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How to sell and buy a house at the same time

Selling and buying a home is an exciting journey. It marks a new chapter in your life, whether you’re upsizing to accommodate a bigger family, relocating for a new job, or need something a little different to suit your situation, there’s a lot to look forward to.

Although all the moving pieces of selling and buying a home can seem like a puzzle, with the right approach you’ll easily tackle each step one by one.

We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate how to sell and buy a house at the same time.


We get it – selling one home whilst buying another can feel incredibly stressful. So much happens in such a short timeframe that it’s easy to worry something could go wrong. But try not to spiral into “what ifs”. With the right preparations, you can make this journey smooth sailing.

Here are the key sections we’ll take you through to set you up for success:

  1. Preparing to sell: Getting your home market ready
  2. Listing the property and accepting an offer: Time to get your home on the market
  3. House hunting and getting an offer accepted: Finding your next home
  4. Finalising the sale and purchase: The finish line is in sight


Let’s get into it.

A. Preparing to sell

Let’s start by getting your home ready for its debut on the market. We know how tempting it can be to rush into listing your property. But taking a bit of time upfront to make some thoughtful preparations can actually help save you major headaches later.

This section will cover:

  • Step 1: Get your property valued
  • Step 2: Get your finances in check
  • Step 3: Dig out key documents
  • Step 4: Prepare your home for sale
Footstool And Laptop

Step 1: Get your property valued

There’s no doubt that you’ll want to sell your house for the highest amount possible. Since you’ve probably lived there for a while, an outside perspective can be helpful.

Ask trusted friends or family to point out anything that might deter buyers.

You should also get your current home professionally valued. You’ll need to know what it’s worth to guide the rest of your journey.

Checking Zoopla can give you a ballpark figure based on similar properties in your area. But nothing beats having an agent come see your place in person for an accurate valuation.

We recommend having at least 3 different agents come to take a look. Some may overvalue to win your business. But 3 options should give you a solid sense of the true range of your property's potential value.

Step 2: Get your finances in check

Now that you have a solid sense of what your property is worth, the next step is crunching the numbers for your big move.

You’ll want to figure out your maximum budget for a new place. If you currently have a mortgage, calculate your remaining equity in this home.

Don’t forget you’ll need to pay estate agent fees (typically between 1% and 3% of the property value), legal fees, removals, etc. For a full cost breakdown check out our guide for the cost of buying a house and moving.

Step 3: Dig out key documents

A lot is happening when selling a home, so getting some key documents in order early can give you a leg up. Having these ready to go will save time down the road:

  • Planning or building regulations documents – for any work done to the property
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – required efficiency and emissions information for property listing on the market (your estate agent will usually arrange this for you).
  • ID documents – photo ID and proof of address to verify identity.
  • Mortgage papers – redemption statement to understand how much you need to repay and early repayment fees.
  • Boiler and gas safety certificates.
  • Leasehold documents, if applicable.

You may need more or fewer documents depending on your unique situation. But pulling these together in advance takes one task off your plate later.

Regulations in the UK now mean that all property listings need to include detailed upfront information in the forms of parts A, B, and C. The regulations will bring much-needed consistency across the industry, and benefit everyone involved in property transactions. Check out the full guide to parts A, B and C here.

Step 4: Prepare your home for sale

Sprucing up your home to attract eager buyers may sound tedious, but with some thoughtful decluttering, repairs, staging, and kerb appeal boosts, we can really make your beautiful abode shine. Let's break down a few key steps to get your place ready to impress:

  • Declutter and clean – Clear out any excess items in each room to make spaces feel more open.
  • Make minor repairs – fix leaky faucets, holes in walls, squeaky doors, broken fixtures, and anything else. Buyers will notice issues.
  • Paint if needed – Refresh any worn rooms in neutral colours to make them look spacious.
  • Boost your kerb appeal – First impressions make a big impression. Spruce up the exterior of your home to welcome buyers.
  • Stage key rooms – Make hot spots like the kitchen, living room and master bedroom shine by decluttering and updating.

Prepping your home can feel daunting, but making even small improvements can go a long way in attracting buyers to your home.

