Should I put my house on the market or should I find a property first?

Deciding whether to sell your current home before finding a new one or vice versa is a common dilemma faced by homeowners looking to move. Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages that should be carefully weighed up.

While there is no definitive right or wrong answer, discussing options thoroughly with your estate agent can provide valuable guidance. Remaining flexible is also advisable, as evolving market conditions can frequently cause timelines and plans to shift. With pros and cons on both sides, what works best for one homeowner may be entirely different for another. Here, we’ll take a look at the case for both scenarios and what to think about before making your decision.

The Benefits Of Finding Your Next Home Before Selling

While listing your current house first may seem like the obvious choice, there are several good reasons to consider securing a new property before putting your existing home on the market. It gives you more negotiation leverage.

It gives you more negotiation leverage. With a new place already lined up, you have the opportunity to invest in a property survey that might flag up issues leading you to negotiate harder on the sale price of your new property. Since you're under less pressure to finalise a deal, you can hold out for the right offer on your own home too.

When you search first, you avoid settling for a lesser home. Rushing to buy a new house because you've already sold could mean having to compromise on location, features, space or other key elements that are important to you as a buyer. Buying first means you don't have to sacrifice your must-haves or make desperate choices due to running against the clock.

Purchasing your ideal property first can give you a stronger negotiating position, prevent settling, streamline the buying process and reduce moving stress. The key points are having financial flexibility and not racing against the clock, but, of course, this way of buying relies on you having access to the funds.

Making the Case for Selling First

Putting your property on the market first could be the best approach in certain situations. There are some key benefits for listing your house before finding another. First, it means you’re able to take advantage of high demand. In a sellers' market with low inventory and lots of eager buyers, listing your home straight away can maximise its sales potential. With less properties competing for buyers' attention, you're likely to drum up more interest and potentially achieve a higher sale price. Striking while the iron is hot in a hot market beats waiting.

You can also avoid any double mortgage payments. Carrying two mortgage loans simultaneously while transitioning between homes can put tremendous strain on finances. Selling your current property first means you won't be stuck paying for two properties at the same time. This can provide peace of mind and reduce financial stress.

It will also drum up your motivation to find a new home. Once your house is officially on the market, you have committed to moving. This creates motivation and urgency to find your next home, reducing procrastination. The active listing will no doubt spur you on to view properties and make an offer.

Listing your existing home first can be advantageous if market conditions are right, you want to avoid problematic double payments, and you need a nudge to proactively start house hunting.

Key Factors to Consider

Determining the best order of operations fundamentally depends on your personal situation and objectives. Speak to your estate agent to get their experienced perspective on how much your property is worth and the general interest in your local area for properties, which may influence your decision. For example, if the market is hot and your property has increased in price, it may be worth biting the bullet and putting your property up for sale to get the best price.

Additionally, take a holistic look at your financial position to see if you can realistically manage double mortgage payments if you purchase your next property before selling your existing home. While uncertainty in the housing market remains, there might be less property stock in your area for you to view. Alternatively, if you had already planned to move to a new area, the timing could suit your chances of securing a better offer there than a year ago. 

Evaluate your family's needs like schools, space and commuting logistics to gauge if you have flexibility in your next home search or if you need to find something quickly. Furthermore, consider your must-have criteria for a new house and honestly assess how likely you are to find a suitable match in your desired area in a short timeframe. Selling before securing your next home makes sense if you have broad search criteria and confidence that you can find something quickly. Running both transactions concurrently is very achievable with proper planning, but also carries stress and financial anxiety.

If possible, give yourself a buffer so you are not forced to accept the first available option. With good agent advice and analysis of your own circumstances, you can determine the sequencing strategy with the highest probability of success and least disruption.

Deciding whether it's better to sell your existing home first or buy a new one is a very personal decision that depends on your unique situation and goals. There are compelling cases to be made for both approaches. Key factors to weigh up include current market conditions, your financial flexibility, the needs of your family and your lifestyle, commute considerations, and your must-have criteria for a new home.


Remain open-minded and flexible, as timelines often need to shift to adapt to changing market conditions. With proper planning and advice, either approach can work. The right decision is the one that enables you to find your ideal next home with the least stress and financial strain. Talk through your options thoroughly with your estate agent to understand the dynamics of your local market and for valuable guidance.


For many the firs point in a house move journey is to understand the value of their current home. Whether you want a quick, instant online valuation indication or a more robust specific and individual valuation, we would be delighted to help - click here to get your online valuation.

Katie Griffin