasing.
Is buying and selling a house profitable?
Buying and selling a house can be profitable, but it depends upon your personal circumstances. If you are a homeowner looking to purchase your next property, it has the potential to be profitable but not straight away. A property is the most expensive asset most people own, and it can increase in value over time given the market conditions are correct. Over the last few years, house prices have been rising steadily, meaning anyone who has purchased a house stands to make a profit when they sell.
However, this works both ways, and should prices start to drop, then homeowners may find they do not make as much of a profit as they were hoping or in very rare cases can find that they sell for less than they bought.
If you are a property investor interested in flipping and selling houses or renting out properties to tenants, then you may find that buying and selling can be quite profitable, given the property's condition, location, and market value.
Should I use the same solicitor for buying and selling a property?
When it comes to buy and sell property process, you are allowed to use the same conveyancer for both sale and purchase. Some people believe that this can speed up the process as documents and letters will have far fewer distances to travel.
What are the stages of buying and selling a home?
Buying and selling a home at the same time can be done, but in order to get the best value for money and bypass as much stress as possible it is a good idea to get familiar with the steps involved. Below, we take a brief overview of the steps involved when it comes to buying and selling at the same time:
- 1. Value your property
- 2. Arrange your budget
- 3. Meet with your mortgage broker
- 4. Arrange an EPC
- 5. Arrange documents
- 6. Prepare your property
- 7. Choose your estate agent
- 8. Select a conveyancer
- 9. Offers
- 10. Begin your house search
- 11. Make an offer
- 12. Proceed with your mortgage application
- 13. Get in touch with your solicitor
- 14. Proceed with your survey
- 15. Communicate with the chain
- 16. Involve your estate agent
- 17. Set a date
- 18. Moving day
- 19. Completion day
Pros and cons of buying and selling at the same time
As with any buying or selling process, there are both pros and cons to buying and selling a home at the same time. Below we take a closer look at some of the pros and cons involved with the process:
No bridging loan - One of the main advantages of buying and selling at the same time is that you will save on interest on a bridging loan.
Market conditions - As you will be buying and selling at the same time, it means you benefit from maintaining market momentum as you get to both purchase and sell in the same market conditions. This can be an excellent advantage should prices be rising.
Council tax - Buying and selling at the same time also means that you will save on paying council tax twice over as you will not be left owning two properties for any period of time.
Saves moving hassle - By buying and selling at the same time, you will also be bypassing a lot of moving hassle. Rather than selling first, moving into rented accommodation or with family friends, buying, then moving again, you will simply sell, buy, and move.
Gazumping - When it comes to purchasing a property, you are almost always at risk of being gazumped. This is not a con that is unique to buying and selling at the same time. Gazumping occurs when a seller accepts a higher offer from another potential buyer after already accepting yours.
Issues with the survey - Should any of the houses involved in the buying or selling chains have issues uncovered in surveys it can jeporodise your sale, causing delays and potentially even collapse.
Mortgage issues - Should your mortgage application be delayed or even rejected, then you can expect delays to the process and potentially even end the chain.
Seller or buyer pulling out - Should your seller or buyer pull out of the sale or purchase, then you will need to find a new one. This can add delays to the sale/purchase, however, it is a fairly common occurrence.
Chain issues - Should there be a delay or breakdown further along in the chain, then you may find your own sale or purchase suffers as a result.
How do you buy and sell a house at the same time?
Understanding the full process involved with buying and selling a home is vital to getting the most out of the experience. Below we take a deep dive into the buyer and selling a house 2024 process, looking at what it involves, what you can expect, and our top tips for dealing with it:
1. Value your property
The first step you will need to take when it comes to the process of buying and selling a house is to get your current property valuated. It is an integral part of the process as it will let you know roughly how much your property is worth. There are plenty of free tools online which can give you an almost instant valuation from only your address and the number of bedrooms within the property.
For a more in-depth valuation, you can also invite some local estate agents round to your property. Exactly how many you invite is down to you, though it is often recommended to invite at least three. This way you can get a rough valuation from three different sources and combine them to gain the median value of your property. Estate agents will often provide you with a valuation for free in the hopes of winning business and it is a chance for the agent to use their local knowledge as well as any features or improvements your property may have to give an accurate figure.