For Sale

B. Listing the property

Next, it’s time to get your property on the market. Getting your listing out there to potential buyers is an incredibly exciting milestone to reach, this is where everything starts to feel very real. Here’s what we’ll walk you through in this section:

  • Step 5: Hire an estate agent and market your house
  • Step 6: Choose a conveyancer
  • Step 7: Finding a buyer

Step 5: Hire an estate agent and market your house

The next step is hiring an estate agent to get your property on the market. You could use one of the ones that provided you with a valuation or go with someone new.

You may also be weighing between listing with an online vs traditional local agent. Let’s break down the pros and cons of each:

Online agent pros:

  • Lower fees and competitive pricing
  • Efficient online platforms
  • Large buyer reach for potentially quicker sales

Online agent cons:

  • Lack of local expertise and hands-on support
  • Seller may have to host viewings
  • Lack of personalised service

Local agent pros:

  • Strong knowledge of the local market
  • Hands-on with viewings and negotiations
  • Personalised and responsive service

Local agent cons

  • Higher commission rates
  • Smaller online presence and ads budget
  • Less extensive buyer network
  • May lack some tech capabilities

It comes down to your priorities as a seller. Consider your budget needs and how you prefer to communicate. Research both options, then select the one that best aligns with your situation and goals.

Step 6: Choose a conveyancer

Once your property is on the market it’s a great time to start researching conveyancers. Since they’ll handle all the legal details and will be with you for most of your property transaction journey, you’ll want someone that you can trust.

When choosing, consider what matters most – frequent communication, quick responses, and easy access. Ask about their workload and who will manage your case. High-volume workloads and reliance on paralegals could lead to delays and mistakes.

Take your time researching to find someone who feels like the perfect fit. This is your journey – you deserve great service and full support each step of the way.

As a seller, you can instruct a conveyancer before accepting an offer. They won’t be able to complete some tasks such as drafting and negotiating the contract, as you won’t have a buyer yet, but it can give you a head start.

Trust Eden as your conveyancer

Get ahead with Eden. We understand the frustrations of finding a trusted conveyancer, that’s why we built Eden.

Our team take the stress out of the process so you can focus on the exciting parts of your move. You’ll have your own dedicated property lawyer from start to finish who will always keep you updated.

No more jargon. No more stressful chasing. No unclear fees. Just simple, transparent conveyancing.

Get a quote from Eden

Step 7: Finding a buyer

Accepting an offer may sound simple, but there’s a lot that goes on between listing and that big moment. How quickly offers roll in depends on multiple factors like your area, pricing, demand, etc. In a hot market, the offers may come flooding in, whereas in a cold market or unpopular area, it may take a little longer to get offers in.

It’s not just about the highest price – consider the buyer too. Some of the things that you need to consider is whether they seem reliable or potentially problematic, if they’re eager it’s usually a good sign. However, if they’re slow to respond and seem unpredictable, this could indicate future issues. Also, look at the type of buyer they are and how that’s going to impact your purchase.

First-time buyers with no chain can be appealing for faster completion, whereas chain buyers add the risk of potential delays.

You may not always get perfect scenarios though. Look at all the factors you can then make the best choice from there.

Be ready for some negotiation too. You want top dollar, buyers want a deal – we’re not saying settle for a lower price, but you may need to meet somewhere in the middle. But again, this depends on the state of the market.

There are a lot of moving pieces when weighing offers and buyers. There is no right or wrong answer here, each journey is different, and you need to pick the option that feels right for you.


C. House hunting and getting an offer accepted

You’ve hit the halfway mark now, it’s time to start looking for your dream and get that all important offer accepted. Although this bit is exciting, there are some steps to take that can help you approach this effectively. In this section we’ll cover:

  • Step 8: Start house hunting
  • Step 9: Get your offer accepted
  • Step 10: Get your finances in order

Step 8: Start house hunting

You don’t have to wait to have found a buyer before you do this step, you may find your next dream home before. But if you have found a buyer and not yet a new home, it’s time to ramp up that search and get house hunting.

Having a buyer for your current home in place and be attractive to sellers, as they’ll know that you’re ready to push transactions forward.

Don’t delay in looking for your new property, especially if market conditions don’t favour you.

