How to buy and sell a property at the same time
How to buy and sell a property at the same time can be an arduous task, but if you follow a few of our simple tricks to keep your chain together, it will be a breeze.
Depending on how many buyers and sellers are in your chain, it is possible to complete the whole process within six weeks. You must however expect the unexpected. Buyers and sellers are not tied into any sale or purchase until each person in the chain exchanges contracts.
The key to getting this right is to remain calm, think logically, keep going and try not to get too stressed. Make sure you keep an open dialogue with the buyer of your property and the seller of the one you want to purchase so that they feel assured that all is going to plan.
In order to have success in buying your new home, first you need to make the old one appealing to a buyer.
Improve your chances of selling the property you want to sell
Even if you have already put your property on the market, you should still look to improve your chances of selling it.
Your estate agent will be able to upload new photographs of your property if you make any changes to it. If you have not had an offer yet, it may possibly be because your house is just not buyer ready yet. In any event, there is no harm in giving your property a helping hand to get it in tip top shape to sell.
Click here for guidance on how to go about this.
Documentation you will need:
You will need the following if you are intending to secure a mortgage:
- Your credit score. A free credit score from Experian will give you an indication of what lenders see about you. If you do this from the outset, you will be able to assess whether you would potentially be accepted for a mortgage. If you have an excellent credit score, you are good to go! If you have a low credit score, click here for ways to improve it.
- An Experian account lets you access your Experian Credit Score for free which is updated every 30 days each time you log in. Your credit score could make the difference to your chance of getting a mortgage, and Experian believes that everybody should be able to access it without paying a penny. Buying your first home is an exciting life step and you want to ensure you are in the best position to be qualified for a mortgage. Lenders look at several factors including, your salary, debt and savings when considering your application. Your score is a number from 0-999 that’s based on the information in your credit report. The higher your score, the greater your chance of getting the best mortgage deals.
- If you have been rejected a mortgage as a result of a poor credit score, or simply want to improve your score before applying for a mortgage, you can do this by applying for a credit report with Experian (CreditExpert).*
- *For CreditExpert a monthly fee of £14.99 applies after your free trial. You may cancel during your 30-day free trial without charge. New customers only. Free trial period starts on registration – further ID verification may be required to access full service which may take up to 5 days.
- Copy of photographic ID (driving licence or passport).
- Current P60 (if employed).
- Last two years SA302 tax calculation (if self employed) from Inland Revenue.
- Last three months pay slips.
- Last three months bank statements.
- Monthly expenditure form.
You will need the following if you do not need to secure a mortgage:
- Copy of photographic ID (driving licence or passport).
You will need a copy of the following to give to your Conveyancing Solicitor:
- Your Lease Agreement (if you are selling a Flat/Apartment).
- Copy of Ground Rent documentation (If you are selling a Flat/Apartment).
- Service charge documentation (if you are selling a Flat/Apartment).
- Any Party Wall Notices/Schedule of Condition’s (for the property you are selling).
- Regularisation Certificates (for any works carried out in the property you are selling).
- Indemnity Agreements (for the property you are selling).
- Copies of any planning permission applications (for any applications made for the property you are selling).
- Copy of your EPC for the property you are selling.
- Copy of any Fensa Certificates for window replacements (for the property you are selling).
Keep a list of the following handy:
- How much deposit you have.
- Your earnings.
- A copy of your credit score/credit report (if you do not have a good credit score, click here.)
- A figure for the costs associated with legal fees from a Conveyancing Solicitor.
- A figure for stamp duty to be paid.
Follow our guide:
1. Get an estimate/valuation of your properties worth.
Head to Zoopla. Enter your home address, select the refine tab to enter your properties details, then select either of the two options shown (estimate or agent valuation) to get your properties value. If you have carried out any home improvements, make sure you update this to reflect the current condition of your home. Print out a copy of the estimate.