It is worth bearing in mind that some estate agents may overinflate the value of your home in the hopes of winning your custom, so by getting three different valuations you are able to offset this risk and get an overall more accurate valuation.
2. Arrange your budget
The next step in the selling and buying process is to work out your finances and budgets. By this, we mean that you will need to work out how much equity is in your property and how much you are looking to spend on your next property. The cost of buying and selling a house can sneak up on homeowners, so it is important to lay out all of your finances and carefully budget exactly what you will be spending it on.
Costs to be wary of...
Stamp duty is one of the costs that you will need to consider when you are buying or selling a property at the same time. Unless you are a cash buyer, you will need to absorb this cost into your mortgage.
You will also need to be wary about the estate agent and conveyancing fees that you will need to pay for the selling and conveyancing of your new property and your current home.
You will then need to factor in the property chain. When the time comes for you to exchange contracts on the property that you wish to buy, you will need to have your deposit ready. Typically, you will exchange your contracts on the same day that your buyer exchanges theirs so that you can use the deposit they pay you to pay yours.
But, if your new house is more expensive than your current home, then you will be required to pay a bigger deposit. If you find yourself in this situation, then you will need to discuss it with your solicitor. They may be able to negotiate with your seller's solicitor that a small deposit will be sufficient, however, they may not agree to this and you will need to find the extra cash yourself.
3. Meet with your mortgage broker
If you are planning on selling and buying a house at the same time, then a mortgage broker may be an invaluable part of the process. Whether you are planning to port your mortgage or remortgage your property, they will be able to guide you through the process. It can even be worth talking to a mortgage broker as they may be able to help you find a better new mortgage deal even if you can port. However, you should also remember that if you decide to end your mortgage early, you may have to deal with an early repayment charge.
4. Arrange an EPC
An important element when it comes to selling your property is to ensure you have a valid and up-to-date EPC. An EPC ( also referred to as an Electrical Performance Certificate), is a way of ranking your property's energy efficiency on a scale from A to G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least.
In order for a property to be put on the market, an EPC must be commissioned and be readily available to show any prospective buyers. If you have bought your property within the last 10 years, then you may already be in possession of a valid EPC. They are valid for 10 years, but if you do not have one then you will need to commission a new one.
Whilst it is easier to commission a new EPC with your estate agent, this is often a lot more costlier. You can often save money by arranging an EPC for yourself or by negotiating with your estate agent.
5. Arrange documents
In order to help speed the buying and selling process along as much as you possibly can, you should be sure to have all of your documents ready and waiting.
An example of this may be ensuring that you have a valid form ID ready, as when you apply for a mortgage one of the first documents you will be asked to provide is proof of address. If you are looking to sell your house, you will need to ensure that you have all of your guarantees ready to provide to the buyer.
Documents for selling:
Guarantees - If you have new appliances such as a new boiler, electrical appliances, or oven, then you will need to provide these to the new owner.
Records of service for your boiler.
Building control certificates - If your home has had any extensions or conversion work done to it, then you will need to provide the correct certification
FENSA certificate - If you have had any new double glazing fitted whilst you owned the property, then you will be required to provide FENSA certification for it.
Building work guarantees
Documents for buying:
Copy of the lease (if you own a leasehold property)
Management pack (if you own a leasehold property)
Report on title (if you own a leasehold property)
Fittings and contents form
Warranties (for new builds)
Property information form
Stamp duty receipt
6. Prepare your property
When it comes to putting your house on the market, we all have a shared goal - to get the highest price possible for your property. In order to achieve this, it is vital that you take the time to properly prepare your home for sale. Some ways that you can prepare your home for estate agent photographs and viewings are by trying out some of the following:
The first (and most important) step you can to ensure that your home is spotless and ready for whatever the selling process brings is by ensuring you perform a deep clean throughout the whole home. We know that it is not the most exciting or glamorous task in the world, however, it works wonders for your home. Having a home that is clean and tidy can not only work wonders for your property valuation but it can also help you to sell your home quicker. Buyers are looking for a property that looks desirable, not one that looks as though a tornado has just been through the living room. So it is up to you to ensure that no sofa cushion is unturned and no surface is left unpolished.
