Collaborative post. Owning your own home is a wonderful thing, but the one disadvantage it has over renting is that when you decide to move house, the procedure can be very long and complicated.
Very few of us who own a home would be able to finance the purchase of a new one and move in without selling the other one first. And so you hear the great horror stories of great chains of people simultaneously buying and selling and all that can go wrong when those chains collapse.
If you have bought and are living in your first home, the horror stories might be enough to put you off ever moving again. But maybe the time will come when you have to move, whether it’s for work, the size of your family, to get into a good school area, or maybe to have a separate workspace for your expanding business.
Moving home doesn’t have to be hard – there are a lot of different things that you need to keep track of, but with a little bit of luck it can all run smoothly.
Selling your own property
If you have decided that you want to move home, you will first need to know how much your own property is worth and then put it on the market. It is worth spending time finishing odd jobs, touching up the decorating around the home and decluttering a bit and then you should get a few estate agents over to value it for you.
Take their lead on how best to price your home and choose an agent that you feel most comfortable with. Take a good look at their fees – there are online-based estate agencies that charge substantially less than those who pay to maintain high street offices. It is definitely worthwhile including one of those in your first batch of estate agents, but at the end of the day definitely go with the one that you feel happiest with
Be aware that the price your property is marketed at is possibly not the price you will receive. There is a long tradition in the UK of haggling over property, and many houses are valued with room for the buyer to make a lower counteroffer.
Unless your house is in a very desirable area, you may not make the asking price. Discuss this with your selling agent before you continue as it will be very important when you look at what you can realistically afford.
Sort out your finances
Once you know how much your current home is worth and what you can realistically expect to get from it, then the next step is to figure out what you can afford to spend on your new property.
This is the time to speak to your current mortgage lender, and maybe also contact a couple of other competitive companies and see how much realistically you can afford to borrow and how much it will cost you. Don’t forget to factor in costs for paying your various professional fees, moving costs and also the costs for any alterations you might want to make to yur new house as soon as you move in.
Once you know what budget you are working with then the fun can begin.
Your new property search
Before you begin your search, you will need to decide on the essentials that you require from your new home and potential locations. This will help you to narrow your search and it is then time to search out some potential properties on Zoopla or RightMove and then get out and about viewing them.
Making an offer
Once you have decided on the home for you, you need to think about how much you are willing to pay for it. Where possible, take some guidance from the agents as they will be able to tell you more about the seller’s position though remember that they will, of course, be looking to get the best price possible.
Pay attention to the budget you have set for yourselves too – once you have made an offer and it is accepted then you are committed (subject to the survey). Make sure that you are able to afford what you are committing to.
You will probably want to get a homebuyers survey, or a full structural report from chartered surveyors such as Allcott Associates and this will outline any potential issues and might give you room to renegotiate on price if they find anything.
Be aware that they people buying your home will be doing the same, and so if you become aware of any defects in your home, you may need to negotiate the price there too.
Arranging the admin and legals
Once your offer has been accepted then it is time to make contact with your chosen mortgage lender, and also to instruct conveyancers for both the sale and the purchase.
It is perfectly possible to do the conveyancing yourself if you have the necessary experience, and there are many people who specialise in conveyancing who are not solicitors. So again, when you are choosing your conveyancer, take a look at what they are offering and the fees they will charge, then choose the package that is right for you.
Planning the move
Once the ball is rolling, you can look to arrange a removals company and nearer to the date you can start to pack up your home. This is a good time to declutter and clear things out, rather than make the effort to move things that you no longer need.
When your conveyancer informs you that contracts have been exchanged you can be confident that the move will definitely be going ahead and push on to get those final items packed away.
At last, the big day has arrived. You will want to be up bright and early for this and if you have young children or pets it might be worth dropping them at a relative’s house if possible.
Supervise your removal team and then once you are all loaded up and you have your new keys from the estate agent, you can head to your new abode.
If you have a home business, you may want to ‘close down’ for a few days while you pack up your office and unpack it again at the other end. Allow a day or two for the essentials such as reconnecting telecommunications, internet etc. keep your customers informed of your close down and restart dates, and they will probably be sympathetic.
Allow time for your children and pets to settle in too. Make sure you have familiar things handy that can be unpacked quickly at the new place, and don’t forget to pack the kettle at the top of the kitchen box for that all-important first cup of tea.
Moving home can be a bit of a chore and a long process, but once you are in and unpacked, it will all be worth it.