The Oldest ‘Dilemma’ In Property – Should I Sell or Buy First?

Posted: 20th June 2017

The Oldest ‘Dilemma’ In Property – Should I Sell or Buy First?The question is asked by most people who already have a property but want to move somewhere else. Do you find and secure the next place before selling because you want surety that your next home, will be exactly what you want. On the face it, a completely natural choice to make.

The flip side to that is, will the person who owns the house you want, even accept your offer to buy it, when you say ‘you have not got the money until you have sold your own property’. Possibly they will but also possibly not.

There are many ways to finance the purchase without selling your original property, however some of these methods are expensive. In the majority of cases you will need to sell your own house to complete the process.

The answer most professional solicitors / surveyors / financial advisors / estate agents will give you is – Sell first

As an agent we divide people looking to buy on our list of buyers into two categories.

Proceed-able and Non- Proceed-able

Proceed-able are buyers who are

Buying their first property.

People who have sold their previous home.

Cash purchasers.

People with a new mortgage in place for the next purchase and no existing mortgage to pay. 

Renting or currently living with friends or family

Investors, who are looking for a buy to let / rental property

Second home investors –  wanting a place for holidays or a seasonal home

The people in these categories are more likely to have an offer to buy, accepted.


Buyers that can only purchase once they have sold their current home are not really proceed-able.

As I said earlier buyers tend to look for their perfect/dream property before considering selling their current property. This feeling is driven by fear that they want to find their dream home first.

Should they find the perfect property and they decide to make an offer to the seller, the offer would need to be a conditional one, which is to say the offer is subject to the sale of their current property.

It’s not impossible to have your conditional offer accepted by a seller but it’s a risk for the seller to accept your offer. They do not know how quickly you will sell your home or even if you will sell your home!

In reality if there is another offer, form someone who can proceed, you will most likely lose out. Even if the amount they other party offered is a lower price.

So our best advice is; sell first and be in a good position to make a wining offer.