Get a valuation for the property you want to sell from at least three local estate agents and the cost of the estate agent fees, negotiate the fees down. You can also contact Yopa who provide a fixed fee service, a dedicated local estate agent, your property listing on Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location, a for sale board and full support 24/7 until your property has been sold. You can advertise your property with as many estate agents as you want. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with everyone, estate agents and conveyancing solicitors.
2. Obtain an EPC for your current property.
Obtain an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) for the property you want to sell. An EPC will advise a potential buyer about the properties energy performance. To find a Domestic Energy Assessor click here. To retrieve an Energy Performance Certificate click here.
3. Work out how much do you want to spend on a new property.
Head to Rightmove to get an idea of how much you want to spend on a new property. You will get an indication of the current market house prices and what type of properties that are available in your desired location. Take a note of a house price in a street you would be interested in.
4. Work out the Stamp Duty Fee, Conveyancing Fee(s) and Insurances you may need for the property you want to purchase.
You must pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) if you buy a property or land over a certain price in England and Northern Ireland. Click here for more information.
When you buy and sell a property at the same time you will need a conveyancing Solicitor to handle the sale and purchase for you. Fees can be in excess of £700 so ensure that you have enough funds for this service.
If you are securing a mortgage on your new property, your lender may need you to enter into some form of protection insurance or you may need to update your existing policy. Check with your lender for information and add an approximate cost of this fee to your monthly expenditure form.
Buildings and/or Contents insurance:
You may need to purchase buildings and/or contents insurance for your property once you have moved in. You should get an approximate cost of this and add it to your monthly expenditure form.
5. Work out whether you will need to secure a mortgage for your new property.
If you do not need a mortgage and have the funds to buy a property from the sale of your current property, you should go to point 6 below.
If you do need to secure a mortgage, find a mortgage advisor/broker (preferably one that doesn’t charge you and searches “whole of market”) to see what you can borrow/afford etc. Give them an approximate sale price of your current home and give them all three estate agent valuations. You can give them your Zoopla estimate of your properties worth, your earnings, monthly expenditure form, any debts you have etc. and an idea of what kind of property you want to purchase and the cost. They will go through the process with you to advise what you can afford for your new mortgage. Contact other lenders to see what offers they have until you feel you have found the right lender/cost of your new mortgage. Check whether there could be an arrangement fee for the mortgage. How much is it and can you afford it. Check whether you want to pay this upfront or just have the lender add it to the mortgage.
If you need to secure a mortgage and you are doing this without an advisor, speak to the mortgage department of your current mortgage provider and/or bank. Give them an approximate sale price of your current home and give them all three estate agent valuations. You can give them your Zoopla estimate of your properties worth, your earnings, monthly expenditure form, any debts you have etc. and an idea of what kind of property you want to purchase and the cost. They will go through the process with you to advise what you can afford (but remember, you don’t have to go with your current lender/bank) for your new mortgage. Contact other lenders to see what offers they have until you feel you have found the right lender/cost of your new mortgage. Click here for the Financial Conduct Authority’s advice on this. Check whether there could be an arrangement fee for the mortgage. How much is it and can you afford it. Check whether you want to pay this upfront or just have the lender add it to the mortgage.
Once you have all your figures, you may find yourself in a position where you can become a landlord (i.e not sell your current home, but rent it out instead) and still buy another property. For guidance on how to become a landlord, click here.
6. Find a buyer for your home first.
Select which estate agent you want to use or you can use Yopa (who provide a fixed fee service, a dedicated local estate agent, your property listing on Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location, a for sale board and full support 24/7 until your property has been sold.)
Get whichever estate agent you use to advertise your property as quickly as possible on the following sites: Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location. Check that your property is listed as you would like it (including how much is up for sale) and that you are happy with the fees.
If you already have a buyer in place it will put you in a strong position to quickly secure the property you want. You can use this position to negotiate a better purchase price on your new home because you are ready to purchase with no delays with having to find a buyer. Once you have a buyer you can then find your new home.
