You might still have the summer sand between your toes and have only just waved the children off to a another year at school, but if you want to ring in 2024 in a new home you need to jump to it!
Unbelievably, getting in by the end of December might already be quite an ambitious target. Moving house can be a long-drawn-out process and timescales vary wildly depending on a number of factors – from how long your house takes to sell to how quickly the other party responds to their solicitor. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure your move stays on track and proceeds as quickly as possible.
Getting organised and keeping things moving is key. Here are some ideas about how to avoid hold ups and keep things, well, moving!
Finance Get your finance in order early and decide how much you can afford. Speak to a mortgage adviser, find all the information needed and get the process underway so that you can get a mortgage offer in principle. Providing all the information required for a mortgage isn’t a five minute job so make sure you set aside some proper time for it.
When assessing affordability remember to factor in the following:
- Legal fees
- Valuation & mortgage arrangement costs
- Survey cost
- Estate agent fees (if you have a house to sell)
- Stamp duty (if applicable)
- Removal costs (including interim storage if needed)
- Cleaning costs
- Mail redirection
- Settling in/carpets/curtains/furniture
House-hunting Once you have a budget you can start house-hunting. Looking online is a great way to get an idea of what is on the market, however, personal contact with all the estate agents can really help as you can often view properties before they even hit the online platforms. Tell the agents what you are looking for and let them know that you are a serious buyer with all you ducks in order!
Prep your property If you have a house to sell, there are a few things that you can do to make sure it sells as quickly as possible. Declutter and make your home look as spacious as possible. If you have a lot of ‘stuff’ you might want to consider temporary storage, such as self storage or containerised storage for large items of furniture. This will enable potential buyers to easily see the space on offer and not get too distracted by too many possessions. They need to be able to envisage their life in the property. Invest in minor repairs and make sure everywhere is spotlessly clean.
Choose an estate agent Personal recommendations are great if you have them. Look online or just walk along the high street and visit a few. It is important to find an agent who is enthusiastic about your property and honest about what price you can expect to achieve. Talk to several agents and make sure you are confident about the asking price.
EPC If you haven’t got a valid EPC, get one! You need to have this before you can start marketing your property so get it done early. Look online to find out more about EPC’s here or talk to your estate agent as they can help with this.
It’s all in the detail Check the details your estate agent produces. Make sure your house is shown in its best light and that all information is correct. You need lots of high-quality photos as well as a description that outlines any unique or particularly attractive features – maybe you are the only house in the road with a loft conversion or larger than average garden? Make sure the good points are obvious and stand out.
Admin, admin, admin Once offers have been accepted (either on your sale or purchase) don’t sit on your laurels. Now is time to keep on top of paperwork and respond quickly to all enquiries from your solicitor or estate agent. If you are always prompt with your replies, it gives you leverage when you are chasing them if things start to slow down. Don’t be reluctant to keep in constant contact with everyone involved. Also remember to contact your removal firm as soon as you have an exchange and completion date – this will help make sure you secure your slot. Removal firms can get very busy at certain times of the year and the run-up to Christmas and new year is one of them – a lot of people want to enjoy the festivities in their new home!
The length of time it takes to move house is really like asking how long a piece of string is – because there are just so many variables. However, if you are organised, clear about what needs to be done and commit to being on top of the process you will be in the best position to do it as quickly as possible. So, there is no time to lose – get going and soon enough you should be on the move. Good luck!