Whether you’re a list person, a spreadsheet fanatic, or someone who just goes with the flow, when it comes to moving to a new house having a clear list of jobs is an absolute must. Buying a home can be one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do – from finding that forever home, to working out the tax and legal implications, trying to squeeze all your worldly goods into a removal van, or the dreaded task of unpacking. Anyone who’s ever gone through the process will agree that it’s one of life’s most challenging events!
But fear not, we’re hear to help with a clear and simple checklist of everything you need to do and remember – right from the moment you spy that dream home in the estate agent’s window, to the precious moment when you step over the threshold for the first time.
So, where do we start?
- Viewings – once you’ve set your heart on the location, and agreed on a budget, get those viewings booked in to see the properties in person. Make sure you ask the agent a whole host of questions, including: why is the seller moving? Is the building sound? What’s the area like? What are the neighbours like? Is there plenty of parking? Don’t be worried about second, or even third viewings, and if you’re buying a property on your own, take someone along with you to get a second opinion.
- Local research – Remember: location, location, location. Do your research and find out what the local area has to offer. What are the transport links like? Are the amenities what you’re looking for? Or are you looking for rural and remote?
- Offer – properties don’t hang around on the market forever, so once you’ve set your heart on one, make an offer that fits in with your budget. The estate agent should be able to guide you on what price the seller is willing to accept, so don’t always just jump in at the asking price.
- Acceptance – once your offer has been accepted, it’s time to get the wheels in motion on preparing to exchange contracts and get ready for the move.
- Conveyancing – it’s important that you appoint a specialist conveyancing solicitor to handle all the legal aspects of the sale, to ensure the transfer of ownership from the seller to you. They will advise on contracts, other documents like property title deeds, timescales and any checks that need to be carried out before exchanging and completion, such as leasehold arrangements and property searches.
- Mortgage application – the next step is applying for a mortgage. Don’t go it alone; seek advice from a professional mortgage adviser on the best rates that meet your needs and budget, identifying the best lenders and mortgage deals available.
- Check insurance policies – it’s time to review all your insurance documentation, not only to see what you’ll need at your new property, but what existing policies need amending due to your change in address.
- Confirm departure – start to get a rough idea on moving dates and timings. This is particularly important if you’re renting, as you’ll obviously need to give the landlord the required notice.
- Removal costs – now’s the time to get costs together from various removal companies, so you can plan for the big move. Consider whether you need a man with a van, a larger removal lorry, or a company that does it all for you – packing, loading and unloading. Unfortunately, the unpacking is one of the joys of a being a new homeowner!
- Survey – the building survey is an important part of the buying process. This will flag up any structural issues that need to be addressed and any renegotiations that may need to happen with the seller on price.
- Inventory of possessions – start to make a list of everything you own, what you need to take with you and what you can get rid of. There may be quite a few trips to either the charity shop or tip once this list is complete. It also helps when renewing your contents insurance.
- Exchange – if everything goes to plan, you should be able to exchange, where you and the seller sign identical contracts. These only become legally binding once the contracts are formally exchanged by the solicitors. It’s after this point, and before completion, that any potential penalties could be paid for pulling out of the deal.
- Clear-out and packing – with the legal bit done and dusted, it’s time for a big clear-out and to start the arduous task of packing. It’s at this point that you may change your mind on hiring a van and doing it alone and decide to get removal experts in to do it for you!
- Storage – depending on timings, the size of properties you’re moving from and to, and whether you need things immediately in your new home, you may opt to put certain items in storage.
- Redirect your post – contact the Post Office to ensure all your post is redirected for several months once you’re in your new home. It can cost as little as £5.60 a month and can be done for three, six and 12 months.
- Notify people of your move – make sure you start to notify people (not just friends and family) that you’re moving house. This could include your work, bank, insurance provider, pension company, credit card companies, the Council, utility providers, TV licensing, doctor and dentist, DVLA, National Insurance / DSS offices.
- Cancel milk, newspapers, window cleaner, gardener
- Ask the seller – while you have the opportunity, make sure you quiz the seller on anything you think you might need to know. For example, where’s the stopcock, instructions for appliances, gas and electricity meters, thermostat and fuse box. Make sure you leave a similar list for your buyers!
- Register to pay Council Tax – contact your local authority if you’re not sure what the new Council Tax band is, or visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/start-paying-council-tax for more information.
- Moving day – the big day! Make sure you take meter readings, all supplies are switched off, windows are locked, and you pack some essentials. We’d advise packing a kettle, mugs, tea, milk, coffee, sugar, cleaning products, plus a vacuum cleaner and bin bags, phone and laptop chargers, loo roll, kitchen roll, duvet and bedding for the first night, temporary furniture (i.e. deck chairs), a portable television or radio.
- Use boiler and heating – the house you move into could have sat empty for weeks, or months, so it’s a good idea to get the boiler moving and the heating on – regardless of the weather. Don’t wait until you need heat or hot water to find out the boiler’s broken and you need to call an engineer out!
- Decorating – once you’re settled in, it’s time to think about the fun bit of moving to a new house: decorating and furnishing!
- Arrange utilities – as soon as possible, start to arrange new deals for broadband, phone and TV, as well as all your utilities (i.e. gas and electricity).
- Update electoral roll – to ensure you don’t miss out when it comes around to voting, make sure that you register your new address, and this will automatically remove your old address from the electoral roll.
- Old post – you may have redirected your post, but that doesn’t mean that the seller has. Make sure you deal with old post as soon as you can, or you could end up forwarding it on for months!
There’s obviously a lot to think about when it comes to moving, but with a plan in place and the right support on hand to help handle the more complex issues like contracts and mortgage applications, then hopefully the stress should be taken out of the big move!
For more information on how we can help guide you down the right mortgage path, contact us.