About Waymark Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents

Find First or Sell First? The Age Old Property Dilemma

Posted on Friday, January 27, 2017

Find First or Sell First?  The Age Old Property Dilemma

We’ve all been there.  It remains one of the most difficult questions to answer.  When you’re first thinking about moving, do you find a property or sell your own first?  Let’s start by exploring both options.

For most of us, property is our biggest single purchase.  It’s a statement about our lifestyle, our hopes and our aspirations.  It’s a place of warmth and safety.  One look at our homes tells the world more about us than a year of posting on Facebook!  That’s why we’ve got to get it right.

Therefore, it makes sense to see what’s on the market and get a feel about the viability of the next move.  You’ve got to be encouraged that there is something out there for you.  You might start with a look at the major property portals (Rightmove, OnTheMarket, etc.) and you’ll probably email or call the estate agents in the area you’re looking in.  So far so good.

Then you see it!  The property of your dreams.  The one you were destined to buy!  You arrange to view it and the property ticks every box and some.  Problem is, you’re not the only person who’s viewing it, in fact there’s another family showing a lot of interest.  So what are your options?

Well the first thing is that you need to get your property on the market.  That’s easy, get three or four appraisals and then choose your estate agent.  The first problem is going to be your asking price.  There’s no time to ‘test’ the market, you need a buyer and you need one quick.  Only about 20% of properties get their listed price, so you’re now facing a situation where your price needs to be competitive and you may still need to accept a lower offer.

Now, with the one you want to buy you’re experiencing a challenge in agreeing a price.  And in some respects, that’s to be expected.  You don’t yet know what you’ll be getting for your property so how can you be sure what you can offer on the one you want?  Also, the seller really wants a proceedable buyer. The other family showing interest are on the market and have found a buyer. Naturally the seller is keener to talk to them and so the house of your dreams is slipping away.  This has quickly become more than a bit stressful.

So what about the sell first option?  You’ll probably do the same registering for property activities but, and this is important, you decide not to view anything until you have a proceedable buyer for yours.  You’re encouraged by what’s on the market so let’s get those three or four appraisals done.  All the figures are around the same ballpark, the numbers look like the move is on so you appoint your estate agent.

At this point you can be a bit optimistic with the price, there’s no rush and you’re open to negotiation with a proceedable buyer.  Now already this situation looks more favourable than finding a property first.  It certainly seems less stressful!  The ‘For Sale’ board sits proudly in the garden and the property looks particularly spacious on the agent’s website.  There are  four viewings booked over the next couple of days so time to give it one last dust and vacuum.

That final tidy up must have really worked as there is some positive news from two of the viewings.  The first couple, “...love the property and are going to offer…”, this is fantastic news, “...after they sell their property…”, that’s taken the edge off, “...which isn’t on the market yet…”  I’ll get my coat.  Why can’t people be like you?  What’s the point of even looking if your house isn’t even on the market?  Well, as the blog title suggests, it is an age old dilemma!

The following day, you get what seems to be even better news.  The other couple, “...who are in rented accommodation with nothing to sell want to offer…”, the dial is turned back up to fantastic, “...Mrs Buyer is starting a new job in the area…”, sounds like a promotion and more money to me, “...and want to complete in six weeks…”  But we haven’t found anything!  Found!  We haven’t even seen anything!  What if we can’t find?  I can’t do renting and move twice!  Here comes that stress...again.

In some respects, this highlights some of the challenges with how property is transacted and why moving house regularly appears in the list of stressful life events along with death and divorce.

This is why we think that dealing with a local estate agent who values a personable relationship makes all the difference.  And certainly if they’ve been through the experience a few times!  Between the team as Waymark, we been part of a six-link chain, lived with parents whilst renovating, rented while we built new and bought brand new and completed in five days!

Experience is everything when it comes to moving.  Before you try to answer the “find first or sell first question”, why not stop by the office for a coffee and chat.  We’ll share our varying experiences and make sure whatever you decide is the best thing for you.

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