Family moving into home

Should you buy before selling?

Denise McKenzie, Head of Sales and Purchases

It’s a catch 22 and a dilemma that many people find themselves in nowadays. You need to sell to buy, but there is a shortage of properties on the market, so, you don’t want to sell first and then find there is nowhere to buy!

The thought of selling, moving into a rental property and having all your stuff in storage isn’t exactly ideal so as a result, many of the offers being made now are subject to sale. But, what does this really mean?

In simple terms, it ensures that you can have a bite of the apple and put an offer in for your new home before you’ve sold, safe in the knowledge that you know what you have to play with as your offer is accepted before you start marketing your own property for sale.

The disadvantage to this approach is that it’s a hot and competitive market so you could end up bidding against buyers who have already sold and have cash in the bank. They could be deemed to be in a more advantageous position to you.

The reason a subject to sale offer tends not be the seller’s first choice is that the buyer can often be reluctant to commit to a legally binding contract until they have sold. There’s no control over the timing of this so there’s a degree of uncertainty for the seller who may be in the same position as you.

If an offer subject to sale is accepted, then it’s the norm for a time limit for the sale to be agreed and this tends to be around four weeks. That’s a month to get everything completed, get your property on the market and an offer on the table, it could be a pretty tall order.

As always, these things can be complicated and the best advice is to always seek professional advice, which is why our expert team is on hand to make the buying process as seamless and stress-free as possible. They’ll guide you every step of the way and ensure you’ve got your best foot forward at all stages.  But don’t just take our word for it, a lot of selling customers have bought from us and vice versa.

“Denise has advised me on residential property negotiations and purchasing (for me personally and for investment property) for the last seven years. During this time she has always acted with professionalism, integrity, and speed when it matters (negotiation). Through her knowledge of the local market over a number of years, Denise always offers me timely advice and sound judgement when considering a property purchase, be it price/valuation, the general area I am proposing to purchase in, or indeed down to the micro level knowing particular recurring issues with properties on certain streets. This knowledge is invaluable and only comes with experience, attention to detail, and a good memory!” – Martin Payne

We’d love to hear from you, get in touch on 0131 603 7333 or email

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