7. Find a property you can afford.
Head to Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location to find a property. Most estate agents place properties on these websites. Once you find a property you like, ask the estate agent and/or seller questions about the property to ensure it is right for you (click here for more information). You can check when the property was last sold by clicking here. If the property had been previously bought and sold within the last few months/years, it may have been internally renovated, improved or part of the property extended during that time. If you choose to buy it, the seller should have all the receipts/ paperwork/ Party Wall Agreements/ Schedule of Condition Agreements, Building Control Regularisation Certificates and Fensa Certificates for any major or minor works that have been carried out in the property.
If you are buying a Flat/Apartment, you need to find out if it is a leasehold or freehold property. If it is a leasehold property, you need to know how long is left on the Lease. Will you need to extend it and can you afford the cost? For guidance on Lease Agreements and how to extend one, click here. If it is a leasehold property, you also need to find out how much is the ground rent, monthly service charge or whether it has a sinking fund that you need to pay into. The building may require building works that you will need to pay towards so ensure you find out about this information from the seller/freeholder first. Once you have your figures, you should go back to your Mortgage Lender to check whether you can still afford the purchase (if you are securing a mortgage for the property) or check whether you can afford it yourself.
8. Does the property you want to purchase require alterations or building work.
If you are purchasing a property where you want to make alterations/building works, now would be a good time to contact a builder to get an idea of much this would cost. You will also need to take into consideration the cost of a potential Party Wall Notice/Award that you may need to enter in to with a neighbour for any works on or near a party wall (if the property is a terraced, semi-detached or an apartment/flat). If a Party Wall Award has to be agreed with your neighbour, this could cost in excess of £1,000 for surveyors fees for a full award. Find out what all of these costs would be. If you are securing a mortgage and you want to add these costs as additional borrowing to your mortgage, you should give these costs to a financial advisor/mortgage advisor/broker or current lender to see if you can afford it or work out whether you can afford it yourself.
A flat or apartment may require building repairs/works that you need to contribute towards. This is usually taken from a sinking fund which may form part of your monthly service charge payments. Ensure that you find out about this information from the seller/freeholder before you commit. Once you have your figures, you should go back to your Mortgage Lender to check whether you can still afford the purchase (if you are securing a mortgage for the property) or work out whether you can afford it yourself.
9. Check that you can still afford to buy and sell.
If you are securing a mortgage:
Update your monthly expenditure form and have a copy of the conveyancing fee, stamp duty fee etc. and go back to your mortgage advisor/broker or current lender and give them this information. They will help you and your advisor assess whether you are in a good financial position to continue with this journey.
If you are not securing a mortgage:
Update your monthly expenditure form and have a copy of the conveyancing fee, stamp duty fee etc. and assess your situation. Take your time with this and think it through carefully. If you find that you are not quite yet in a good financial position to continue with this journey, you should take stock of your situation and come back to it when you are.
10. Check your chain is still in tact.
Check with the buyer of your current home that they are still happy to go ahead with the purchase and the chain is still intact.
11. Make an offer on your new property.
If all the figures work out, make an offer on the new property with the seller and/or estate agent. Never go in at the asking price, always try to make a lower offer. Once your offer has been accepted you need to find out who is in your chain.
12. Keep the chain together.
At this point gather all the email addresses of each Buyer/Seller/Conveyancing Solicitor and Estate Agent in the chain by asking the owner(s) of each property in the chain to give them to you.
Ask your Conveyancing Solicitor what they are working on/what they are waiting for in the chain.
Generate one email with everyone copied in advising who you are, what property you are buying in the chain and what you have been advised by your Conveyancing Solicitors.
This should encourage each buyer/seller in the chain to respond so that everyone knows what is happening. Do this twice a week to ensure that the chain moves quickly.
This is THE best way of making sure everyone in the chain knows who or what is holding things up.
