Making an offer on a house before selling your existing home
Making an offer on a house before selling yours is possible, but it can be a risky strategy.
When it comes to accepting an offer on a property, many sellers will only consider offers from chain-free buyers or those who have already accepted an offer on their existing property. If you’ve not yet sold your existing property, you will be unable to offer the seller any indication of when you may be able to move forward with the purchase, as you’ll have no way of knowing how long it will take to sell your property. In reality, any offer you make whilst you still have your existing property to sell is a hypothetical offer. Many sellers will be reluctant to agree to a sale that you’re not immediately able to progress with.
Benefits of accepting an offer on your existing property before making an offer on a new one
You’ll be free to view any property you like
Many sellers and estate agents will only allow you to book to view a property if you have already found a buyer for your current home. This is increasingly true in a seller’s market where there are more buyers than there are properties.
Once you have accepted an offer on your existing property, you will be ready to move forward with a purchase and will be able to view any property you want.
You’ll have more negotiating power
If you’re planning on making an offer on a house before selling yours, you should consider how much power you will have to negotiate a good price. If you’re a chain-free buyer, or have already accepted an offer on your current property, your negotiating power comes from your ability to commit to the purchase and how quickly you’re able to move. If you’ve not yet sold your current property, you will have little negotiating power. Even if you agree a price with the seller, if you’re unable to find a buyer for your own property the seller is likely to pull out of your agreement in favour of an offer from someone who is in a proceedable position.
The seller will take you seriously
Making an offer on a house before selling yours may mean that the seller does not take your offer seriously. It may also impact any further offer you go on to make once you have sold your existing property. If you really want a seller to consider your offer against those coming from other buyers, you will need to have sold your current property.
It will enable you to secure your next home
Gazumping – the act of offering a higher price for a property where a sale has already been agreed – is on the rise. In addition to this, around one-in-three property sales will collapse after being agreed. Making an offer on a house before selling yours means that the odds are stacked against you. If you’re serious about securing your next property, you’ll need to do everything you can to stop that sale collapsing. This means being able to proceed swiftly with the purchase and making the process as stress-free for the seller as possible. This simply isn’t possible if you still have another property to sell before being able to proceed.
You will be able to accurately budget for your next property
Until you’ve sold your current property, it’s difficult to know how much you can afford to pay for your next home. Your current home may sell for more than you were expecting, in which case you may be able to consider purchasing a more expensive home that you previously thought was out of reach. Alternatively, you may have to drop your asking price to attract a buyer, in which case the property you’ve made an offer on may become unaffordable.
You can move forward with your purchase
Until you’ve sold your current property it would be incredibly risky to move forward with the legal aspect of purchasing your new home. As soon as the formal conveyancing process starts, there will be a cost involved. If you’re unable to sell your existing property, or you do not achieve your expected asking price for it, and the purchase of the new property falls through, the money you’ve paid will have been wasted.
Do market conditions affect making an offer on a house before selling yours?
The short answer is yes, they can do.
In a seller’s market, where there are more buyers than there are properties and buyers are competing against each other to secure each desirable property, a seller is less likely to entertain an offer from someone who hasn’t sold their existing property yet.
If you’re in a buyer’s market, and there is a surplus of properties available, a seller may be more willing to consider an offer from you. However, they may set you a deadline for finding a buyer in order to move forward with your offer. You should also consider that even if a seller is willing to consider your offer before you sell your current property, there is nothing to stop them jumping ship if another offer from a more proceedable buyer comes in. Neither party is legally committed to the sale of a property until contracts have been exchanged, so your purchase would be far from secure.
I’ve found my dream home – can I buy it before selling mine?
If you’ve found the home of your dreams, but haven’t yet sold your current property, you do have a few options.
A bridging loan is a loan you can take out that will enable you to purchase your next property while you’re still waiting to sell your current property. A bridging loan is a secured loan, which means your property will be at risk if you fail to keep up with your repayments and it’s not something to undertake without due consideration. What will you do if you don’t achieve as much for your current property as you hope you will? Can you afford to cover your mortgage payments and loan repayments?
Cash house buyer
If you would struggle to afford mortgage repayments and a bridging loan, or you simply don’t want the hassle of a cross over with the two properties, you could consider a quick, guaranteed sale to a genuine cash home buyer. Because a cash home buying company doesn’t rely on investors or mortgages, they can purchase your current property in as little as a week, or on a date of your choice to tie in with the purchase of your new property.
Rent out your current property
If you’re struggling to sell your current property, you could consider whether there’s potential to change your current mortgage to a buy-to-let mortgage and keep your existing home as a rental property. You will still need to provide a deposit to buy your next property though, so you’ll need to either have considerable savings or another way of raising the deposit without the sale of your current home.
Ultimately, it may be possible to make an offer on a house before selling your existing home, but you will always be in a much weaker position than someone who is chain-free or has already sold their current home. If you are serious about the property you hope to buy, it would always be advisable to ensure you’re in a proceedable position before making an offer.
Find out more about:
- What to do if your house sale falls through
- Companies that buy houses – how do they work?
- What is gazumping?
- Making an offer on a house before selling your existing home
- Can I sell my house with an ongoing neighbour dispute?
- Step-by-step guide to selling your house
- How to sell your house – which way is best?
- Home buying companies – scams to avoid!
- Selling my house to a cash buyer – Read our 5 top tips
- What to do if your house buyer pulls out before exchange