Start looking for a new home or find a buyer first?


Start looking for a new home or find a buyer first?

by Adam Horton

So, you’ve decided you want to move – but what happens first? Do you try and find your ideal home, or try and find a buyer first and then start looking? It’s one of the most common questions I am asked and my answer is almost always the same – secure a buyer for your property first.

There are many reasons why people move home, but one thing rings true in almost all situations. If you as a buyer come across a property you would be prepared to buy, call your home and often live there for many years – you don’t want it to slip through your fingers. If you need to sell a property in order to buy, the biggest obstacle you will face if you don’t find a buyer for your own property first is that you could find your dream home, but loose it to someone who is in a better position, and ready to proceed. If often takes a bit of fighting for to get the home you really want.

Sellers are unlikely to agree to a sale and take the property off the market until you have sold yours, which means it becomes increasing likely that the property is sold to someone else. However, if you do find yourself in this position, making an offer on a property whilst your property remains unsold can be a good idea of what the vendor is willing to accept in order for you to make a judgement on how much you can accept on your own property. Being in this position isn’t ideal as the focus is then shifted from pursuing he maximum price you could achieve for your property, to your minimal viable price to enable you to move if you really don’t want to miss out on the house you are interested in. This change of mindset could end up costing a lot of money.

Despite this, one of the main reasons why people hold off putting their home on the market before they agree a purchase is that they don’t like uncertainty – saying yes to an offer without yet knowing where you’re moving to. When it comes to moving home, this uncertainty can actually play in your favour. If you have a buyer waiting, it puts you in the driving seat – and a good agent is there to be your navigator.

By proceeding to secure a buyer first, you will benefit from the following:

  • Agents and buyers will take you more seriously when you want to arrange viewings or discuss pricing if you are a ‘proceedable’ buyer (you have the ability to proceed). Most estate agency sales negotiators who are targeted on achieving ‘X’ amount of sales per month will naturally be more keen to spend time with ready and able buyers, meaning you will be a higher priority. You are more likely to hear about new properties and be put in a positive light by the agent to the vendor – they’ll see that you are a serious and focused buyer.

  • Once you have a buyer in place, it puts you in a strong position to negotiate a better deal on your purchase as you’re a motivated buyer. Your position and intentions can be made clear and it puts a solid opportunity on the table for the seller to agree to your offer, which also enables them to move forward on their plans.

  • You will have more control of the sale of your own house and you won’t need to make a quick sale. It’s less likely that you will be caught in a position whereby you may have to consider lower offers.

  • Once you know exactly how much someone will be paying for you property, you can budget more effective when making offers on potential new homes. You are less likely to find yourself financial stretched.

To get the best results, planning and preparation is incredibly important. Regardless of your situation, one of the best things to start with is doing research on the areas you intend to move to and make sure that you’re expectations are realistic. By all means view some properties – it will help build an idea of what you will get for your money. However, always be aware that by doing this, you could become emotionally attached to a property without yet having any ability to actually go forward and make an offer – so be weary and focus on the fact that the point to it so far is all research.

Once you have a clear vision of what sort of area and property to aspire to purchase, the next step is getting a valuation and selecting and agent.