Making an offer on a house before selling yours UK

Making an offer on a house before selling your current one is a scenario many homeowners face, especially in a competitive housing market. This process, while potentially advantageous, comes with risks and challenges. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to navigate making an offer on a house before selling yours in the UK.

1. Understand Your Financial Position

Evaluate Your Finances

Before making an offer, thoroughly assess your financial situation:

  • Savings: Ensure you have enough savings for a deposit, which is typically 5-20% of the property price.
  • Equity: Calculate the equity in your current home. This is the market value minus any outstanding mortgage.
  • Affordability: Use online calculators or consult with a mortgage advisor to understand how much you can afford for your new property.

Mortgage in Principle

Obtain a mortgage in principle (MIP) or agreement in principle (AIP):

  • Pre-Approval: An MIP shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer and gives you a clear idea of how much you can borrow.
  • Validity: These are usually valid for 60-90 days, so ensure your timing aligns with your buying process.

2. Understand the Market

Research Property Prices

Analyze recent sale prices in your target area:

  • Comparable Sales: Look at similar properties that have sold recently to gauge the market.
  • Price Trends: Understand if prices are rising, stable, or falling in your desired location.

Seller’s Market vs. Buyer’s Market

Recognize the type of market you’re in:

  • Seller’s Market: High demand and low supply, making it harder to negotiate.
  • Buyer’s Market: More supply than demand, providing more negotiation power.

3. Preparing to Sell Your Current Property

Get Your Home Ready for Sale

Prepare your home to make it attractive to buyers:

  • Declutter and Clean: A clean, uncluttered home appears more spacious and appealing.
  • Minor Repairs: Fix any obvious issues like dripping taps, cracked tiles, or faulty light switches.
  • Staging: Consider staging your home to highlight its strengths.


Get your property valued by multiple estate agents:

  • Market Value: Understand the realistic market value of your property.
  • Pricing Strategy: Decide on an asking price that will attract buyers without undervaluing your home.

4. Bridging the Gap: Bridging Loans

What is a Bridging Loan?

A bridging loan is a short-term loan designed to bridge the gap between buying your new home and selling your current one:

  • Short-Term Solution: Typically used for periods up to 12 months.
  • Secured Loan: Usually secured against your current or new property.

Pros and Cons of Bridging Loans

Understand the benefits and drawbacks:

  • Pros: Quick access to funds, allows you to buy before selling, and competitive markets.
  • Cons: High-interest rates, additional fees, and the risk of being unable to sell your current home promptly.

5. Making the Offer

Types of Offers

Choose the type of offer that suits your situation:

  • Subject to Sale: Your offer is contingent on selling your current home. It can be less attractive to sellers but reduces your risk.
  • Unconditional Offer: No conditions attached, making it more appealing but riskier if you haven’t sold your home.

Strengthening Your Offer

Make your offer more attractive:

  • Higher Deposit: Offering a larger deposit can demonstrate financial stability.
  • Flexible Completion Date: Offering a completion date that suits the seller can make your offer more appealing.
  • Personal Letter: Sometimes, a personal letter explaining your situation and why you love the home can sway sellers.

6. Handling the Transition

Coordinate Timelines

Align the timelines for buying and selling:

  • Simultaneous Transactions: Aim to synchronize the sale of your current home with the purchase of the new one.
  • Temporary Accommodation: Be prepared with temporary living arrangements if there’s a gap between the two transactions.

Legal Considerations

Work with your solicitor to ensure smooth transactions:

  • Contracts: Ensure the contracts for sale and purchase are coordinated.
  • Chain: Be aware of the property chain, where each transaction depends on another.

7. Risk Management

Financial Risks

Prepare for potential financial risks:

  • Mortgage Payments: Be prepared to cover mortgage payments on two properties if necessary.
  • Bridging Loan Costs: Understand the costs and ensure you can cover them if your current property doesn’t sell quickly.

Market Risks

Stay informed about market conditions:

  • Price Fluctuations: Be aware that property prices can change, affecting your buying and selling prospects.
  • Economic Factors: Monitor interest rates and economic conditions that could impact your ability to sell or secure a mortgage.

8. Contingency Planning

Backup Plans

Have contingency plans in place:

  • If Sale Falls Through: Consider renting out your current property if it doesn’t sell promptly.
  • If Purchase Falls Through: Have alternative properties in mind or be prepared to stay in your current home longer.

Financial Cushion

Maintain a financial cushion to cover unexpected costs:

  • Emergency Fund: Ensure you have an emergency fund to handle additional costs, such as double mortgage payments or unexpected repairs.

9. Professional Guidance

Estate Agents

Choose the right estate agent:

  • Experience and Reputation: Select an agent with a good track record in your area.
  • Marketing Strategy: Ensure they have a robust marketing strategy to sell your home quickly.

Mortgage Advisors

Work with a knowledgeable mortgage advisor:

  • Options and Rates: They can help you find the best mortgage options and rates.
  • Bridging Loans: They can guide you through the process if you need a bridging loan.


Engage an experienced solicitor:

  • Conveyancing: Ensure they handle the conveyancing efficiently for both properties.
  • Legal Advice: They can provide essential legal advice throughout the process.

10. Finalizing the Purchase

Surveys and Inspections

Conduct thorough surveys and inspections:

  • Homebuyer’s Report: Get a detailed report to identify any issues with the new property.
  • Specialist Surveys: Consider additional surveys (e.g., structural, electrical) if recommended.

Exchange and Completion

Prepare for exchange and completion:

  • Exchange Contracts: Legally binding stage where you pay a deposit.
  • Completion: The final step where you pay the remaining balance and get the keys to your new home.


Making an offer on a house before selling your current one in the UK is a complex but manageable process with the right preparation and professional support. Here are the key points to consider:

  1. Financial Preparation: Understand your financial position, secure a mortgage in principle, and be ready for the costs involved.
  2. Market Research: Be aware of the property market conditions and how they impact your buying and selling strategy.
  3. Preparing to Sell: Get your current property ready for sale to attract buyers quickly.
  4. Bridging Loans: Consider if a bridging loan is necessary and understand its implications.
  5. Making the Offer: Choose the type of offer that suits your situation and strengthen it to make it appealing to sellers.
  6. Handling the Transition: Coordinate timelines and legal aspects to ensure a smooth transition between properties.
  7. Risk Management: Be prepared for financial and market risks and have contingency plans in place.
  8. Professional Guidance: Work with experienced estate agents, mortgage advisors, and solicitors to navigate the process effectively.
  9. Finalizing the Purchase: Conduct thorough surveys, and inspections, and be ready for the exchange and completion stages.

By carefully considering these factors and planning meticulously, you can successfully make an offer on a new house before selling your current one, minimizing risks and ensuring a smooth transition.

Are you interested in SELLING YOUR HOME FAST? …with NO Fee?

Leave Your Name & Number. Our Agents can tell you more…
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.