It is quite an unusual way of making sure the chain pulls together to make everything go through on time but it does work, I speak from direct experience. The Solicitors may not directly respond in the chain, but the buyers and seller will and the Solicitors will see those responses. The Solicitors may advise you to stop emailing them, but you must keep doing it in order to keep the chain moving quickly.
There will be no more “it is with the seller’s solicitors” or “we are just waiting on something from this buyer/seller” etc. Everyone in the chain will now know exactly where the problem lies and any hold ups. This will make the transition go much more smoothly.
13. What happens next.
If you are securing a mortgage:
Your lender will want to view the property to ensure the amount borrowed reflects the actual condition of the property. This is known as a Valuation/Mortgage Valuation. If the lender advises that they will not lend as the sale price does not reflect the condition and value of the property you can either pull out of the purchase or ask the seller to reduce the price accordingly.
If you are not securing a new mortgage:
Go to point 14 below.
14. Obtain a Building Survey of the property to want to purchase.
Most people will now engage the services of a building surveyor (preferably registered with the RICS) who will view the property to provide you with a Building Survey/Home Buyers report. You should speak to the seller first before you put this in place. The report will confirm the value of the property and will pick up things like problems with electrics or whether the property will need a new roof etc. Once you have had a survey carried out, you can ask the seller to reduce the price if any issues arise. This is an invaluable asset when buying any property and worth spending money on. If issues are raised in this report and the property requires further investigation, you will then need to engage the services of a Structural Engineer if you want to proceed with the purchase.
If you need a Structural Engineer to assess the property, you should first speak to the seller to let them know the situation. The seller is not obligated to pay for this service but you could ask them to pay half. This report will help them to access whatever alterations they need to carry out on their property in order to sell it. If the seller refuses to meet half the cost of the report, you have the option to either pull out of the purchase or pay for it yourself. You are not obligated to give the seller a copy of the report unless they have paid towards it.
A Structural Engineer will then provide you with a Building Inspection Report/Full Survey/Structural Survey. Again you will be able to use the report to negotiate the price of the property you are purchasing if it does indeed require more work. Check whether you can afford any major works before you keep going. If an issue does arise and you cannot proceed, make sure you let the chain know.
If a survey picks up that the property you are purchasing has a history of subsidence or the property has subsidence, you will need to look into the costs associated with subsidence insurance. Check whether you can afford it before you keep going. If an issue does arise and you cannot proceed, make sure you let the chain know.
If all is well and/or all building survey issues have been resolved, go to point 15 below.
15. Find out whether there are any Boundary Issues/Party Wall Agreements/Schedule of Condition’s and Regularisation Certificates, Fensa Window Replacement certificates, EPC Certificates associated with the property you want to buy.
At this point, you should ALWAYS check whether there are any boundary issues with the property you want to purchase. Speak to your Conveyancing Solicitor, ask them to double check the measurements of the boundaries between you and your neighbours either side of you. This can be used if there are any future boundary issues with your neighbour. You should request whether there have been any past or current boundary disputes and ask for the relevant documentation. You should always ensure that you are aware of your actual boundary lines and measurements so that if neighbour disputes arise in the future, you have your boundaries confirmed in writing by your Conveyancing Solicitor.
Party Wall Agreements/Schedule of Condition:
Now you should ask your conveyancing solicitor to confirm that the seller has documentation in relation to any Party Wall Agreements/Schedule of Condition Agreements. These are important documents and copies of them should be with the Land Registry. They confirm that both neighbours are in agreement with any works that have been carried out on or near the party wall(s) of the property.
If the property you are going to purchase has had any major or minor works carried out, the seller should have Building Control Regularisation Certificates. If these are not in place, you should speak to your Conveyancing Solicitor to confirm how you will be able to move ahead without these in place and what effects they can have on the property. If building works carried out by the seller do not have a regularisation certificate from Building Control, you should request that your Conveyancing Solicitor places an Indemnity Agreement between you and the seller. An indemnity agreement ensures that you (the buyer) would be indemnified from any costs associated with poor works carried out in the property by the seller. This agreement would mean that the seller would be legally obligated to deal with the issue after he/she has moved.