When it comes to searching, use online sites like Rightmove and Zoopla, but try to branch out to local agents too to see what they have on offer.

Step 9: Get your offer accepted

Whether it was your first or fifteenth viewing, you’ve found the house that you want to call home.

When this big moment does come, act fast, but carefully as you may end up overpaying in the excitement. With a good strategy, you could secure your future home for less.

Here’s some tips on approaching how to make an offer:

  • Make your first offer compelling, but don’t overstretch your budget. A good rule of thumb is to offer 5% to 10% below the asking price and see what response you get.
  • If you make a verbal offer, follow it up with a written one (email is fine) to avoid any confusion later.
  • If you already have a buyer for your current home note this in any offer with any other advantages.
  • Have a negotiation plan. If the seller is interested in you as a buyer, they’ll likely counteroffer through the agent.
  • Gently increase bids until you can find a place where you’re both happy.
  • Remember that agents legally must pass on any offer that you submit, don’t be afraid to test the waters.
  • If there’s a lot of competition and you think negotiating could be a waste of time, you could make your first offer your best offer.

Want to learn more? We have a full guide on how to make an offer on a house here.

When you do get your offer accepted, congratulations! Ask for the property to be taken off the market to avoid being gazumped, remember that having an offer accepted does not mean the seller is legally bound to the sale.

Try to move the sale forward promptly. Push what you can on your end forward – book surveys, submit paperwork, and make sure you work with your conveyancer to move things forward on their end.

Step 10: Get your finances in order

You likely got a mortgage in principle (MIP) to start, giving you a rough idea of borrowing options. But now that your offer has been accepted, it’s time to officially apply.

Don’t stress – you’ll just need to complete the lender’s full application and provide them with some additional personal and financial details. Hopefully, everything will align smoothly at this stage since you have that initial MIP in place.

If you are not using a mortgage, that means you’re a cash buyer. All you’ll need to do is make sure that your purchase funds are ready, you’ll pay the exchange deposit to your property lawyer ready for exchange day and the remaining amount on completion.

D. Finalising the purchase

The finish line is in sight, but there is still a lot to do. At this point, the puzzle pieces are all coming together seamlessly, and we know the anticipation is building more and more each day.

As ready as you may be to just fast forward to moving day though, these last few weeks before closing are crucial. There are a lot of final details that demand focus and patience, including:

  • Step 11: Instruct your conveyancer
  • Step 12: Set exchange and completion dates
  • Step 13: Organise your move
  • Step 14: Exchange and complete
  • Step 15: Settle into your new home
Terraced Houses

Step 11: Instruct your conveyancer

Time for your conveyancer to shift into high gear with your purchase too. With offers accepted on both ends, there’s a flurry of work ahead – drafting contracts, searches, liaising between parties, negotiating details, and more.

It might feel like there is a lot of back and forth here between everyone involved, and although this can test your patience, remember that there are a lot of moving pieces to align transactions. Remain responsive and cooperate where you can.

Check out our full conveyancing process timeline guide here.

Step 12: Set exchange and completion dates

As part of the pre-exchange phase in the conveyancing process, you’ll need to agree on your exchange and completion dates, two huge milestones that see you through to the end of your journey.

Step 13: Organise your move

Dates are set – time to prep for the big move. After a while in your home, you’ve probably accumulated a lot, so consider hiring a removal crew to help you on the big day.

You’ll also want to get the house ready to hand over the keys. Here’s a checklist to make it easy:

  • Pack non-essentials early to stay organised.
  • Thoroughly clean everything from top to bottom and consider hiring a professional cleaner to do a deep clean right before you leave.
  • Review the contract to ensure you’ve fulfilled all agreed terms.
  • Take plenty of photos and videos showing the empty, clean state.
  • Do a final walk-through on move-out day, checking every corner.

It’s key to leave the property empty, clean, and in the condition outlined in the contract.

Step 14: Exchange and completion

Exchange of contracts

Exchange day is when everything becomes official (legally binding). Up until this point, either side could’ve walked away penalty-free besides wasting time and money.

On exchange day, you’ll both review and sign identical contracts. Then your conveyancer will formally swap (exchange) them, making the transaction legally binding. No backing out now. If someone does pull out after the exchange, there are penalties – the seller would have to return the exchange deposit whilst the buyer would lose it.

