Thinking of selling your current home and trading up? Read our expert property tips

publication date: Apr 8, 2015
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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Read our trading up expert advice

If you are selling and buying, it can be hard to hold together both. The idea we could put up our home for sale, find a buyer in a good or bad market and then find the perfect home we want to live in for the next 10 or 20 years, is to be honest, very difficult to achieve!

The result I we often have to compromise. That might be compromising on the price of the property being sold and then not getting quite the property wanted because it wasn’t for sale at the time, or in the right place.

One way to make trading up or down from one property to another is to sell, rent and then start looking for a home. You will need to rent for a minimum of six months, but this does also have the advantage of making you a ‘cash buyer’ even if you need a mortgage to top up your offer. That means you can wait for the property you want and potentially get a better deal as you have the advantage of nothing to sell.

Follow our five top tips to successfully trading up:-

Get your paperwork ready on your property for sale
Everyone now needs certificates, copies of guarantees and warranties to buy and sell. An energy performance certificate is a must as it is a legal requirement for one to be available for buyers at viewing stage. You can buy these yourself – and it is worth checking out the cost as sometimes the agents add on a bit extra, but don’t forget they do organise it all for you.

Choose a Legal Company
Being able to buy and sell and not have a break-down at the same time means you need to be very well organised. If you are sure you are selling, get a legal company to start on the contract to sell your own home. This can save weeks of hunting certificates for building work, guarantees and warranties, insurance papers, reminding yourself where the stop cock is and making sure you have all the details of the utility companies you work with. If you selling a flat, this is especially important to sort early as you may need to contact the management company for the paperwork required for selling.

On one flat I sold it took three weeks to get the information we needed and as the freeholder was just an individual, she actually didn’t know what paperwork we were asking for, so we had to go around and see her to find it!

All legal companies, lenders and agents will need proof of your identity such as passport, driving licence.

Research the market
It’s worth checking out what your property is worth and what the property you are likely to be buying is likely to be selling for. You can do this through putting your postcode into ‘sold property price’ portals like or try ‘s sold property price data. It all comes from the same Land Registry source, but some update more quickly than others.

What this will tell you is how much similar properties to yours are selling and ones you would like to buy have sold for – it really is the most essential information you can have when buying and selling.

Budget for the move
Making sure you know how much the legal and agents fees will be and when you have to pay them. Knowing you will need deposit monies available at exchange – in the legal company’s bank account – and that the stamp duty is yours to make sure it is paid. Not forgetting there are new amounts now.

See Kate’s Property Calculation page for more information.

What can you borrow?
Once you have an idea of all of the buying, selling costs and what you need to buy your next property, you can then approach lenders – or better still mortgage brokers, such as Coreco and the Mortgage Advice Bureau, as they can search all of the market, not just offer their own products. Make sure you can always afford the mortgage, whatever happens. For example, what happens when interest rates rise? If you are sick and can’t work? If you are married and sadly get divorced?

Brief the Agents
Finding the right agent to sell your home is a skill – but one you can learn. Good agents will:-

  1. Price your property fairly from the start

  2. Show you examples of other properties, similar to yours that have sold, saying how many viewings it took to secure the sale

  3. Advise on what needs changing to sell the property faster and/or at a better price

  4. Make sure you understand the process of buying and selling

  5. Offer a ‘sales progression’ service which means they do all the chasing of anyone else in the chain

If you are struggling to find the right agent, or want some help, do contact us, we can check the right ones for you and recommend good ones from the start. Contact us via our website here.

For the rest of the steps to trading up so you do things just right, in the right order choosing the very best property companies to work with, read our Trading Up checklist.

We also have other helpful checklists:

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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