Depending on the time and money you wish to spend deep cleaning your home, you may wish to bring in a professional cleaner.
The next step you can take to prepare your home for sale is to de-clutter. This one goes hand in hand with deep cleaning your property and means anything that you do not plan to take with you in the move gets thrown in the bin, and anything you plan on taking is stored away neatly or put into storage. This helps bring a sense of order to your property and keeps it looking its best throughout the number of viewings you will have take place.
A great advantage to decluttering your home is that it can help make the moving period easier. By already throwing away everything you no longer need, you will already have everything you need to pack. This will not only save time but may also save you money by avoiding transporting items that you will only throw away once you arrive in your next home.
When it comes to storing away your items, cupboards and storage spaces should be roughly 75% full.
Whilst it may sound scary, neutralising your home is an important step in making sure that your home sells quickly and for a good price. In order to neutralise your home, you simply need to go through each room and remove any personal items. This gives the home the feeling of being a blank canvas and helps potential buyers visualise themselves living in the home.
Some items that can easily be forgotten and left out in viewings include:
Trophies and certificates
When neutralising your home, it is always worth keeping in mind the reason why showhomes sell so well is that they allow people to truly imagine what life could be like in the property.
Make any repairs
Although it may seem obvious, an aspect of preparing your home for viewings that you cannot afford to overlook is the repairs. At this point in the process of selling your home, you can go through your home and make note of and repair any of the pesky damages or unfinished DIY projects you may have. A well-cared-for and put-together home is a loved home, and prospective buyers will be able to pick up on this. No one wants to purchase a house that is full of repairs that will need to be undertaken.
If you wish to sell your current home for the best price, you will need to dust off your toolbox and get to work, as buyers will reduce their asking price each time they come across a problem that needs fixing. This means any loose tiles, cracked walls, leaky taps, and mould need to go!
Fresh fresh fresh
If there's one thing you can take away about property viewings, it's that first impressions matter. Prospective buyers will be put off properties that look tired and dull, but thankfully there are ways to avoid your home falling into this category. A fresh coat of paint on any tired-looking walls or front doors can work wonders for your home.
Another way you can help keep your property feeling fresh and bright is by taking a critical look through the property going room by room and removing any furniture that makes your rooms look small and cramped. Keeping your rooms looking large and open can help buyers feel as though they are getting good value for money.
An area of freshening up your home you may not have considered is smells! Whilst fresh smells such as air fresheners, scented candles, and diffusers can all create pleasant aromas that will have buyers lining up for viewings, there are other smells that are less pleasant that can turn buyers off. Scents and smells to watch out for can include:
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to mitigate the risks of exposing buyers to this. Before you bring buyers round for property viewings, be sure to empty the bins and take care of any cooking smells to ensure your home is smelling fresh. Investing in a few diffusers or candles can also work wonders for neutralising any odors.
If you are looking to sell your house fast, then boosting your kerb appeal is a great way to go about doing so. As we have already mentioned, first impressions matter. This means it's time to break out the gardening tools and get to work. Homeowners Alliance revealed in a survey that 68% of potential buyers consider kerb appeal to be an important factor when purchasing a property.
But don't worry, this doesn't mean you need to go full gardeners world. It just means you will need to do small tasks to bring your garden to life. Simply mowing the lawn, repainting any tired fences, planting new plants and flowers, and cleaning the patio can make all the difference.
7. Choose your estate agent
Now that you have prepared your property for sale, it will be time to find your estate agent and put your home onto the open market. You should shop around for estate agents, being sure to do your due diligence. This means checking reviews across a variety of platforms, checking their average sale time, and how often they achieve the sale price they set out to.
Different types of buyers
When it comes to choosing an estate agent to sell with, you need to be aware that they will be judging you as a seller. Below, are the categories that you can be placed in as a seller:
Nothing To Sell
If you are looking at buying and selling a property at the same time, then you will not fall into this box. This is for those who have sold their current home and are now living in rental accommodation, or they are first-time buyers. This type of buyer knows their budget and is not part of a chain, so are seen as the number one buyer by estate agents.
If you are in the process of house selling, then you will be classed as a motivated buyer and will also know what your budget will be. Whilst sales can still fall through during this period, a buyer who is under offer is still a great position to be in.