Completion day

Completion day marks the exciting finish line you’ve been waiting for so long. Depending on your chain, completion will likely happen on the same day as your sale and purchase – so get ready for a busy one.

On completion:

  • Your conveyancer receives the sale funds
  • They pay the purchase money to the seller’s conveyancer
  • Once the seller’s conveyancer receives the money, agents release the keys
  • You move into your new home

And with those two milestones past you’re finally moved into your new home. There are still a few tasks to do after this though, for both you and your conveyancer.

Step 15: Settle into your new home

Take a giant, well-deserved breath – you made it. Settling into your new home is the fun part after the long journey to get here. Each step had its own hurdles, but you navigated it all.

You just need to tie up a few loose ends. Don’t forget to update your address wherever you need to. Employers, banks, doctors, subscriptions, you need to let them all know.

In the background, your conveyancer will be registering your ownership with the Land Registry. This might take a while to process, but it won’t impact you moving into your new home.

They’ll also pay SDLT on your behalf if you owe any, check out our guide on stamp duty here.

Again, huge congratulations pm selling your old place and purchasing a new home. We know this was likely stressful at times, but we hope you’ll look back fondly.

How to sell and buy a house: checklist

We understand the stress that comes with selling and buying a home simultaneously. And if you need the above at a quick glance, here it is:

A. Preparing to Sell: Getting Your Home Market Ready

Step 1: Get Your Property Valued

  • Seek external perspectives and professional valuations for an accurate estimate.
  • Obtain valuations from at least three different agents to gauge your property's potential value range.

Step 2: Get Your Finances in Check

  • Determine your maximum budget for a new home by calculating remaining equity.
  • Factor in estate agent fees, legal fees, removals, etc., for a comprehensive cost breakdown.

Step 3: Dig Out Key Documents

  • Collect essential documents like planning/building regulations, Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), ID documents, mortgage papers, and others.
  • Be prepared for new industry regulations requiring detailed upfront information in the forms of Parts A, B, and C.

Step 4: Prepare Your Home for Sale

  • Declutter and clean to create open spaces.
  • Make minor repairs, refresh paint, and enhance kerb appeal.
  • Stage key rooms for a more appealing presentation.

B. Listing the Property

Step 5: Hire an Estate Agent and Market Your House

  • Choose between online and local agents based on preferences and priorities.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of each option for a well-informed decision.

Step 6: Choose a Conveyancer

  • Research and choose a conveyancer early to handle legal details.
  • Consider factors like communication, responsiveness, and workload when making your selection.

Step 7: Finding a Buyer

  • Evaluate offers based on not just price but also buyer reliability.
  • Negotiate when necessary and be mindful of potential delays with chain buyers.

C. House Hunting and Getting an Offer Accepted

Step 8: Start House Hunting

  • You can search for your new property even before finding a buyer for your current home.
  • Utilise online sites like Rightmove and Zoopla, and explore local agents for a comprehensive search.

Step 9: Get Your Offer Accepted

  • Act quickly but strategically when making an offer.
  • Try to move the sale forward promptly on your end - book surveys, submit paperwork, and ask for the property to be taken off the market.

Step 10: Get Your Finances in Order

  • Officially apply for a mortgage, or ensure funds are ready if you're a cash buyer.

D. Finalising the Purchase

Step 11: Instruct Your Conveyancer

  • Work closely with your conveyancer to manage legal details and negotiations.

Step 12: Set Exchange and Completion Dates

  • Agree on dates for key milestones in the conveyancing process.

Step 13: Organise Your Move

  • Prep for the big move by packing, cleaning, and fulfilling contract terms.
  • Ensure the property is left empty, clean, and as agreed upon.

Step 14: Exchange and Complete

  • Exchange contracts to make the transaction legally binding.
  • Completion day marks the official transfer of funds, keys, and ownership.

Step 15: Settle into Your New Home

  • Update your address with relevant entities.
  • Your conveyancer will handle post-completion tasks like registering ownership with the Land Registry.

Take a breath, you made it! Settle into your new home and enjoy the fruits of your journey. Congratulations!

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