If any windows, Velux, Dorma or patio/bi-fold doors have been installed in the property you want to purchase, the seller should have Fensa Certificates of the installation. If a Fensa Certificate is not in place, the seller should have arranged for the installation to have been inspected by Building Control and a completion certificate obtained. The seller can contact the Local Authority to apply for retrospective Building Regulation approval or pay for an insurance policy to cover the buyer. The other option is that you (the buyer) can request that the seller Conveyancing Solicitor places an Indemnity Agreement between you and the seller. An indemnity agreement ensures that you (the buyer) would be indemnified from any costs associated with poor works carried out in the property by the seller. This agreement would mean that the seller would be legally obligated to deal with the issue after he/she has moved.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required for all properties when constructed, sold or let. The Energy Performance Certificate provides information on the energy performance of the property and what you can do to improve it.
If all the relevant paperwork is in place, your boundaries are set out in writing, you are ready now ready to exchange contracts.
If at any time before you exchange contracts you feel that this is not right for you, your financial situation changes, there are too many issues with the property you are going to buy or have decided not to sell, you can always pull out of the chain. This can be a heart breaking time for other people in the chain, but you must do what is right for you. It is not uncommon to find yourself or someone in the chain in this position, but the most frustrating thing to do is to not inform the people in your chain straight away. So please make sure you let the chain know as soon as you make that decision.
16. Exchange of Contracts
You should now be in a position to set a date to exchange contracts and set a completion date. It is possible to exchange and complete on the same day. If you would like to do this, you should contact your Conveyancing Solicitor and email the chain. You can set the date that works for you.
You are now officially committed to the sale of your old home after the Exchange of Contracts. You may be asked to pay a holding deposit, but most sellers do not need that once contracts have been signed.
17. Arrange your Buildings and Contents Insurance and prepare for your moving day.
Completion date is set, now you should be looking into buildings and contents insurance for your new property and any other insurances you may need.
You should be advising council tax, gas, electric, water utility companies, broadband providers and telephone companies well in advance of your moving date (at least one month) and packing your home for the move. Click here for a handy list of who to contact. Obviously you will not know the detail of each provider and how much energy/usage the property uses. You could send a friendly email to the seller to see if they could offer some assistance with this.
Click on the following links to find out which company supplies the following services to the property:
If you have a lot of furniture, you could look into hiring a removal company like AnyVan to help you. For guidance on how to prepare for moving day click here.
19. Completion Date/Moving day.
Completion day has arrived! Keep in contact with your solicitor throughout the day (if the completion is set for a specific time) and be ready to leave the property at that specific time. Do not leave buyers/sellers in the chain waiting for you to finish packing! If the sellers of your new property have not moved out at the specific time, get in touch with your Conveyancing Solicitors straight away and let them know. They can push things along for you.
On moving day, take meter readings of the property you are about to leave and submit them to your provider). *Good tip, take a photograph of your gas, electric and water meters on your mobile phone just before you leave the property for the last time. When you get to your new house, take a photograph of the meters, check whether it has a water meter and take that reading too.
20. Congratulations on your move!
*Good tip, take a photograph of your gas, electric and water meters as soon as you arrive at the property.
You’ve moved in but theres no guide or handbook to help you around your new property. Help is at hand with our “everything you need to know when you move into your new home guide”. Click here for details.
What happens now.
Your solicitor will register the property with the Land Registry for properties in England and Wales and you will receive a copy of the title deeds to your new home.
Ensure you have all the necessary insurances in place for your property and keep a copy somewhere safe.
You should now look to reviewing your buildings and contents insurance to take into consideration the change in cover you may now require.
You should look into getting a Will or updating your existing one.