Property to sell on market
If you want to buy but your property is still on the market, then you may not be in the best position. Your estate agent will probably try to judge where in the house selling process you are at by asking you the following questions:
How long have you been on the market? The less time spent the better.
How hot or cold is the local property market? If it's hot then you're in the clear, however, if it is cold then you may struggle to sell.
Is your selling price realistic? If it is an unrealistic price then you will have to consider lowering it.
Property to sell
You will be in this position if you have a property to sell but it is not yet on the market. This is typically viewed as the weakest position for a buyer to be in but don't lose hope. However, you may find that sellers reject your offer, as you will not have an idea of the true buying budget at this stage.
8. Select a conveyancer
Whilst it may seem early on in the process, now is the ideal time to start looking for your conveyancing solicitor. By already knowing who you will go with, you will be ready to start the conveyancing process as soon as you accept an offer. When choosing your conveyancing solicitor, you should undertake a similar level of due diligence as you do when choosing an estate agent. This once again means you should be shopping around for quotes, looking at different reviews across a variety of platforms, and even asking other people you know who have bought or sold a house recently who they used.
Now that your home is being advertised on the open market, and you have chosen your conveyancing solicitor, it is time to wait for the offers. Exactly how long it will take for you to sell will depend upon a variety of factors, such as the size, condition, and location of your property as well as general market conditions. Typically it takes an average of 10 weeks for a property to go from being on the market to having an offer accepted, however, this will change depending on your own personal circumstances.
You may find that you receive multiple offers for your property. If this is the case you should take your time to consider the offers carefully before making a decision. Whilst price is an important factor, be sure to also take into consideration other aspects, such as your buyer's personal circumstances. You need to consider whether they are a motivated buyer if they are part of a chain, and whether they have already secured their mortgage in principle amongst other factors.
10. Begin your house search
Now comes the truly exciting part! It's time to begin the house hunt and start looking for your new property. If you are in a seller's market, then you will need to have your wits about you. You will have to act quickly once you find a property you like and prepare to go to sealed bids if necessary.
A good place to start is by looking on property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. It is always wise to check first thing on a morning to get a good idea of the properties available.
11. Make an offer
Once you have found a property you believe could be your next home, you will need to take another look at your finances. You need to ensure that the property is within your current budget, and whether the property needs any extra work done to it, and if so what would these costs be?
If your property is currently under offer, then this puts you in a stronger position for negotiation than it would if you were still looking for a buyer. You may also wish to consider taking out Home Buyers Protection Insurance at this stage of the process. Home Buyers Protection Insurance will protect you in the event that the sale falls through. The majority of costs involved with a sale will fall on the buyer, such as conveyancing, mortgage arrangement fees, and building surveys. If the sale should fall through you are offered something in the way of security.
12. Proceed with your mortgage application
Congratulations! Your offer has been accepted! Whilst this is an exciting milestone, there is still plenty of work to be done. Once you have had an offer accepted, it is time to get in touch with your mortgage broker and ask them to proceed with your full mortgage application.
13. Get in touch with your solicitor
Now is also the stage when you should get in touch with your conveyancing solicitor in order to start the conveyancing process. The conveyancing process is one of the most important parts of the buying and selling a home at the same time process. If you have bought and sold a house before then you will be aware that the conveyancing process is often one of the longest and most drawn out parts. When you are purchasing a property, it will be down to your conveyancing solicitor to conduct local searches before any contracts can be exchanged.
More often than not, this process will run smoothly, however, if you are unhappy with a lack of communication or the speed of the process, then you should reach out to your solicitor in order to make them aware.
You may also wish to get your solicitor check:
Any potential boundary issues
Any relevant certificates relating to the installation of windows, doors, etc
Whether the building has undergone any work that requires certification
14. Proceed with your survey
The next step in the stage is to have a mortgage valuation performed by your surveyor in order to ensure your property is good enough for your mortgage lender to lend against. This is not a survey that you will need to worry about as it is mostly superficial and is unlikely to be seen by either you or your surveyor. If you wish to know more about the condition of your property, then it will be down to you to arrange a survey.
