Devon: To rent or not to rent? That is the question!

Buying and selling a property can be a daunting process even to the most experienced home owner. One of the most difficult decisions vendors need to think about when selling is whether to wait until they find a suitable property before they sell or sell first and move into rented accommodation until they find something they wish to buy. Richard Addington, director at Exeter, offers his advice...

Of course, both scenarios have their advantages and disadvantages. Ideally it would seem easiest to wait until you find something you wish to buy, accept an offer on your own house, agree on a completion date and move into your new home with no fuss. Although a transaction like this is not an impossibility it is unusual and this is because of what agents refer to as 'the chain'.

The chain
The house selling process can to be a lengthy one, especially if you are part of a complicated chain. Buying or selling a house depends on the purchases either side of your property and the chain is what links each purchase. Although if you are a first time buyer your chain only moves in one direction as you have nothing to sell. The difficulty arises when a chain collapses and the sale of the properties involved can no longer proceed. This can happen anywhere within a chain and can be any of the buyers or sellers responsibility. When you think of the number of processes involved in buying a property, it is not surprising when things go wrong or delays occur.

There are many reasons why a chain can collapse, which can be both frustrating and expensive. Sometimes it is simply that a buyer has changed their minds and no longer wishes to proceed or alternatively a survey highlights a structural problem and leads to a buyer pulling out of the sale. Whatever the reason for both buyer and seller, this is a time of considerable tension.

A stronger negotiating position
Going into rented accommodation is a much less stressful way to get through the buying and selling process as you only have to deal with your sale. It not only puts you in a much stronger negotiating position when putting in an offer but also sellers are more likely to consider an offer from a buyer who has either cash in the bank and/or a pre-approved mortgage and has no chain. Of course it is not impossible to buy before you have sold. There is always the option of taking out a bridging loan, which is designed to help bridge the gap between when you sell your house and when you buy a new property. However, there is a risk here of not being able to cover the full cost after you have sold your home as until then there is no guarantee of what it will sell for.

Get to know an area
Not having a property to sell and moving into rented accommodation gives you time to be sure of where you want to live and, if not sure, time to become familiar with any area unknown to you. For example, if you are relocating due to work reasons or moving from the town to the country there are a number of things you only really find out when you live in an area.

Here's an example
Earlier this year we witnessed one of our clients receive a very good offer on their property from buyers who were about to complete on their own sale. Our clients had always stated that they did not wish to move into a rented property and wished to find something to buy before they accepted any offers. The problem was they did not have a clear idea of what type of house they wanted and in which area it should be. Nevertheless, they accepted the offer and then began a frantic search for their ideal home.

As the deadline for exchange of contracts became closer, our clients decided they were no longer able to cope with the stress of selling and buying together and decided to stay put. We advised them that by carrying on with the sale of their house, and moving into rented accommodation, they not only allowed themselves time to be sure of the next step in terms of where they wished to be but also they had achieved an excellent offer which they may not receive again. They proceeded with the sale, moved into rented accommodation and have decided they are so happy with renting they may not buy again!

Our advice
In our opinion there is no doubt in this price static market that selling first and moving into rented accommodation enables a smoother and less troublesome transaction. Having sold your property you are able to look for your next home with time on your side as well as knowing how much capital you have in the bank to spend on it. Time and again as agents we see the stresses and frustrations of trying to sell and buy at the same time and matching the two up to suit timescales can be very complicated and at times impossible.

If you are looking for professional advice on the best course of action to fit your requirements when buying or selling a home, contact our team in Exeter: call us on 01392 214222 or email