A survey is a great way to get an overall idea about the condition of your property and alert yourself to any issues within the property that may rear their head at a later date. There is a broad range of surveys available that vary in both thoroughness and cost. While you legally do not need to do a survey on a property you are purchasing, it is always recommended that you do so in order to give yourself the most information about your new home.
Should you receive a survey with poor results, then you may wish to use this as an opportunity to renegotiate the price or you can ask the seller to fix the issue before the completion date or you may wish to pull out of the process altogether.
15. Communicate with the chain
Something that you will need to maintain throughout the buy and sell a house process is communication. Whenever you receive any documents or paperwork, you should read and sign it as soon as possible and return it quickly. Documents being scanned through a computer and uploaded online is becoming increasingly common practice with solicitors across the country. This way people can log into an account online and sign it without having to post the documents back. This can help to speed through the process and is worth looking into.
If you are part of a property chain, then you may find that communication will be your best friend. It is important to be kept in the loop about the buyers and sellers on both ends of the chain. This will help you plan your move better and will help to lessen the risk of sales falling through.
Top tips for keeping your property chain together and moving...
Consider the possibility of getting in touch with other people involved in your property chain. This will allow you to stay informed of the other sales taking place within the chain and will alert you if things seem to be slowing down further up.
Keep all important documents to hand that you will need during the conveyancing process
Try and avoid going on holiday during this period to avoid delays
Find out if either your estate agent or conveyancer has booked to go away on holiday during this window, and find out who you will need to be in touch with during their absence
Return any and all paperwork promptly after receiving it
Ask your conveyancer if you are unsure about any part of the process
Talk with your estate agent and conveyancer and arrange when you will receive updates. Do you want to be updated weekly about the progress of your sale, or only when something important happens?
16. Involve your estate agent
If you do not have the time to chase the other sellers and buyers in your team or you do not feel comfortable doing so, you can always get your estate agent involved. Your estate agent will want to keep things moving as quickly as possible between accepting an offer and the exchange of contracts and so will have no qualms about nudging people along.
The Property Ombudsman Code of Practice sets out guidelines that estate agents are expected to follow. Their obligations to you as the seller include:
assisting you where possible
reporting information to you deemed helpful to bringing the transaction into fruition
Most estate agents will do this naturally, however, if you are unhappy with the level of service being provided by your estate agent, then you are within your rights to bring this to their attention.
17. Set a date
Now that surveys and local searches have taken place and any issues have been put to bed, it is time to set the all important completion date and exchange contracts. It is vital that all parties are honest and clear with each other about which dates work best and are open to compromise in order to settle on a day.
18. It's go time
Now is the stage in the selling and buying journey when you can start to organise your move. This means ensuring that everything is packed away in time for the day, organising removal companies if you are planning to use one, and making arrangements for the supply of electricity, gas, and water.
Don't forget to inform the following people you are moving:
Friends and family
Telephone and Internet service providers
TV license company
Bank, building society, pension provider, and any loan or investment company
Credit card companies
The school your children may attend
19. It's time to complete
Today is the day! Congratulations, the finish line is almost in site! The entire process of selling and buying a home has boiled down to this moment. On completion day, the money is moved between solicitors and they will confirm when the keys can be released to the new owners. This is also the day when the conveyancers will register the transfers of ownership with the Land Registry.
How can The Property Buying Company help me sell?
It's no secret that buying and selling a house at the same time can be stressful. Balancing all those plates at once can take its toll and not everyone wants to spend months on the open market looking for a buyer. If you are looking to take the stress out of selling, why not sell to us? We are the UK's most rated cash buyer with thousands of excellent reviews.
As we are a genuine cash buyer, we have the cash reserves ready, meaning we can buy your property as soon as you are ready to sell. Whether you want to sell your property in four months time or in as little as 7 days, we tailor our service to suit you. Plus, as an extra thank you for choosing us, we cover all of the legal fees you would typically associate with selling a house, it's just one of the ways we make selling easy.
When you sell your home with The Property Buying Company, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are in good hands. We are members of both the National Association of Property Buyers and The Property Ombudsman, which means we will always put you first throughout the entire selling process.
If you are ready to bypass the hassle and waiting that selling through an estate agent can bring, then why not get in touch today? All you need to do is fill out one of our free no-obligation valuation forms, and we could have the CASH offer in your bank in as little as 7 days...